Why under-the-radar Chickasaw Country ought to be on your travel list.
Many people may not have even heard about Chickasaw Country, but it’s the nation’s leading destination for First American experiences. Spanning 7,648 acres over 13 counties in south-central Oklahoma, the region has a little bit of everything: rich history, natural beauty, Native American culture.
The weather’s warming up, and there’s no better time to go check it out. Do be sure to check venues for changes in hours and opening dates and other possible COVID-related restrictions.
First American Experiences
Discover First American history and culture at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, the largest tribal cultural center in the U.S, featuring interactive performances, immersive storytelling, demonstrations and exhibits. Other attractions for heritage travelers include the Chickasaw White House, Chickasaw National Capitol, Chickasaw Bank Museum, and Chickasaw Council House Museum.
Experience Native culture through the creative expressions of renowned First American artists at Exhibit C Gallery, where the exhibition Music for the Great Sun runs through June 30, displaying the work of glass artist Preston Singletary and Choctaw artist Marcus Amerman, whose art is inspired by many of the ancient pieces that were originally made by the Cahokia Moundbuilders imperial craftsmen.
Set to open in Oklahoma City in fall 2021, the First Americans Museum will extend the First American experience of Chickasaw Country for visitors looking to delve in deeper. The museum is slated to showcase Oklahoma’s shared tribal history through the lens of 39 tribal nations.
First American Tours & Excursions
In partnership with the Chickasaw Nation, Be Native Tours offers exclusive First American adventures for visitors looking to immerse themselves in rich cultural heritage, relax in the region’s natural beauty, and explore history. Head off on a custom itinerary or enjoy one of several prebuilt excursions available like the Five Tribes Experience, Longhorns and Legends, Chickasaw Country Winery Tour, and more.
First American ancestors respected the land, and today, Chickasaw Country is a haven for the kinds of outdoor experiences that post-COVID travelers desire, from trying out noodling — catching catfish with your hands — to staying in floating cabins on Lake Murray. Among the places to experience the region’s other unique outdoor experiences: Lake Murray, the ancient Arbuckle Mountains, Chickasaw National Recreation Area, and Turner Falls Park, a regenerative space with gentle creeks, waterfalls, and natural swimming pools.
The century-old First State Bank Museum, Foreman Prairie House Historic Site, and Gene Autry Museum are just a few of the Western heritage offerings and museums available to history seekers in Chickasaw Country.
The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, one of the largest collections of Western and First Americans art and artifacts, highlights the history and culture of the Chisholm Trail and the American cowboy. The days of cattle drives and the Old West come to life via multisensory adventures that take visitors back in time to experience life “on the trail.”
Find out more about Chickasaw Country.
Photography: (All images) Courtesy Exhibit C