Oklahoma is home to 38 Native American tribes, second in number of tribes only to California.  Our town and city names reflect the languages and influence on our history and there seems to be more and more positive appreciation of their individual heritages and customs.

There are many tribal headquarters as you pass through our state, but one of the biggest and newest is the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, down in south central Oklahoma. 
DSC_0217Blocks from the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, you find a beautiful contemporary center with exhibits, meeting places, research center, and a cafe, art galleries and beautifully landscaped grounds.  The first thing we saw was corn growing on the roof of one of the buildings.  How wonderfully appropriate!DSC_0221We were greeted with signs in English and Chickasaw…DSC_0246DSC_0220and bronze tributes to the tribe…DSC_0224DSC_0228The exhibit hall had the latest in interactive displays showing the history and heritage of the tribe.DSC_0225My favorite were the various boards where you could press a copper disc and hear the words spoken in Chickasaw as well as used in a sentence.IMG_4909There was a model village with explanations spoken in each building.DSC_0232The day we were there, the center was hosting a children’s festival, one of the best I have seen.  There was so  much for kids and families to do and learn and everyone was friendly and inviting.  I loved watching some of the young men demonstrating stickball games, which I had learned in the center were more than just for fun in the tribes in the old days.DSC_0244To top off the whole exciting experience, the Chickasaw also own a chocolate factory, Bedre, located a few miles down the road on the interstate in Davis.  They are the only tribe to own a chocolate factory and the products are truly excellent.  They sell to stores such as Neiman-Marcus, so you know that it’s special.DSC_0216IMG_4922I’ve traveled many places on this planet and I keep finding beautiful spots close to home.  Every state has them for us to discover, so I’m not claiming we’re unique, but it’s fun to go down the road and make new memories close to home.  If you’re crossing our state or coming to spend awhile, don’t miss our not so hidden surprises.  As the Chickasaw say, “Chockma!”DSC_0245