Press Release

Release Date: May 31, 2018

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office



  • The Chickasaw Nation has planned multiple classes for June, open to the public at no charge, to teach the process of crafting women’s stomp dance shakers.

  • A line of dancers wearing turtle shell shakers rest their feet during a stomp dance event.

  • A woman enhances the rhythm of the stomp dance using turtle shell shakers on her legs.

ADA, Okla. -- The Chickasaw Nation will offer five community stomp dance can making classes open to the public at no charge 6-8 p.m. June 1, 7, 11, 19 and 25 at the Ada Chickasaw Nation Community Center, 700 N. Mississippi.

The focus for these classes will be on creating women’s shaker cans, used to create rhythm and percussion during dances.

Public stomp dances are also planned 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., June 9, Aug. 25 and Sept. 28 at Kullihoma. For July 21, a stomp dance is planned from midnight to 6 a.m. at Kullihoma. Dances will include traditional song and dance, food and fellowship.

Stomp dancing has deep roots in the Chickasaw culture, as it does with most southeastern tribes.

There are still different dances for various occasions. The Chickasaws remember their dances for their spiritual nature, yet they have become mainly social today. No matter the type of dancing, it is always an opportunity to come together as a community.

Men sing stomp dance songs in a call-and-answer format, following a male song leader, who often sets the dance rhythm using a handheld shaker made of materials like the horn of a bull or turtle shell.

Women enhance the rhythms with shakers worn on their legs. These shakers are often made of turtle shells, deer toes or milk cans.

Social dances often have animal-themed names, like the gar fish dance and the raccoon dance. Each social dance has a fun and unique technique.

The gar fish dance, for example, has dancers line up, alternating male-female, into a circle formation. Dancers move in one big, continuous rotation. When the song leader signals, partners rotate each other. These spins inside of a larger rotation are like the waves a gar fish would make in the water.

Kullihoma is located 7 miles northeast of Ada on state Highway 1. Watch for the Kullihoma exit signs.

Registration is not required to join stomp dance classes, but it is appreciated. Contact the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Resources Department at 580-622-7140 to register or for more information about the Kullihoma stomp dances.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016