Our Chickasaw heritage is woven into the fabric of American history

This article appeared in the November 2023 edition of the Chickasaw Times

This month, as we celebrate Native American Heritage Month, we recognize and celebrate the many valuable contributions, sacrifices, impact and influence of First American nations and people. Our history – Chickasaw history – and U.S. history are forever intertwined. As the story of our country is still being written, so is the story of the Chickasaw Nation.

Throughout our history, our people’s adaptability and perseverance was unwavering. We have continued to thrive despite great challenges and triumph over many obstacles. We remain committed to building on the solid foundation laid by those before us so that generations after will continue to prosper.

This month, we encourage all Chickasaws to explore their heritage, family and history. There are more opportunities than ever to do so, many of which are available to Chickasaws around the world. We offer these opportunities to preserve and share our ongoing story and our shared culture. Though we may be apart in distance, we are all still Chickasaw – Chikasha Poya! – and, collectively, we have an amazing story to tell.

From online language programs and classes, and films and documentaries to books and informational videos, you are able to learn parts of Chickasaw history and culture from anywhere.

Additionally, the Chickasaw Cultural Center has shared our culture with nearly 938,000 visitors from around the globe since opening in 2010. It offers visitors the opportunity to learn and connect with Chickasaw history and culture, and watch our story unfold through powerful performances, reenactments, demonstrations, collections and exhibits.

One of our latest developments, an online Genealogy Request Portal, allows genealogy research requests to be submitted online. Using Dawes Roll records, federal census records, historical records and family files, our genealogy program assists individuals in the research process. The Chickasaw Press recently announced a new option this year, the Leaning Pole Press, for Chickasaw authors who desire to publish a wider variety of content. Furthermore, a new virtual language immersion academy allows students from across the United States to meet each week as we continue to preserve and perpetuate our Chickasaw language.

These efforts are part of a greater plan that underscores our dedication to preserving and sharing our vibrant Chickasaw culture, and offering many opportunities to participate in and embrace all aspects of our shared history and heritage.

Throughout November, in recognition of Native American Heritage Month, we invite you to join us in celebration of our dynamic culture and distinguished Chickasaw history. And, we welcome everyone to make use of the many resources dedicated to preserving and sharing our story from our own unique perspective.