News & Media
Stay up-to-date with Chickasaw news and media from the Chickasaw Cultural Center.
Alaska Native Tourism Association Visits the Chickasaw Cultural Center
A leader for the nation’s top organization dedicated to advancing tourism in Indian Country says the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur, serves as a great example of a tribe sharing its own story.
Emerson Vallo, president of the Southwest Region for the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), visited the Chickasaw Cultural Center for the first time with two dozen AIANTA members. The group’s tour occurred as a part of the AIANTA Tourism Conference, conducted in Tulsa last fall.
Mr. Vallo, Acoma Pueblo, said he was fascinated by not only the design, but the story of the vision and decades of planning by Chickasaw people to build the cultural center. The Chickasaw Cultural Center opened in 2010 after more than 20 years planning. It serves as a cultural home and an embodiment of the Chickasaw legacy.
“I had never seen a center like that. It is very well designed. The setting was great. The whole structure was impressive, and the story behind the facility was very interesting.”
He particularly enjoyed the Stomp Dance demonstration, including the explanation of traditional regalia and the significance of Stomp Dance to Chickasaw people, as well as the Spirit Forest in the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center.
Taking in the sites of the Chikasha Inchokka Traditional Village and near-by Chickasaw National Recreation Area from atop the 40-foot Aba’ Aanowa’ Sky Pavilion was also among Mr. Vallo’s favorite features at the cultural center.
He stressed the importance of all tribes establishing facilities such as the cultural center, so tribes can be the first voice to share their story.
“Instead of someone telling their story – they themselves can tell their own story, and tribal members working in these facilities adds to the authenticity and experience. It’s a good way to promote one’s own tribe, to enlighten visitors and to share who we are as native people by telling our own story,” he said.
The board president has noticed an uptick in tribes establishing cultural centers or museums across the country. “More tribes are now seeing the advantages of having a cultural center or museum, so that they do their own interpretation of their own people and impart that on the tourist. They also see the benefits – tourism dollars – coming into the tribes. And it also provides opportunities for tribal members to work for their own tribe,” he said.
Mr. Vallo said tribal facilities like the Chickasaw Cultural Center and his own tribe’s Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum, near Albuquerque, New Mexico, have opportunities to serve as examples for other tribes.
“We have a pretty good story on how the design of the facility was created, and it may produce a case study for other tribes interested in establishing those types of facilities. They can do the research and get an idea of how to develop such a facility.”
Mr. Vallo has served on the AIANTA board of directors for six years. He was elected board president in 2019. He was appointed to the New Mexico Tourism Department as a Commissioner by former Governor Susana Martinez and is the Native American representative for tourism in the state of New Mexico. He has served as Chairman of the board of directors for Acoma Business Enterprises, Chairman of the board of trustees, Haak’u Museum and Director for Sky City Cultural Center and Museum.
About the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association
The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) is a national nonprofit association of tribes, tribal businesses and entrepreneurs who promote leadership in education, training and technical assistance for Indian Country tourism. AIANTA’s mission is to define, introduce, grow and sustain American Indian and Alaska Native tourism that honors and sustains tribal traditions and values.
Chickasaw Nation hosts Day of Prayer Aug. 20Aug
The sixth annual Chickasaw Nation Day of Prayer will be 9:30 a.m., Monday, Aug. 20, at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, 867 Cooper Memorial Road.
Local writers conference opportunity to grow and develop craftAug
Whether a writer has been pursuing the passion of crafting stories for a year or for 30 years, there is always room to grow.
Cultural center invites homeschool groups to an educational, fun-filled dayAug
Homeschool educators and students are invited to the Homeschool Day 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 23, at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, 867 Cooper Memorial Road.
Chickasaw Nation announces “Call for Presenters”Aug
The Chickasaw Nation is accepting presentation proposals for the 2019 Dynamic Women of the Chickasaw Nation Conference, May 2-3, 2019.
Composer Jerod Tate scores CMA commissionAug
The nation’s top national network for commissioned musical compositions has tapped Emmy-winning Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate to compose a clarinet and piano piece.
Chickasaw Hall of Famer gives rare items to tribeAug
At 74, one of Oklahoma’s most famed historians, archeologists and museum curators is ensuring historic items he has collected for more than 60 years will be preserved for future generations.
Vocalists from Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas to compete in McSwain’s Grand Awards ShowAug
Preliminaries for the Grand Awards Show continue 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 18, at the historic McSwain Theatre on the corner of Main and Townsend.
Chickasaw Nation and local family to host memorial walk and outdoor movieAug
The Yochum family and the Chickasaw Nation are helping raise funds to comfort families who have lost loved ones.
Talented sculptor Patsy Lane tells stories through her bronze workAug
Spend a few minutes talking to award-winning artist Patsy Lane and all recollection of time will disappear.
IHS awards cite Chickasaw artist’s abstractionismAug
Larry Carter’s niche in the Native American art scene is expanding and he hopes to influence contemporary art shows in the future.