Sulpher, OK Dugout
Canoes: Paddling through the Americas, a landmark exhibition
hosted at the Chickasaw Cultural Center (CCC) will extend its stay
to one full year until Sept. 27, 2015, officials announced.
Dugout Canoes was scheduled to end its appearance at the CCC
May 6, but has been so popular it will remain at the center about
five more months. It is on loan from the state of Florida.
Thousands of people have visited the exhibit and thousands more
are expected to enjoy it.
In 2000, a group of high school students from Gainesville, Florida,
discovered what is believed to be the largest treasure trove of
ancient dugout canoes ever found. Crafted by the skilled hands of
Native Americans hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of years ago,
they served the nations indigenous people in a multitude of
ways. Experts estimate the ages of some of the canoes at between
500 to 5,000 years old.
Experts look upon the dugout canoe as the proverbial pickup
truck of its day. They transported people to distant locations,
acted as a vessel to establish trading and exploration of worlds
outside tribal boundaries and carried huge loads of fur and other
trade goods to market.
On display in the exhibit is a pine dugout canoe that is hundreds
of years old. Tools to make the impressive vehicles some
dating to 600 A.D. are also on display. Chickasaw Cultural
Center authorities help guide the visitor through the process of
felling a single tree, working weeks to burn, carve and scrap the
interior and then finish the vessel so it was spacious and seaworthy.
Unfortunately, the high school class who discovered them also
discovered many of the intact canoes could not be uprooted from
their mud-caked murky graves. To extract them would mean their destruction.
Most of the 101 canoes found remain where they were discovered in
Newnans Lake. There, they are protected by centuries of silt, mud
However, remnants of many canoes removed from Newnans Lake are
displayed at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. Patrons are urged to
touch them, examine the texture and be awe-struck at how much could
be accomplished by Native Americans using only primitive tools --
some dugouts were fully constructed with stones before tribes traded
for metal tools with Europeans.
the Chickasaw Cultural Center
The Chickasaw Cultural Center is located at 867 Charles Cooper Memorial
Rd, Sulphur and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday
and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Information may be obtained by phoning 580-622-7130.
Since opening in 2010, more than 300,000 visitors have enjoyed the
center, including worldwide travelers. It is the largest single-tribe
cultural center in the nation, located on 109 acres and adjacent
to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The cultural center features
stomp dancing, crafts, cultural demonstrations and a world-class
museum with art treasures.