A game of stickball, presentations on culture, as well as archeological artifacts are part of the living history that members of the Chickasaw Nation will bring to Pontotoc on September 6.
Representatives from the Chickasaw will dance, explain history, and have interactive fun with attendees, including painting children’s faces by Chickasaw clans, like deer, and bear, from 4-8 p.m. at the large pavilion at First Choice Gateway.
An official welcome by Pontotoc City Mayor Bob Peeples is set for 4:15 with the dance troupe teaching the native Chickasaw dances at 4:30, 5:20 and 7:15. A special speaking presentation by Stan Nelson on Piominko will be given at 6:45.
Piominko served Chickasaws during the 18th century. He was born about 1750 in a settlement in Mississippi. Piominko was a pre-removal chief who provided strong leadership. He acted as a diplomat in order to protect Chickasaw sovereignty. Piominko met with other southeastern tribes, governors of states and President George Washington to reach agreements that benefitted his people.
The Chickasaw Inkana Foundation, a Tupelo-based 501 (c)3 nonprofit, is helping organize and sponsor the event which will include refreshments. According to Inkana’s Senior Manager, Bret Holt, the purpose is to educate and introduce the public to Chickasaw culture.
The origins of the Chickasaw predate modern history, but some historians believe they organized as a people around 880 A.D. Legend holds that the Chickasaw emerged from the great earthwork mound Nanih Wayia, located in present day Winston County, built around 330 A.D.
Hernando DeSoto was the first European to encounter the Chickasaw, in 1540. The tribe ceded the last of their land to the United States government in the Treaty of Pontotoc in 1832, and relocated to Oklahoma.
Inkana wants eventually to build a Chickasaw heritage museum in Tupelo, Holt said, and events like the one this Friday in Pontotoc, help raise awareness about the legacy of the Chickasaw people.