Chahta Nowvt Aya: The Journey of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Comes to Life with New Choctaw Cultural Center

Interactive and Immersive Space Tells the Story of the Choctaw People and Culture.  Pictured above: Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton and members of the Choctaw Nation Tribal council.  

Durant, OK – The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 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, officially opened to the public on July 23, 2021 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton and attended by members of the Choctaw Nation tribal council. Located on the prairie land of southeastern Oklahoma in Durant, the Choctaw Cultural Center features rich interactive and immersive exhibitions and engaging programs and activities that highlight the Nation’s treasured history and culture, and serves as a place to gather, learn, and preserve the Choctaw spirit and way of life.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief, Gary Batton.

“The Cultural Center was designed as a living, breathing space that encapsulates centuries of the Chahta Nowvt Aya, or Choctaw Journey,” said 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.

Ribbon Cutting and opening of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Cultural Center

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.

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.

Admission, Hours & Directions
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Tribal Members will have complementary admission;
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 and Tuesday

The Choctaw Cultural Center is located at 1919 Hina Hanta Way Calera, OK 74730.
The entrance to the Cultural Center is off Choctaw Road, west of the intersection of Choctaw Road and Highway 69/75 in Durant.

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 or call 833-708-9582.

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.

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Mrs. Davis is the founder, publisher and executive editor of the only Native American wholly owned and operated national tribal business publication, Native Business Magazine, and the producer of the annual and nationally attended Native Business Summit.

Mrs. Davis is also president of Davis Strategy Group has over 23 years of service to Indian Country and as an entrepreneur she has successfully established, operated, managed and grown several businesses in multiple sectors. She is equal parts a strategic visionary and behind-the-scenes implementor, essential in guiding and overseeing every process of brand development, business expansion, nation-to-nation relationship building and more.

She was named in 2009 as one of the first recipients of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s, “40 Under 40” award which recognizes up and coming community and business leaders from across Indian Country.

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