A crowd gathers to watch the Raccoon Dance.
Oklahoma State Senate declares May 15, 2012, as ‘Choctaw Day’
BRET MOSS Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma assembled a group of cultural experts and artists at the Oklahoma State Capitol building on May 15, 2012, to bring the Choctaw experience to the people of the Oklahoma City area and the leaders of the state.
Brightly clothed Choctaws filled the capitol’s second floor rotunda in their traditional clothing ready to leave an impression on guests of the capitol. As soon as booths were set up and ready to go, guests were eager to get involved with what the Choctaw Nation had to offer.
Exhibits of various staples of Choctaw heritage were on display, including stickball, pottery, flute making and beadwork. The Choctaw museum had an exhibit giving a background on the history of the people, and Choctaw Language teachers gave guests of the capitol a sampling of the native words.
Artists whose work has been featured throughout the Choctaw Nation were also on display. Artists included Jane Umsted and Dylan Cavin, whose work has been featured on various Choctaw publications, as well as Paul King, the creator of the branding image for the 2011 Choctaw Days in Washington D.C., and Theresa Morris, whose “Windstar” design has been widely used for Choctaw events and publications.
Many people also enjoyed visiting a booth featuring the Choctaw Code Talkers that reminded patrons of the service to their country.
Storytellers Greg Rodgers and Stella Long told Choctaw tales to eager ears and the Choctaw princesses demonstrated the Lord’s Prayer in sign language, a familiar activity of Choctaw events.
Traditional dancers got the audience involved with the Stealing Partners Dance and the Snake Dance. Throughout the day, they demonstrated many other traditional dances including the Walk and War Dance.
Many members of the Choctaw Tribal Council were in attendance to enjoy conversing with the guests and show their support for the spreading of the Choctaw culture. Assistant Chief Gary Batton addressed the crowd, proclaiming how proud he was to see the Choctaw Nation on display in such a venue.
Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb followed Batton, and mentioned he was happy to see the Choctaw Nation spreading its heritage and teaching people of the Oklahoma what it means to be Choctaw.
Senator Josh Brecheen spent time with members of the Choctaw group and, as the event came to a close, made a motion before the Oklahoma State Senate that this day be recognized as “Choctaw Day.” This motion was accepted and Batton addressed the senate showing his appreciation for the honor bestowed on the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
To view photos of the Choctaw Day activities visit Choctaw Nation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/choctawnationofoklahoma.
The Choctaw Nation group after meeting with the State Senate.
Assistant Chief Gary Batton addresses the Oklahoma State Senate.