National Park Service Awards Tribal Heritage Grant to Chickasaw Nation

Chickasaw Tribal Heritage Grant
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, left, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area Superintendent and Chickasaw citizen Bill Wright.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Park Service (NPS) awarded $50,000 to the Chickasaw Nation to fund a project titled “Rediscovering Fala’ Cha’a’.” The project seeks to rediscover the 17th and 18th-century archaeological site of the Chickasaw town of Osak Api’ Hakshop Fala’ Cha’a’ (Chopped Shagbark Hickories) in the Chickasaw Homeland.

“We hope that this project will help to preserve, protect and interpret our cultural history and identity, and also reconnect our citizens, both elder and young, to Chickasaw heritage in the Homeland,” said Chickasaw Nation Cultural Enhancement Director Catie Hamilton. “We realize many Chickasaw people lack a connection to our cultural sites in the Homeland we were removed from 185 years ago.”  

The Chickasaw Nation’s historic Homeland includes parts of present-day northern Mississippi, northwestern Alabama, western Tennessee and southwestern Kentucky. The Homeland is essential to the Chickasaw Nation and its ongoing efforts to interpret and share Chickasaw history and culture through preserving, protecting, interpreting and reconnecting to land, waterways and vital cultural and historical sites of Chickasaw ancestors.

“One of the most exciting features of our plan is to connect our elders with our young people so that our culture and language may be passed to future generations,” said Hamilton. “Our elders will provide stories from our pre-removal past as we ask for cultural and traditional guidance in our search for the history of the Fala’ Cha’a’ settlement.”

The NPS awarded $537,005 in Tribal Heritage Grants to 11 projects across the country. These grants support the protection of First American cultures. This competitive grant program focuses on what First American communities are most concerned with protecting – oral histories, plant and animal species important in tradition, sacred and historic places, and the establishment of tribal historic preservation offices. 

“Rediscovering Fala’ Cha’a’” was funded through the Tribal Heritage Grant program under the Historic Preservation Fund, which is administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior.

“These Tribal Heritage Grants provide support for a variety of important projects that are critical to preserving unique cultural heritage and traditions for future generations,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “The National Park Service is committed to working with Indigenous communities to expand partnerships, share knowledge and connect people with the traditions of the past.”

Other projects funded by these grants will locate and identify cultural resources, preserve historic properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and support comprehensive preservation planning, preserve oral history and cultural traditions. Others will provide training for building a historic preservation program, and support cultural and historic preservation interpretation and education.