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.
Palmer and crew express Chickasaw history with public art in ArdmoreMar
Dr. Bob Palmer, a retired art professor, and his crew of professional muralists depicted Chickasaw history with a five panel mural painted Feb. 15-17 across the east wall of Ardmore’s Skateland.
Chickasaw leadership program attends youth summit in Washington, D.C.Mar
The Chikasha Pehlichi Ikbi “Creating Chickasaw Leaders” Youth Leadership Program (CPI) attended the Close Up Foundation’s annual American Indian Youth Summit in Washington, D.C.
Chickasaw and Choctaw artist Sue Fish preserving Southeastern Indian culture across the stateMar
Chickasaw and Choctaw artist Sue Fish has honed her craft of basketmaking for nearly three decades and displayed her art in galleries across the Chickasaw Nation.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Announces Temporary Closures of Chickasaw Nation owned CasinosMar
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby today announced that numerous Chickasaw Nation properties would close following updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.
Some Chickasaw Nation events canceledMar
Some Chickasaw Nation events have been canceled or postponed out of an abundance of caution in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mike and Martha Larsen create third set of portraits honoring Chickasaw eldersMar
Chickasaw artist Mike Larsen honored 28 Chickasaw elders as part of an ongoing portraiture project, unveiling 24 paintings at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur.
Three Sisters Celebration embraces season of renewal at Chickasaw Cultural CenterMar
The Chickasaw Cultural Center’s annual Three Sisters Celebration is set for March 14-22.
Chickasaw films and documentaries on discount for Women’s History MonthMar
Chickasaw Nation Productions feature films and documentaries will be discounted 20% throughout March for Women’s History Month with the promotional code WHM20.
Life began at 70 for globe-trotting Chickasaw philanthropist with a life devoted to othersMar
Many dream about retirement. A time to sit back, enjoy the grandkids, live life at a slower pace, and just relax and appreciate the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
Chickasaw Nation to Celebrate Youth Arts Month March 7Mar
The Chickasaw Nation will celebrate Youth Arts Month (YAM) 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Chickasaw Community Center, located at 700 N. Mississippi in Ada.