Day 42 – Anoli’ (Stories)

Travelled through Oklahoma today. Seems like a very nice state. Lots of farms and small towns. There are a large number of Native American reservations in Oklahoma. Even the car registration plates say Native America

Visited two Native American cultural centres. The first was the Chickasaw Cultural Centre . The is a relatively new centre, opened in 2010. The centre is amazing. The Chickasaw have created a wonderful place which will be used by both their own citizens and by others to understand their culture and native culture more generally. There are a number of multi-use spaces, including:
A large theatre, which was showing a short documentary about the development of the centre. The film included many interviews with key team members, who were clearly proud of the work that had gone into developing the centre, and their ongoing role in supporting the development.
Meeting rooms which also showcase excellent paintings of tribal elders.
An external area which includes reproductions of Chickasaw buildings which is also used for presentations, such as dances (one of which we were lucky enough to participate in today)
Museum, which contains excellent exhibitions on myths and legends, traditional life and more recent history, including the period of removal.
Cafe which serves very good native food, including buffalo burgers, corn cribs and strawberries in balsamic which is a great dessert.
There is also a research area which supports Chickasaw research into their ancestry.

We also visited the Cherokee Heritage Centre in Tahlequah. This museum runs an annual art show, which is currently on display. The show has a number of excellent modern art pieces from Cherokee artists, which are also for sale. The museum also has a “trail of tears” exhibition, which tells the story of the removal of the Cherokee people from their home in North Carolina to Oklahoma. The exhibition is sensitive and contains a large number of personal accounts and individual stories.

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