Friday, April 29, 2011
By Dana Lance, Media Relations Specialist
Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office
The Holisso Research Center located at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. The Holisso Center will open May 28, 2011. Several activities are planned for opening day.
A cutting-edge research center dedicated to preserving and sharing Chickasaw Nation history is set to open May 28 at the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center, Sulphur, Okla.
"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. "It is an integral part of our effort to expand the knowledge of our tribe and share our story with the world."
As the Holisso Center opens so do opportunities for Chickasaw citizens and others to delve into Chickasaw History and Culture, said Michelle Cooke, manager of Libraries, Archives & Collections for the tribal division of History and Culture.
Designed to be a research Mecca specializing in Chickasaw and other southeastern tribes; the 20,000-square-foot building houses genealogy collections, historic maps, photo archives and historic documents. Climate and light controlled, the artifact storage protects fragile historic documents, including maps, family papers and more for future generations.
"The Holisso Center is cutting edge, a Smithsonian-caliber facility," said Cooke. "It is a one-of-a kind place for the Chickasaw Nation and Native Americans in this area."
The building includes state-of the art amenities, such as artifact storage, cold storage, a ceremonial room and a decontamination/conservation lab, a reading room, genealogy collections, seminar rooms and rare book collection area. A separate area is designated for CD's, video, photos and slides.
Patrons can don white gloves in the rare collections room and view rare books and documents and Microfilm.
"It's like putting your finger on history," said Cooke.
Glass display cases in the main library will showcase different items and artifacts each month.
Rare items selected for display during the opening include; 18th Century stoneware from the Chickasaw homelands, an antique rifle owned by Haskell Paul, Elizabeth Johnston's 1901 diary of daily life at the Emet White House, a 1906 document signed by Theodore Roosevelt, and a 1908 book about Sulphur entitled "The Lure of Indian Country-A Romance of It's Great Resort".
The Holisso Center not only serves as a vehicle to study Chickasaw history, but also has technology available to repair and preserve any damaged items. A decontamination area is utilized to further protect the artifacts. In fact, every item brought into the Holisso Center is decontaminated. For example, each item is placed in a sub-zero freezer for two days to kill any mold or pests. Any item that cannot be frozen is put in a CO2 tent.
Many of the items in the Holisso Center have been donated by Chickasaw citizens.
Donations are still accepted and once an item is added to the collection, the artifact will be safe and protected.
"Participation of the Chickasaw people is key to the ultimate success of this endeavor," said Gov. Anoatubby. "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."
The Holisso Center's primarily focus is collecting items that are important to Chickasaw history and culture, but also related to other Southeastern Native American tribes and the State of Oklahoma.
Plans also include digitizing the entire collection, so a keyword search will be possible.
"We want to digitize the collection and enable people to view the collection and read documents on-line," she said.
The facility is also home office for several Chickasaw scholars and the Chickasaw Press.
Holisso Center hours (after May 28) is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information about the Holisso Center, or to make an appointment to donate an item, please call 580-622-7130. The Chickasaw Cultural Center is located at 867 Charles Cooper Memorial Drive in Sulphur, Okla.
(Sidebar) Opening Day Events – May 28
Holisso Center opening day events include genealogy workshop, breakout session with tribal genealogy archive manager Dinah Worcester, meet and greet with Chickasaw families, Chickasaw Press book signing, meet a Chickasaw artist, stomp dancing and storytelling.