Classes

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma offers a variety of classes in our traditional arts, including basketery, moccasins, pottery, stickball, dress-making, and traditional archery.  Far more than more than just craft classes, these courses teach traditional skills and knowledge that can help today's Choctaw people strengthen our Choctaw identity and connections with ancestors, develope physical health, dexterity and self confidence; to be more closely connected with the land around us, and to better express ourselves through our artwork.

Most classes are free; some even provide food. Please come join us for a great time, and in the process, help to strengthen and revitalize the Choctaw traditional arts!

Pottery

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma began offering classes in 2009 in an effort to revitalize Choctaw traditional pottery as a living artform (Choctaw Pottery link).

Through these classes, students learn about all aspects of the pottery made and developed by our ancestors, including: how to locate good clay-digging spots, how to dig and hand-clean the clay, how to prepare tempering materials such as burned mussel shell, how to shape the pottery into a variety of traditional forms, the art of firing in an open wood fire, and how to cook in and eat out of the pottery.  Choctaw language, history and culture are integrated throughout.

Choctaw pottery classes are held on a bi-weekly basis at Durant and Antlers.  Some shorter-term classes and demonstrations are offered at other locations upon request.

For further information, please contact Dr. Ian Thompson at 1-800-522-6170  ext. 2216,ithompson@choctawnation.com

Basketry

Native American in the Southeastern United States have been making basketry for at least 7,000 years (Choctaw Basketry link).  Choctaw Nation Cultural Services offers classes on weaving baskets to Tribal youth at Cultural Enrichment camp, and to people of all ages at several other events during the year. Through these classes, you will learn basketry styles and basic weaving techniques using commercial reed.

For further information, please contact Kay Jackson at  1-800-522-6710 ext. 2504.

Moccasins

This one evening course offers students a chance to learn how to make traditional, pucker toe, Choctaw-style moccasins (Choctaw Moccasin link).

The course begins with a slideshow that provides students with information on rare early Choctaw moccasins in museum collections and other documentary sources, showing how Choctaw moccasin styles have changed through time.  A presentation will also be made on "tvlhkochi", the traditional Choctaw hide-tanning process.   Thereafter, students will be taught how to make their own patterns for Trail of Tears era Choctaw moccasins. They will then be guided through the process of cutting the patterns out of commercial buckskin and sewing the up into finished moccasins.  Hides will be available at the time of class for purchase through Choctaw Nation.

For further information, please contact Dr. Ian Thompson at 1-800-522-6170  ext. 2216,ithompson@choctawnation.com

Click here for the presentation on Choctaw Moccasins

Stickball

During the year, several classes are offered in connection with the Tvshka Homma Stickball Team.  To date, classes have focused on making the stickball and stickball sticks (Choctaw Stickball link).

For more information about the team or the classes, please contact Kay Jackson at 580-924-8280 ext. 2504

Traditional Bow-Shoot and Classes

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma began hosting traditional bow-shooting competition 5 years ago in an effort to revitalize Choctaw traditional archery. As a part of this, classes are sometimes taught on making traditional Choctaw bows and arrows (Choctaw Bow & Arrow link).

The bow-shooting competition began as a small group of people and has now grown to have as many as 35 participants at some competitions.  Participants meet at the grounds at Tvshka Homma, at the tent camping area, every second Saturday of the month. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. and competition begins at 11:00 a.m. with the younger archers shooting first. Lunch is provided.

Each participant has the option of using a longbow or recurve bow, handmade or commercial. Compound bows are not allowed.  The competition is broken into different age classes: 5 yrs. and under Co-ed, 6-8 yrs Co-ed, 9-13 yrs. Co-ed, 14-16 yrs. Boys and Girls, 17-19 yrs. Boys & Girls, 20 & Over Women and Men.  Last year saw the inception of a new 3-D Adult Competition open to anyone over the age of 17.

At the end of the season, total points are calculated, based on the number of shoots attended and a prize of a handmade longbow is awarded to the person in the 17 and over age groups. The younger age groups are presented with a trophy.

During the season, Choctaw archers compete in other tribal longbow competitions, including a contest sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation at Kullihoma, and the Cherokee Nation Cornstalk Shoot in Tahlequah. We encourage each person interested in joining us at the competitions!

For more information, please contact Pam Waugh during regular business hours at (918) 569-7675

Dress Making

Today's Choctaw traditional dress style harrows back to the French clothing style worn during the colonial period (Choctaw Women's Clothing link).  With its bright colors and ribbon work, Choctaw traditional clothing is at the same time beautiful and distinct.  The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma offers classes in making and decorating traditional clothing.

For more information, please contact Sue Folsom at 1-800-522-6170  ext. 2134, suefolsom@choctawnation.com