Choctaw Nation opens cultural center

Chief Gary Batton speaks at a recent dedication ceremony for the Oklahoma Choctaw Nation Cultural Center in Durant. (Courtesy photo)

DURING РThe newly opened Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Cultural Center features two exhibition halls, an art gallery, an auditorium, classrooms, offices, a gift shop, a caf̩ and more occupying over 100,000 feet square on 22 acres.

The center, designed as a “living and breathing” interactive space, represents more than a decade of research to illuminate the 14,000-year history of the Chahta people, said Choctaw Chief Gary Batton. Uniquely, 3D scans of living members of the Choctaw Tribe have been used in the creation of “live differentiations” that help tell the story of Choctaw in various phases dating from around 1250 to the present day.

“It’s a place where tribal members can connect and preserve our past and a place where our neighbors and friends can better understand the history that shaped the Choctaw Nation,” said Batton.

Throughout the center, handcrafted items created by Choctaw members, including artwork, jewelry, baskets, and even a feather cape, are displayed. A state-of-the-art collections area is dedicated to the maintenance of cultural objects, collections and archives of some of the country’s most valuable documents, artefacts and other archival items. A Living Village features a replica of a traditional Choctaw mound, a stickball demonstration ground, ancestral Choctaw cultures, and a dance circle.

The opening hours of the center are 10 am to 5 pm Wednesday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is located west of the intersection of Choctaw Road and Highway 69/75 in Durant.

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