The Holisso Center at the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center will open Memorial Day weekend.

Chickasaw Nation Opens Holisso Center Memorial Day Weekend


The Holisso Center, a cutting-edge research center that will be dedicated to preserving and sharing Chickasaw Nation history, is set to open over Memorial Day weekend.

“We believe this center will be a vital resource for students, authors and others interested in learning more about Chickasaw history, heritage and culture,” said Governor Bill Anoatubby in a press release. “It is an integral part of our effort to expand the knowledge of our tribe and share our story with the world.”

The nation called the Holisso Center—a 20,000-square-foot building at the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center—a “research Mecca.” It houses genealogy collections, historic maps, photo archives and historic documents.

“The Holisso Center is cutting edge, a Smithsonian-caliber facility,” said Michelle Cooke, manager of Libraries, Archives & Collections for the tribal division of History and Culture. “It is a one-of-a kind place for the Chickasaw Nation and Native Americans in this area.”

According to her, visitors can put their “finger on history” because they are allowed to handle rare books and collections, as long as they wear white gloves.

The opening, scheduled for May 28 and 29, will include 18th century stoneware from Chickasaw homelands, a 1906 document signed by Theodore Roosevelt and a rifle owned by Haskell Paul—great-grandson of Pauls Valley pioneer Smith Paul and his Chickasaw wife, Ellen (Ala-Teecha).

And the center continues to accept artifact donations, many of the current artifacts have been donated by Chickasaw citizens.

“Participation of the Chickasaw people is key to the ultimate success of this endeavor,” Anoatubby said. “Chickasaws who are willing to share their historic treasures will be making a contribution of tremendous value to the preservation of our history for generations to come.”

And the nation promises that all donations will be safe and protected.

The Holisso Center is equipped with decontamination areas including a sub-zero freezer, where items are placed for two days to kill mold or pests before being put into the center. There is also a CO2 tent for items that cannot be frozen.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center is located at 867 Charles Cooper Memorial Drive in Sulphur, Oklahoma. For more information call 580-622-7130.

May 28 Events:

  • Genealogy workshop
  • Session with tribal genealogy archive manager Dinah Worcester
  • Meet and greet with Chickasaw families
  • Chickasaw Press book signing
  • Meet a Chickasaw artist
  • Stomp dancing
  • Storytelling

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candyo's picture
Submitted by candyo on
I do not trust this Bill Anoatubby. My father was a member of the Chickasaw Tribe. I asked him to help me with my IIM Account several years ago and he took my certified copies and I never heard from him again! I am full-blood Native American and I believe people who are in charge of, these certain tribes exclude people who have record of being more indian blood than even there own leaders. I contacted him in 1992 and he told me I had to send him my original copies... I was deceived because he did not get back to me and he has connections to Judges of the Tribe such as Judge Reeh or "Ray" who are prejudice against people who are not in positions of power. I have census records going back to all of my ancestors which I obtained from the National Archives in Fort Worth, Texas for the Southern Plains Indians. I also, contacted Senators from my state who helped me get these papers before the US govt started destroying these documents because of the Cobell vs DOI and the Keepseagle vs USDA ever came about. I think it is certainly, a shame that these leaders of our country would be so afraid of losing their own positions of power that they try to suppress others who have traced their roots and can prove who they descended from. My father was a descendant of Benjamin Franklin Colbert who owned the Red River Bridge Company in Bryan County on the Border of Oklahoma and Texas. He also, was also the owner of the "Colberts Ferry" in Oklahoma. His son Winchester became one of the first Governors of Indian Territory. My dad was a home-builder in Oklahoma for over 50 years. I built houses for over 20 years in Oklahoma. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in Housing and Interior Design from the Architecture College in 1979. I paid for my degree on my own without any help from my Tribe. I didn't know that Tribes were helping Native Americans go to College at that time. My son just got his Civil Engineer Degree from University of South Florida. He is looking for an internship with a firm who builds "Bridges" and would like to start a Bridge Company like his ancestor who built the Red River Bridge in Oklahoma.