The Chickasaw Nation Hosts the Native Voices Traveling Exhibition

SULPHUR, OK – The Native Voices traveling exhibition opened in August 2014 and ran through the fall at the Chickasaw Nation’s new art gallery.

Bill Anoatubby, the governor of the Chickasaw Nation, welcomed the Native Voices traveling exhibition, which he said underscored the importance of good health for all Chickasaws.

A male member of the Chickasaw tribe, dressed in bright red, plays the wooden flute.

A Chickasaw musician plays at the exhibition’s opening.

Anoatubby said exhibition attendees, “will be educated about how Native Americans view health in their communities.”

Anoatubby added the Chickasaw nation has “developed a culture of caring for one another through tough times time and through times of plenty.”

The Native Voices traveling exhibition’s six banner display was housed in the Artesian Gallery and Studios within a 7,400 foot square-foot light-filled space with floor to ceiling windows on the east side of the building.

The Artesian Gallery was recently built by the Chickasaw Nation to showcase Native arts. The Artesian Gallery was built to compliment the Artesian Hotel, Casino, and Spa, which is across the street.

Native-made art is sold in the Artesian Gallery, which also houses studios for area painters, potters, weavers, as well as flute and drum-makers. You can discover more about the Artesian Gallery at their website.

The Native Voices traveling exhibition’s opening was well-attended and more than 1,000 persons visited the exhibit from August through November. Attendees were encouraged to leave comments and impressions on some iPads scattered throughout the exhibition.

One visitor wrote, “I will tell others to come see this. It reminded me that my health includes many different things.”

Another visitor mentioned he: “liked the Code Talker because of the living history he presented.” (The Native Voices traveling exhibition contains an interview with a Native American code talker and a two-minute video about the history of the code talkers).

Dr. Lindberg holds a piece of pottery while talking with the artist. Dr. Parker and Governor Anoatubby look on.

NLM’s director Donald A.B. Lindberg M.D. comments on Chickasaw artwork at the Native Voices traveling exhibition’s opening. Present are (L-R): Dr. Judy Parker, Governor Bill Anoatubby, Donald A.B. Lindberg M.D., Joanna Underwood (Chickasaw artist).

The coder talkers were Native Americans (including many soldiers from the Navajo tribe during World War II) who used their native languages to encode secret and sensitive military messages. The Japanese were unable to decode the messages, which made U.S. military communications more secure during World War II.

A similar effort in World War I relied on the Cherokee and Choctaw Indians, who are part of the Chickasaw Nation. The Chickasaw Nation’s other tribes include the Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole.

The combined tribes are referred to sometimes as the “Five Civilized Tribes” because of their sophisticated administrative, legal, and corporate governance.

As Dr. Judy Parker, secretary of health for the Chickasaw Nation, noted, “we like to do things well, be it in medicine, art or business.” Currently, the Chickasaw Nation of approximately 59,000 Native Americans live within a more than a 12 and a half county area in southern Oklahoma.

The Chickasaw Nation contains the Chickasaw National Park; the only U.S. national park created at the specific request of a Native American tribe. The park’s website is: http://www.nps.gov/chic/index.htm

By Judy Folkenberg

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