Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Friendship Force Visits Chickasaw Cultural Center

More than 172,000 people from around the world have experienced the Chickasaw Cultural Center since it opened in 2010 making it a true international destination.

Visitors from all around the United States and from countries including Nepal, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Russia and Bangladesh have journeyed to the 109-acre campus in Sulphur and been immersed in Chickasaw culture and experienced the unique Chickasaw story.

Some of the latest international visitors were 51 members of Friendship Force Oklahoma and Friendship Force Exchange Program. Exchange members from Australia, Japan, Canada, Kentucky, California, Washington, Oregon, Nebraska, Maine, Iowa, Arizona and Tennessee toured the facility.

The group explored the campus of the Chickasaw Cultural Center, met with cultural demonstrators, participated in the stomp dance demonstration and enjoyed an Indian taco in the Aaimpa' Café.

“The cultural center is an amazing place and I am very impressed,” said Andrea Ling, Friendship Force exchange program member from Perth, Australia. “I enjoyed participating in the stomp dance; you get the rhythm and get moving.”

Quickly becoming a top international tourist destination in the state, the Chickasaw Cultural Center was awarded a RedBud Award for Outstanding Attraction in 2012 just prior to celebrating its second anniversary.

“Chickasaw people worked together for decades to present this place as the center of living Chickasaw culture and create a world-class tourist destination,” said Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby at the time. “We are thrilled that this vision of sharing our story, way of life and culture is now a reality.”

Since opening July 24, 2010, thousands of visitors have passed through the campus; some coming from as far away as Japan, Germany, Bolivia, and the United Kingdom, to name a few.

On a visit to the Cultural Center from Surgut, Russia, Alexander Verevikin compared the Chickasaw story to the stories of indigenous peoples of northern Russia.

“I am really impressed with how you maintain your heritage and don't forget your roots,” he said. “Several of my former classmates maintain an exhibit in Russia devoted to the native people of northern Russia. I am going to share my experience with them.”

With the latest technology, live demonstrations, ancient artifacts and natural outdoor spaces, the center tells the story of the unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw Nation - from the ancient past to the present day.

Scott Jackson, a Chickasaw visiting for the first time, said that the cultural center does a great job of keeping nature intact and adding a modern flair while still maintaining the integrity of Chickasaw heritage.

“It’s not just what you see, it’s what you taste, what you feel and what you experience,” said Mr. Jackson.

The Cultural Center campus is also home of the Center for the Study of Chickasaw History, a world-class research and archive facility for Chickasaw and Oklahoma history.

This cutting edge, Smithsonian-caliber facility, is a one-of-a kind place for the Chickasaw Nation, Native Americans and the entire community to reconnect and learn about their history and heritage. Many visitors have come to the Holisso Center to discover their family story.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center is located at 867 Charles Cooper Memorial Drive in Sulphur, Okla.

Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information about the Chickasaw Cultural Center, call 580-622-7130 or visit

About Friendship Force Exchange Program

Friendship Force International is an international cultural exchange program which seeks to foster peace and a greater understanding across cultural boundaries through international and domestic travel exchanges based upon home hosting.

The non-profit organization was founded in Atlanta Ga., and introduced on March 1, 1977, by President Jimmy Carter during a White House gathering of state governors. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter served as Honorary Chairperson until 2002. In 1992, Friendship Force International was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Since its founding in 1977, Friendship Four has grown to over 363 clubs in more than 60 countries.


Reader Comments(0)