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Chickasaw Nation Opens Holisso Center Memorial Day Weekend

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The Holisso Center, a cutting-edge research center that will be dedicated to preserving and sharing Chickasaw Nation history, is set to open over Memorial Day weekend.

“We believe this center will be a vital resource for students, authors and others interested in learning more about Chickasaw history, heritage and culture,” said Governor Bill Anoatubby in a press release. “It is an integral part of our effort to expand the knowledge of our tribe and share our story with the world.”

The nation called the Holisso Center—a 20,000-square-foot building at the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center—a “research Mecca.” It houses genealogy collections, historic maps, photo archives and historic documents.

“The Holisso Center is cutting edge, a Smithsonian-caliber facility,” said Michelle Cooke, manager of Libraries, Archives & Collections for the tribal division of History and Culture. “It is a one-of-a kind place for the Chickasaw Nation and Native Americans in this area.”

According to her, visitors can put their “finger on history” because they are allowed to handle rare books and collections, as long as they wear white gloves.

The opening, scheduled for May 28 and 29, will include 18th century stoneware from Chickasaw homelands, a 1906 document signed by Theodore Roosevelt and a rifle owned by Haskell Paul—great-grandson of Pauls Valley pioneer Smith Paul and his Chickasaw wife, Ellen (Ala-Teecha).

And the center continues to accept artifact donations, many of the current artifacts have been donated by Chickasaw citizens.

“Participation of the Chickasaw people is key to the ultimate success of this endeavor,” Anoatubby said. “Chickasaws who are willing to share their historic treasures will be making a contribution of tremendous value to the preservation of our history for generations to come.”

And the nation promises that all donations will be safe and protected.

The Holisso Center is equipped with decontamination areas including a sub-zero freezer, where items are placed for two days to kill mold or pests before being put into the center. There is also a CO2 tent for items that cannot be frozen.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center is located at 867 Charles Cooper Memorial Drive in Sulphur, Oklahoma. For more information call 580-622-7130.

May 28 Events:

  • Genealogy workshop
  • Session with tribal genealogy archive manager Dinah Worcester
  • Meet and greet with Chickasaw families
  • Chickasaw Press book signing
  • Meet a Chickasaw artist
  • Stomp dancing
  • Storytelling