June, 2010
Chickasaw Cultural Center Grand Opening is July 24!
After countless hours of work by many passionate people, the Chickasaw Cultural Center will open its doors to the public on July 24, 2010!
June, 2008
Holisso Center to be research storehouse
Located within the new Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center complex in Sulphur, is the planned Center for the Study of Chickasaw History and Culture, which will be known as the "Holisso Center."
May, 2008
Cultural Center plans propelled by citizens
The Chickasaw Cultural Center will provide a place for Chickasaw citizens to learn more about themselves, and the public to learn more about the Chickasaw Nation.
October, 2005
Chickasaw Nation Breaks Ground for Cultural Center
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby was joined by tribal legislators and representatives of the city of Sulphur and National Park Service in groundbreaking ceremonies for the Chickasaw Cultural Center 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 30 west of Sulphur, Oklahoma.

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Chickasaw Nation Breaks Ground for Cultural Center
Chickasaw Times - October, 2005
by Tony Choate

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby was joined by tribal legislators and representatives of the city of Sulphur and National Park Service in groundbreaking ceremonies for the Chickasaw Cultural Center 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 30 west of Sulphur, Oklahoma.

Located on 110 acres of rolling hills, woodlands and streams adjacent to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur, the center is designed to utilize the latest technology, ancient artifacts and natural outdoor spaces to tell the Chickasaw story.

"For Chickasaws, this will be a place that reminds us of who we are - of the culture and heritage that binds us together as a people," said Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. "This world-class center will not only help preserve Chickasaw culture and heritage for future generations, but will also serve as an educational facility where we can share with others the true and complete story of the unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw Nation."

Once complete, the center will feature more than 96,000 square feet of indoor space and outdoor venues including an earthen terrace amphitheater. The concept also includes utilizing outdoor spaces featuring rich native vegetation, indigenous stone and trails which heighten attention to a spring-fed pond and Rock Creek.

Outdoor areas will include demonstration gardens and a demonstration village featuring traditional Chickasaw houses similar to those at Kullihoma. Areas will also be set aside for stomp dance and other traditional ceremonies. Indoors, an interconnected series of theatres, exhibits and galleries are designed to immerse visitors in tribal history and culture.

Also planned are a resource center with archives and library as well as a multifunctional gathering space and retail area. Overton James, appointed by John F. Kennedy as governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1963 and elected governor in the first federally recognized tribal election since 1904, was more than pleased with plans for the center.

"(This center) is something that is far beyond what I ever thought we could have," said Gov. James. "But it is something that will perpetuate the history, the culture, the life of the Chickasaw people for years to come. Its a great thing."

Groundbreaking ceremonies come just two days after the U.S. House passed legislation authorizing a land exchange between the tribe, the city of Sulphur and the National Park Service enabling the tribe to construct the center adjacent to the Chickasaw National recreation Area.

Tom Cole, R-Moore, drafted the legislation.

"I am very pleased that we have completed the process, on the House side, to get this bill to the President this year. I will be working with my colleagues in the Senate to make sure this bill passes before the end of this session," said Congressman Cole. "The City of Sulphur and the Chickasaws are ready to move forward and I hope we will be able to give them that opportunity." During a previous visit to the site, Rep. Cole said the center will have a positive impact on the state economy.

"It's clearly a tremendous economic boon for the local community and for the Chickasaw Nation," said Rep. Cole. "It's an excellent example of the partnerships that can develop between tribal governments and their neighbors and it works to the advantage of all concerned."

"I think it will enhance the quality of life locally and be a good stimulus to the local economy and attract a lot of folks to the area. So it will build on what is already a great recreational and tourist facility for the state of Oklahoma." Chickasaw National Recreation Area Superintendent Connie Rudd said she "couldnt be more happy with the location of the center on the park boundary."

"The fact that weve been able to finally donate our 29 acres to that village is really wonderful," said Ms. Rudd. "The Chickasaw people need to tell their story. And well be partners, but secondary partners in the process. I really do see this as a cutting-edge cultural center and I think tribes across this country are going to come here to find out how to do it right."

The tribe has already invested more than five years of active planning and preparation in the center.

Chickasaw citizens, responding to requests for input from the tribal administration, expressed a desire to restore and preserve Chickasaw culture and heritage for future generations.

More than 1,200 tribal citizens responded to a survey distributed in October 2000 asking for comments and suggestions on a Chickasaw Culture Center. Language, beliefs, ceremonies and customs were at the top of the list on those surveys, with tribal history following closely.

Art and music, food and medicine, prominent Chickasaw men and women and a living village with traditional dwellings were also mentioned by survey respondents. Chickasaw citizens participating in subsequent planning meetings arranged to receive more ideas on what aspects of Chickasaw culture to include at the center. All the ideas Chickasaw elders, citizens and employees discussed at those meetings were taken into consideration when developing the design.

A team of experts, led by Overland Partners and including EDAW, Batwin + Robin and Hilferty & Associates and Ramona Sakiestewa, Ltd. worked with Chickasaw citizens to design the center.

Credits of team members include work on more than 100 projects, including the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. and the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Norman, Okla.

In 2003 when legislation authorizing the center was passed, tribal legislator Linda Briggs expressed concern for the loss of Chickasaw culture and heritage.

"Pretty soon our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren are not going to know their heritage," said Ms. Briggs. "I believe so strongly in passing on who our ancestors were, where they came from, what they went through. I think we need to know about it. I think our children need to know about it."

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