Vis­i­tors in­vited to im­mer­sive ac­tiv­i­ties year-round at Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS - BY THE CHICK­A­SAW NA­TION

Op­por­tu­ni­ties to be im­mersed in the vi­brant and dy­namic cul­ture of the Chick­a­saw peo­ple await on the 184-acre cam­pus of the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter. The cul­tural cen­ter is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon­day through Sat­ur­day, and noon to 5 p.m. Sun­day. The cen­ter is closed on all na­tional hol­i­days.

Opened in July 2010, Chick­a­saw Na­tion Gov­er­nor Bill Anoatubby said the cul­tural cen­ter was built by Chick­a­saws to be a “home” for all Chick­a­saws.

“This is truly a unique and ex­tra­or­di­nary venue be­cause it re­flects the vi­sion, cre­ativ­ity and per­se­ver­ance of the Chick­a­saw peo­ple,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “For gen­er­a­tions, in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies have worked to re­vi­tal­ize and pre­serve our cul­ture to en­sure Chick­a­saws re­main a united and un­con­quer­able peo­ple. This cen­ter serves as a unique place to honor those ef­forts as we cel­e­brate and share the his­tory and cul­tural legacy of the Chick­a­saw peo­ple.”

Vis­i­tors to the cen­ter will ex­pe­ri­ence many as­pects of Chick­a­saw cul­ture in­clud­ing art, food, dance, mu­sic, lan­guage and his­tory. Each is demon­strated by Chick­a­saws whose spirit and pride are un­mis­tak­able. The Chick­a­saw peo­ple are ea­ger to share their cul­ture and tra­di­tions with all vis­i­tors.

Tra­di­tional as­pects of Chick­a­saw cul­ture on dis­play in­clude bead­ing, bas­ketry, stomp dance, stick­ball and other cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant ac­tiv­i­ties. Some of the fea­tures of the tran­quil cam­pus in­clude an in­ter­ac­tive ex­hibit hall, large-for­mat theater, café, honor gar­den, wa­ter fea­tures, art gal­leries, out­door sculp­tures and a ge­neal­ogy and re­search li­brary, Holisso: The Cen­ter for Study of Chick­a­saw His­tory and Cul­ture.

An out­door am­phithe­ater, with seat­ing for hun­dreds of au­di­ence mem­bers, of­fers a unique venue for cul­tural demon­stra­tions, dance groups, sto­ry­telling, bands, choirs and other per­for­mances.

The four-story Sky Bridge over­looks the Chikasha In­chokka Tra­di­tional Vil­lage. The vil­lage is a replica of houses, struc­tures and grounds from the Chick­a­saw Home­land dur­ing the years 1700 to 1750.

The vil­lage in­cludes tra­di­tional Chick­a­saw homes, a stomp dance area for demon­stra­tions, a stick­ball field and a Three Sis­ters gar­den. When the weather is nice, the vil­lage hosts cul­tural in­struc­tors demon­strat­ing tra­di­tional crafts such as bead­work, bas­ketry and pot­tery, tan­ning hides, bow mak­ing and flute mak­ing. Each de­tail of the cen­ter’s ar­chi­tec­ture, in­clud­ing cop­per, wa­ter, stone and wood, is in­cor­po­rated through­out the cam­pus due to its sig­nif­i­cance to Chick­a­saw cul­ture.

The Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter is a won­der­ful place to visit year-round as daily cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties take place. As the cal­en­dar changes, so do many of the ac­tiv­i­ties at the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter. A va­ri­ety of unique ex­pe­ri­ences tai­lored for each sea­son can be dis­cov­ered at the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter. These fun and ed­u­ca­tional events in­ter­min­gle Chick­a­saw tra­di­tions into the daily fes­tiv­i­ties.

Dur­ing the crisp au­tumn days and ex­tend­ing into the hol­i­day sea­son, sev­eral week­end events de­signed to ed­u­cate and en­ter­tain are sched­uled.

Fall Fes­ti­val, Oct. 20

Usher in the new sea­son dur­ing the Fall Fes­ti­val, Sat­ur­day, Oct. 20. Fes­tiv­i­ties in the Tra­di­tional Vil­lage in­clude cul­tural demon­stra­tions, tra­di­tional games, a pump­kin patch where kids can pick out and dec­o­rate their own pump­kin, and food ar­bors fea­tur­ing roasted corn, pashofa and grape dumplings. “Spooky Tales” will be shared by tra­di­tional Chick­a­saw sto­ry­tellers who will spin haunted tales and ghostly sto­ries dur­ing the event.

Multi-Tribal Day, Nov. 3

Di­verse Na­tive Amer­i­can cul­tures from across the coun­try will con­gre­gate at the cul­tural cen­ter from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat­ur­day, Nov. 3, to cel­e­brate Mul­tiTribal Day. A va­ri­ety of na­tive na­tions will share their dances, pro­vide food and craft demon­stra­tions, dis­play their elab­o­rate tribal re­galia and crafts­man­ship, play an­cient games and share other tra­di­tional ac­tiv­i­ties. Tra­di­tional games will in­clude stick­ball, archery, mar­bles and squir­rel stick throw­ing. Food sam­ples will in­clude pashofa, fry bread, three sis­ters stew, ba­naha and more.

Vet­er­ans Cel­e­bra­tion, Nov. 10-11

Vet­er­ans will be hon­ored Sat­ur­day, Nov. 10, and Sun­day, Nov. 11, dur­ing the an­nual Vet­er­ans Cel­e­bra­tion. Ac­tiv­i­ties will in­clude spe­cial stomp dance demon­stra­tions to honor mil­i­tary per­son­nel, cul­tural demon­stra­tions and in­ter­ac­tive at­trac­tions in the liv­ing vil­lage (weather per­mit­ting.) Ac­tive mil­i­tary and vet­er­ans re­ceive free ad­mis­sion into the Chikasha Poya Ex­hibit Cen­ter and a spe­cial dis­count in the Aaimpa Café.

Thanks­giv­ing Cel­e­bra­tion, Nov. 24-25

Join us for the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter’s Thanks­giv­ing Cel­e­bra­tion Sat­ur­day, Nov. 24, and Sun­day, Nov. 25. Spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties will in­clude a Na­tive Amer­i­can minia­ture or­na­ment class and a chil­dren’s Christ­mas or­na­ment work­shop. Ac­tiv­i­ties in the Tra­di­tional Vil­lage will in­clude stomp dance demon­stra­tions and other cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties. Spe­cial sales will be avail­able in the gift shop. Tra­di­tional cui­sine and Amer­i­can fa­vorites can be en­joyed at the Aaimpa Café.

Cel­e­bra­tion of Lights be­gins Nov. 24

Cruise through the cul­tural cen­ter cam­pus for the daz­zling drive-thru light dis­play ev­ery evening from 6 to 9 p.m. Sat­ur­day, Nov. 24, through Mon­day, Dec.

31. Dozens of dis­plays fea­tur­ing tra­di­tional Christ­mas themes and Chick­a­saw greet­ings are in­cluded in the col­or­ful light dis­play.

While at the cul­tural cen­ter, visit the Aapisa Art Gallery for the hol­i­day-themed Fes­ti­val of Trees from Sat­ur­day, Nov. 24, to Mon­day, Dec.

31. Christ­mas trees will be dec­o­rated by Chick­a­saw Na­tion em­ploy­ees to re­flect the ser­vices they pro­vide in their re­spec­tive de­part­ments. Vis­i­tors are en­cour­aged to cast their vote for the best tree.

Christ­mas Cel­e­bra­tion & Hol­i­day Arts Mar­ket, Dec. 8

En­joy a va­ri­ety of hol­i­day ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing pic­tures with Santa, a Christ­mas con­cert per­formed by the Chick­a­saw Lan­guage Com­mit­tee, or­na­ment work­shops, make­and-take crafts, stomp dance demon­stra­tions and more. A spe­cial Hol­i­day Arts Mar­ket will fea­ture an ar­ray of art by Chick­a­saw artists. All events are open to the pub­lic at no charge.

Shar­ing the story

The Chikasha Poya ex­hibit cen­ter show­cases a time­line of Chick­a­saw his­tory, from the mound build­ing so­ci­ety of the South­east­ern United States to the cur­rent-day Chick­a­saw Na­tion. Tra­di­tional oral sto­ries be­gin in the mo­saic room and con­tinue into a replica eigh­teenth-cen­tury coun­cil house theater. Fol­low­ing a short film, “Chick­a­saw Re­nais­sance,” the screen rises, and the au­di­ence is beck­oned into a Spirit For­est that rep­re­sents the most an­cient sense of Chick­a­saw cul­ture.

The ex­hibit hall tells the story of the Chick­a­saws’ first con­tact with Euro­peans, in­clud­ing Her­nando de Soto. From there, guests head to the Re­moval Cor­ri­dor, where sounds and sto­ries tell of the dif­fi­cult jour­ney from the tra­di­tional Home­land to In­dian Ter­ri­tory. Af­ter In­dian Ter­ri­tory, the Civil War and the war­rior ex­hibit, to name a few, the tour con­cludes at the Stomp Dance Gallery, which fea­tures a larger-than-life holo­gram sim­u­la­tion of mod­ern-day Chick­a­saws as they con­tinue the cen­turies-old tra­di­tion of stomp dance around a camp­fire.

The Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter pro­vides ac­ces­si­bil­ity to ex­hibits through a hand­held video mag­ni­fier that pro­vides the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion to read or see de­tails. Tran­scripts are also avail­able to any­one who is hear­ing-im­paired. In ad­di­tion, guests with mo­bil­ity is­sues may use one of our wheel­chairs free of charge or ride in a golf cart to any spot on the cam­pus.

World class ex­hibits in Chick­a­saw Coun­try

In the past nine years, the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter has part­nered with or­ga­ni­za­tions across the globe to present world-class ex­hibits in Chick­a­saw Coun­try, in­clud­ing the “1700s Bead­work of South­east­ern Tribes” col­lec­tion, which was on loan from the Univer­sity of Aberdeen in Scot­land, and “Sculpt­ing Cul­tures: South­east and South­west Na­tive Pot­tery” with the In­dian Arts Re­search Cen­ter at the School for Ad­vanced Re­search and the Mu­seum of the Red River.

The “Te Ata” ex­hibit is open un­til Nov. 11 in the Aapisa’ Art Gallery. Ex­plore the life of Mary “Te Ata” Thomp­son Fisher and her jour­ney to be­come one of the great­est Na­tive Amer­i­can per­form­ers of all time. View items owned and worn by Te Ata, as well as mem­o­ra­bilia and props from the re­cently re­leased, award-win­ning film of the same name.

Mas­sive out­door sculp­tures, such as “The Ar­rival” by Chick­a­saw artist Mike Larsen and Joanna Un­der­wood’s south­east­ern pot­tery sculp­tures, along with beau­ti­ful wa­ter and rock fea­tures and na­tive land­scap­ing, are fea­tured on the cam­pus.

A con­nec­tion to na­ture can be dis­cov­ered at the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter through hor­ti­cul­ture tours of their gar­dens and cam­pus. But­ter­fly gar­dens are fea­tured at the cul­tural cen­ter as well. Monarch but­ter­flies are wel­comed and pro­tected at the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter, and a Monarch but­ter­fly day is con­ducted each spring and fall, fea­tur­ing hand­son ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties teach­ing monarch-sav­ing ac­tions, spe­cial guest speak­ers and fun-filled learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. Since its open­ing day July 24, 2010, the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter has hosted more than 725,000 guests from across the globe.

[PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED BY THE CHICK­A­SAW NA­TION]

A stick­ball game at the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter in Sul­phur.

The Spi­ral Gar­den at the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter in Sul­phur.

The Inkana Bridge con­nects the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter to the Chick­a­saw Na­tional Recre­ation Cen­ter in Sul­phur.

A stomp dance at the Chick­a­saw Cul­tural Cen­ter.

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