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.
West Virginia storyteller uses modern technology to stay connected with Chickasaw heritageAug
Learning a new language is difficult, especially if you live 1,200 miles away from the nearest fluent speaker.
Chickasaw Nation WIC program seeks commentsAug
The Chickasaw Nation is soliciting comments from individuals regarding the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
McSwain Theatre Virtual Showcase features Jae L. & Crossover with special guestsAug
The McSwain Theatre is offering a virtual performance featuring Jae L. & Crossover with special guests 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15.
Preregistration available for Chickasaw Nation COVID-19 testing centersAug
The Chickasaw Nation Department of Health has established COVID-19 temporary testing centers in the parking lots of the Chickasaw Nation Health Clinics in Ardmore, Tishomingo and Purcell, and the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center on the Ada South Campus.
Farmers to Families Food Distribution events to take place throughout the Chickasaw NationAug
The Chickasaw Nation is extending its collaboration with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma for Farmers to Families drive-thru food distribution events through December.
Chickasaw Nation Day of Prayer to be shared virtuallyAug
Save the date for the 8th annual Chickasaw Nation Day of Prayer.
Lokosh carvings featured in SWAIA online marketAug
Lokosh’s (Joshua D. Hinson) menagerie of hand-carved decoys caught the eye of one of the most exclusive First American art shows in the United States.
Chickasaw Nation Head Start and Chickasaw Nation Preschool to implement virtual instruction first nine weeksJul
As a safety measure during the fight against the coronavirus, COVID-19, the Chickasaw Nation Head Start and Chickasaw Nation Preschool will implement distance and virtual instruction for the first nine weeks of the term.
Jerry Turner draws from family history to voice Oklahoma Territory-era constableJul
A Chickasaw constable from the days of Indian Territory is the newest addition to a roster of walking partners available within the AYA walking app – an interactive step-counting experience which gives users a way to explore Chickasaw history and culture while pursuing better health.
Chickasaw Nation Announces General Election ResultsJul
Chickasaw Nation Election Secretary Rita Loder announced results of the July 28, 2020, general election.