Grand Opening Date Announced for Choctaw Cultural Center in Durant,
an Interactive and Immersive Space that Tells the Story of the Choctaw
People and Culture
(Durant, OK.) June 2, 2021 The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
today announced that its new Choctaw Cultural Center, which tells
the 14,000-year-history of the Chahta people and represents more
than a decade of research and work in creating the space, will officially
open July 23 on the prairie land of southeastern Oklahoma in Durant.
Featuring rich interactive and immersive exhibitions and engaging
programs and activities, the Choctaw Cultural Center showcases the
Nation's treasured history and culture, and serves as a place to
gather, learn, and preserve the Choctaw spirit and way of life.
The Choctaw Cultural
Center will open Friday, July 23, along with the Champuli
Cafe. The restaurant will offer cultural, comfort and seasonal
"The Cultural Center was designed as a living, breathing space
that encapsulates centuries of the Chahta Nowvt Aya, or Choctaw
Journey," said Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton. "From
the replica of an ancient spiritual mound to state-of-the-art exhibits
showcasing our history and culture, this is a place for tribal members
to connect with and preserve our past and a place for our neighbors
and friends to better understand the history that has shaped the
Choctaw Nation. It is an important story to tell and one we are
proud to share."
The building is situated on 22-acres, is over 100,000 square feet
and houses two exhibit halls, an art gallery, auditorium, children's
area, classrooms, offices, gift shop, café and more. Among
its many features is a Permanent Exhibit Hall with a four-part story
focusing on the history of the Choctaw tribe from ancestral times
(circa 1250) to current day in Oklahoma. To help tell the story
are "live casts" of living Choctaw tribal members created based
on 3-D scans of their faces and bodies. Some of the life-like figures
scattered throughout show how the tribe lived "before contact" while
others display how they live in contemporary times.
Other items of note in the permanent exhibit are a giant Luksi
(Turtle) in the children's activity center with traditional Choctaw
houses and a mini-forest to explore. Also featured throughout are
hand-made items created by Choctaw tribal members including jewelry,
baskets, beadwork, a cape of feathers, artwork, and more.
The Center also includes a Changing Exhibition Gallery for traveling
and community curated exhibits and special events. A state-of-the-art
collections area is devoted to caring for cultural items, collections
and an archive of some of the Nation's most historical documents,
artifacts and other archival items.
Ian Thompson, historic
preservation officer for the Choctaw Nation, explains the
daily life scene depicted in the tribe's new cultural center,
which opens Friday, July 23.
Upon leaving the indoor exhibits, guests are invited to visit the
Hvshi Gift Store for authentic Choctaw-made items and memorabilia
and enjoy a meal at The Champuli Café for traditional Choctaw
food as well as current options.
The Living Village is a surrounding space which includes a replica
of a traditional Choctaw mound, a stickball demonstration field,
heirloom Choctaw crops, and a dance circle.
Throughout the Cultural Center indoors and outdoors
Choctaw tribal members have the opportunity to teach, learn and
actively participate in the Choctaw culture. Activities like gathering
for special presentations and Choctaw films, participating in the
Choctaw tradition of oral storytelling or playing in a demonstration
stickball game, all help keep the Choctaw spirit alive.
The new Choctaw Cultural
Center south of Durant features an outdoor village, made up
of three traditional houses, as well as dance grounds, a stickball
field, gardens and a mound used for housing, ceremonies, burials.
Admission, Hours & Directions
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Tribal Members will have complementary
General Admission for Adults: $12
Discounted Admission will be available for children, veterans,
senior citizens, and college students.
Hours: Wednesday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Saturday, 10:00
a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Sunday 11:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. Closed: Monday
The Choctaw Cultural Center is located at 1919 Hina Hanta Way Calera,
The entrance to the Cultural Center is off Choctaw Road, west of
the intersection of Choctaw Road and Highway 69/75 in Durant.
High-resolution images of the Cultural Center's exterior space,
interior features and exhibitions, are available here.
About the Choctaw Cultural Center
The Choctaw Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring, preserving,
and showcasing the culture and history of the Choctaw people. The
exhibits are immersive and told from the Choctaw perspective honoring
the physical and spiritual journey of the Choctaw people, the "Chahta
Nvwat Aya". Located in Durant, Oklahoma, the Choctaw Cultural Center
includes over 100,000 square feet of rich, living exhibitions, a
vast Living Village, classrooms, a theater, café and retail
that combined, bring the Chahta spirit of faith, family and culture
to life! For more information, visit choctawculturalcenter.com.
About The Choctaw Nation
The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the
United States with more than 200,000 tribal members and 10,000-plus
associates. This ancient people has an oral tradition dating back
over 13,000 years. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, its
historic reservation boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma,
covering 10,923 square miles. The Choctaw Nation's vision, "Living
out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture," is evident
as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and
prosperity. For more information about the Choctaw Nation, its culture,
heritage and traditions, please go to www.choctawnation.com.