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Press Release

Release Date: October 04, 2006
Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

A book signing was held December 14th at the Chesapeake Event Center at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. Governor Anoatubby joined photographer David G. Fitzgerald and author Jeannie Barbour to autograph copies of "Chickasaw: Unconquered and Unconquerable".

Telling the story of a single person through the pages of a book is a daunting task. Conveying the story of a people through text and images in a single volume seems almost insurmountable. Nevertheless, the dozens of individuals involved in creating “Chickasaw: Unconquered and Unconquerable” have achieved a level of success even they might not have imagined. Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, said, “Readers will experience a story of survival, persistence, history and culture of a people not only determined to survive, but to prosper and build successful and meaningful lives.”

From cover to cover, this carefully crafted tome allows the reader to experience at least some of what it means to be Chickasaw. Cover images of a Chickasaw family provide a metaphor for the journey of a people. Married couple Malcolm and Kara Smith who model an eighteenth century Chickasaw couple on the front cover, also appear on the back, joined by their daughter Neveah. While the change in culture is evidenced by the lack of traditional face paint on the couple in the latter photo, the eyes in both images provide a window to the unchanging resolve and indomitable spirit of Chickasaw people.

Their daughter, who seems to symbolize a new generation of hope, exhibits the same characteristics.

As one turns the pages of this beautiful work of art the photographs and essays transport the reader into the land, life, culture and mind of the Chickasaw. Photos of the homelands accomplish more than merely enabling the viewer to get a glimpse of the beauty of rich vegetation, old growth forests and rolling landscapes. These beautiful images are coupled with expressive text which helps the reader feel the emotional connection between the Chickasaw people and the land they refer to as the “gift given by the creator.” Similarly, the prose and images describing the rebuilding of a nation allow the reader to undergo the same emotions many Chickasaws may have experienced as they moved from sorrow borne of loss to hope for a new tomorrow as part of the greater community.

Understanding this much of the journey is essential in understanding the cultural identity of a Chickasaw. “A person cannot travel the journey of life without first understanding where he or she has come from or why he or she is moving forward,” writes Jeannie Barbour in the section entitled “Our Fire.” Even non-Chickasaws learning of the tribal culture of caring for others and the long-standing tradition of adoption may begin to feel a part of the Chickasaw family

“The Chickasaw Nation Today” and “Chickasaw Portraits” seem to draw the reader even closer. Images of people, places and events in the modern Chickasaw Nation are accompanied by textual confirmation that the tradition of close-knit community remains intact. Portraits of Chickasaw elders, men, women, teens and children complete the journey for the reader who comes to realize these people really possess what Gov. Anoatubby calls an “intangible element” which makes the Chickasaw people “unconquered and unconquerable.”