HOUSTON – The name for Chickasaw County did not come about by accident and local historians want to highlight that heritage with a display and possible monument at the Chickasaw County Museum.
A contingent traveled to Tupelo Dec. 16 to meet with Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby who was seeking support for a cultural center there. The group told Anoatubby they have repeatedly approached the Nation seeking to document and formalize the history of Chickasaw Indians in this area.
“We didn’t have a long meeting but we did get to present out idea,” said Larry Davis, President of the Chickasaw County Historical Society. “He told us he wanted details what we were trying to do and he was very interested in what we proposed.”
Davis said the end result sought by the Historical Society is a monument in Joe Brigance Park showcasing the counties first inhabitants and a display of Native American artifacts linked to the Chickasaw.
“More than anything we wanted their input of what they felt would be the best way to monumentalize their connection to this land,” said Davis. “We also felt our display should be as accurate as possible and truly reflect Chickasaw culture and art. Who better to explain that and help us with that than the Chickasaw Nation.”
Anoatubby told Davis he would like to meet again in Chickasaw County this spring to discuss the project and its direction.
“We have a lot of artifacts and we really want this to be a top-quality display that will also bring people to our community seeking information on Chickasaw (Nation) culture,” said Davis. “This community and our museum see people come on a regular basis to look at records on their ancestry and we would like to see the Chickasaw be a part of that.”
Davis said the Museum will begin planning its third phase in 2014 and – just has it has with its two other buildings – will seek funding in advance to pay for construction.
Anoatubby was in Tupelo to look at plans for a $5-6 million cultural center to be built in a year or two.
The Chickasaw County Museum timeline and cost are much sooner and nowhere near that expensive.
Anotubby’s visit was part of a plan by the Chickasaw Nation to develop a permanent presence in North Mississippi that tells their history, explains their culture and its ties to local land.
In 1839, the federal government forced the Chickasaw people from their native land. The tribe relocated to south-central Oklahoma. However, this part of north Mississippi remains important to the Chickasaw people’s history.
After a period of financial struggles, the Chickasaw Nation has found financial strength in ventures including casinos, race tracks, and even a chocolate company. Increased wealth through the years has allowed the Nation to devote resources to its plans.
“We have not set anything in stone at this point,” said Davis. “Our visit was very low-key and our desire is to keep the lines of communication open and see if we can work together on this project.”
Davis also urged anyone with history, letters or diaries with links to the Chickasaw Nation or who might have artifact that could be loaned to the museum to contact one of the following people with the Chickasaw County Historical Society:
• N. Colburn – 448-0413.
• Sally Beaty – 456-3413.
• Joe or Libba Criddle – 456-6657.
• Robert Porter – firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Richard or Shirley Sisk – email@example.com
• James Clark – 456-5255 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Larry Davis – 456-9787 or email to email@example.com.