Okhvta Chito Okhoatali Photo provided by Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac

A trio of clay bowls etched with traditional designs show the beauty of Choctaw artistry in everyday utensils. These and more artifacts from the 1700s will be displayed in the exhibit "Okhvta Chito Okhoatali: Choctaw and French Transatlantic Legacies" opening at the Choctaw Cultural Center on July 6.

Choctaw Cultural Center, French Museum Partner Again

Historic Tribal Items in New Exhibit

Published July 1, 2024

DURANT, Okla. – The successful collaboration of art and history between two nations, France and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has led to the creation of the new exhibit “Okhvta Chito Okhoatali: Choctaw and French Transatlantic Legacies.” It will premiere at the Choctaw Cultural Center on Saturday, July 6.

“Okhvta Chito Okhoatali” is Choctaw for “To Cross the Ocean.” On September 18, 2021, a collection of largely Choctaw artifacts from the 1700s went on display in the Versailles Public Library in Versailles, France. The exhibit featured part of the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac’s French royal collections of North America. In a unique collaboration, staff from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s Historic Preservation Department assisted in its preparation. Now, those items will be on display in Choctaw Country for the first time in three centuries.

Unlike many other European nations, when French explorers arrived in Choctaw homelands in 1699, the French and the Choctaw became respectful friends, allies in war, and trading partners. Items in the exhibit are believed to have been received in trade, and most are likely Choctaw in origin. In addition, archaeological items on loan from the University of South Alabama have been contributed and provide further understanding of the alliance between the two nations.

Visitors to the exhibit can expect to see exceptional pieces, including a pair of bear paw moccasins; a man’s beaded trade cloth legging; a bison hair-and-bead sash; shell and trade bead jewelry; a gar fish skin quiver; rivercane darts, and a painted hide.

“Okhvta Chito Okhoatali: Choctaw and French Transatlantic Legacies” runs July 6 through November 30. Hours at the Choctaw Cultural Center, 1919 Hina Hanta Way in Durant, are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. Regular admission prices apply, including complimentary admission for Choctaw tribal members and cultural center members. In addition, the Hvshi Gift Store and Champuli Café will be open. Visit chocta.ws/transatlantic-legacies.

About The Choctaw Nation

The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States with more than 225,000 tribal members and 12,000-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.


Contact Kristina Humenesky for any media relations needs at [email protected].

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.