Head, Heart and Hand: Chickasaws and Boarding Schools

Holisso: The Center for Study of Chickasaw History and Culture is a research center focusing on the study of the Chickasaw Nation and other tribes in the Southeastern United States.

Using advanced technology, the Research Center preserves archives, tales, culture, Native American language and historical accounts passed from generation to generation.

The climate and light-controlled artifact storage room protects genealogy records, photo archives and historic documents. Inside the Research Center, visitors have the opportunity to view different artifacts on display in the special collections room.

Currently, the special collections room is housing several artifacts from Chickasaw and Indian educational institutes in an exhibit called “Head, Heart and Hand:  Chickasaws and Boarding Schools.”

img-3756.jpgThis jacket, worn by a student at Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, dates back to 1942.

Another item on display from Chilocco is a penmanship book from the 1930s. This book belonged to Sophia Reeder, a student at Chilocco.

img-3766.jpgI love viewing old documents; the documents on display in the special collections room are in such wonderful condition.

A 1939 record book, also belonging to Sophia Reeder, shows grades and attendance records.
I love viewing old documents; the documents on display in the special collections room are in such wonderful condition.

A 1939 record book, also belonging to Sophia Reeder, shows grades and attendance records.

img-3770.jpgAnother item from Chilocco is this Oklahoma History book from 1936. Look at the colorful map of Indian Territory! How cool!

img-3762.jpgA Chilocco diploma from 1937. I love the beautiful handwriting.

img-3781.jpgThe Chilocco Indian Agricultural School was a federal boarding school, still operational until the 1980s. Several Chickasaws attended this school and received a rigorous curriculum designed to “train the head, heart and hand” by offering traditional academic coursework, religious instruction and preparation for manual or domestic labor.

I hope you get a chance to visit the special collections room and gain an inside look into the treasured institutions that were at the heart of the greatest changes to the Chickasaw way of life.

For more information about the Holisso: Study of Chickasaw History & Culture click here. 

-Brittney