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.
Ada donors add 35 units to Oklahoma blood reserves during intertribal challengeSep
As part of an intertribal competition, 35 area residents stopped by an Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) bloodmobile parked in front of the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center (CNMC) Aug. 20 to help address blood shortages in Oklahoma with their donations.
Chickasaw Nation-produced film to be shown in Tipp CityAug
The Chickasaw Nation Productions’ movie “Pearl” will be shown in Tipp City, Ohio at 8 p.m., Monday, Aug. 30 on KITTV.org, KIT-TV, Tipp-Monroe Cable Access.
Financial Coaching offered to First Americans at no chargeAug
The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) is offering financial coaching to First Americans across the United States at no charge.
Chickasaw Nation begins offering FDA approved Pfizer vaccine exclusivelyAug
In an effort to streamline processes and meet the increased demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health (CNDH) now exclusively offers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival to take place virtually for 2021Aug
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby announced in an update to citizens that the 2021 Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival would be virtual.
Lewis dedicates home memorial to U.S. veteransAug
Richard Lewis, a Chickasaw elder and veteran living in Pickett, dedicated months of effort to the creation of a room-sized memorial for all past, present and future U.S. military service members.
COVID-19 testing and vaccinations return to Chickasaw Nation Emergency Operations Facility in AdaAug
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued full approval, Aug. 23, of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which will now be marketed under the brand name “Comirnaty.”
SCORE Radio to livestream Ada High and ECU FootballAug
After more than five decades of covering local gridiron action, SCORE (South Central Oklahoma Radio Enterprises) will begin livestreaming games this fall for Ada High School and East Central University (ECU), in addition to traditional radio coverage.
Oklahoma Health Care Authority honors Chickasaw elder and peacekeeper Tewanna EdwardsAug
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) honored Tewanna Edwards, a Chickasaw elder from Shawnee, in recognition of her service on OHCA’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion.
Chickasaw Wiley Barnes, director of Chickasaw Press, named to two boardsAug
The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the Oklahoma Center for the Book (OCB) named Wiley Barnes, director of the Chickasaw Press, to boards within their organizations.