I am a Chickasaw Indian by birth but live out of state. I have kept up with the progress and took the opportunity to visit and educate my children about their heritage. I was struck by the beauty of the buildings, landscapes, architecture, placement, fountains and space. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and cares that you are interested. The exhibits are tasteful and well done. We did not budget enough time to spend but enjoyed what we could. The daily calendar information given at the welcome post on the drive in was perfect and had a map on the back in color which made navigating easy. The cafe was interesting with the grape dumplings and fry bread, my kids loved!!!! We came on a day that had an informational film (which we missed) on basket weaving which was followed up by actually making a small basket (which we did, see photo). The instructor, Sue Fish, has work in the gift shop and art gallery. She was just lovely and very good at what she does. The staff in the main gift shop was making a beaded hatband that was so beautiful and was happy to share her knowledge about her specialty and provided tips for my daughter to get started. The items in the shop were quality and pieces of art, not roadside trinkets. The buildings were gorgeous. Beautiful stone with copper accents inside and out with treated wood walkway coverings that were stunning themselves. The gardens were interesting and well maintained. The 3 sisters garden was in full bloom, corn, beans (which use the corn as trellises), and squash which offers ground cover for weed prevention. We were also told that they compliment each other in the soil. The staff is very proud of their heritage and treat you the visitor with respect. I do not look indian an therefore none of them knew they were speaking to one of their own. Plan on spending 3-5 hours here. Look up the schedule on the internet to plan your visit. www.chickasawcultural center.com. Admission to the grounds is free. Some of the exhibits and films do have admission for adults. If you are a Chickasaw tribe member bring your card and this could make it free. Most of all learn and enjoy!
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