Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Choctaw festival at the Smithsonian

Choctaw heritage celebration to be held in June in Washington, D.C

From the Desk of Chief Gregory E. Pyle

February 2011

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is the first tribe to be asked to host a festival at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. We will be celebrating Choctaw heritage June 22, 23, 24 and 25 at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) with song, dance, art and food.

Booths showcasing beadwork, pottery, Choctaw language, flutes, weapons and food are some of the highlights of the festival that is being planned for this summer. Choctaw dancers and Choctaw singers will be performing several times each of the four days, and renowned storytellers Tim Tingle and Greg Rodgers will also entertain the crowds.

The café at the National Museum of the American Indian will feature Choctaw food on the menu while we are hosting the festival, and their chef, assisted by our cooking experts, will demonstrate how the dishes are prepared.

Crafts will be held each afternoon in a “make-and-take” section of the festival. Materials for the crafts will be provided. Visitors will also be able to handle a set of kabocca (stickball sticks), and see how baskets are woven. It is a great privilege to have prominent Choctaw artists such as Marcus Amerman and Gwen Coleman-Lester join us to set up displays and demonstrate their talent for the event.

A theater in the NMAI will be showing a short film on Choctaw Code Talkers produced by RedHorse Productions and a Trail of Tears documentary called “The Long Walk” produced by Arkansas Education Television Network. There is no charge for entrance to the museum or theater.

Opening day of the festival will include an evening reception for Choctaws and friends at the Smithsonian. The program will include Choctaw flute music and hymns in the Choctaw language.

This is going to be one of the most exciting events we have hosted and I hope to see many of the tribal members who live in the Washington, D.C., area attend!