Chickasaw Country is a great place to learn about other cultures and expand your horizons. This is easy to do with all of the fun, family friendly activities offered. Here are a few of our favorite activities from our trip!
The Chickasaw Cultural Center
The Chickasaw Cultural Center offers many activities and hands-on exhibits to connect with Native American history and learn about the vibrant culture of the Chickasaw people. Visitors can watch the story of the Chickasaw people unfold through powerful performances, reenactments, demonstrations, collections and exhibits. The 184-acre campus is one of the largest and most extensive tribal cultural centers in the United States and offers everything from museums and art galleries, to food, gardens, and games, as well as an interactive Traditional Village. There is also a live Stomp Dance demonstration that visitors are invited to participate in. Don’t feel like stomping into the spotlight? Sit and observe others, or just take in the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area!
The Traditional Village at the Chickasaw Country Cultural Center is a life-size, interactive exhibit that illustrates the
life of the Chickasaw people in the 1700s. Demonstrators don traditional 1700’s costume regalia and immerse visitors in a number of hands-on activities. Have a passion for creativity? Be sure to check out the cornhusk doll demonstration, where kids and parents get to create their own. It’s an excellent way to experience how Chickasaw children entertained themselves hundreds of years ago, before the age of Wi-Fi, and for kids to exercise their own artistic talent as well. Plus, it makes for a great, one-of-a-kind souvenir for kids to treasure and remember their time visiting Chickasaw Country. Archery demonstrations are typically given on the weekends in the spring, summer and fall, or during one of their larger festivals throughout the year. Demonstrators are on hand to help you improve your technique, aim, and execution, should you want to give it a try!
Holisso: The Center for Study of Chickasaw History and Culture
Holisso translates to “letter” or “book” in the Chickasaw language, which is an appropriate name for a 20,000 square foot, state-of-the-art research library that specializes in the genealogical and cultural history of the Chickasaw Nation. Families looking to sneak in a little bit of history and education into their vacations can pay a visit to the Holisso building, and anyone interested in exploring their own ancestry can investigate to see if they may have some family roots connected to the Five Civilized Tribes.
In the main reading room you can see a collection objects on display from the archives. They also have a non-circulating research library with about 4,000 volumes relating to southeastern tribes and cultures. They also house the Chickasaw Nation Archive.
Chickasaw Cultural Center Campus
Kids young and old are welcome to play in the on-site Butterfly Garden, which opened in 2014. This beautiful natural setting features whimsical statues, stunning flowers, and actual butterflies! It’s the perfect way to teach kids about wildlife, particularly butterflies and their importance to the ecosystem.
Monarch butterflies are almost on the endangered list, because in the last 20 years, 90% of Monarch butterflies have disappeared. Those working at the cultural center are trying to rebuild habitats for the Monarch butterflies, which includes planting milkweed (an extremely important part of the Monarch’s lifecycle – they cannot live without it). Presently, there have been over 50,000 milkweed plants planted on tribal properties. The center also hands out milkweed to visitors to help encourage the cultivation of this ecosystem staple.
Events at the Butterfly Garden are frequent and include National Monarch Day (in September). Events are perfect for any age!