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Press Release

Release Date: June 29, 2017

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • Some female stomp dancers fashion their leg shakers using milk cans.

  • Men and women wearing traditional Chickasaw regalia participate in a stomp dance.

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

ADA, Okla. -- The Chickasaw Nation will host three community stomp dances at Kullihoma, near Ada. Classes are also available to help anyone interested in stomp dancing learn more about its history, culture and practice.

Stomp dances are open to the public and include traditional song and dance, food and fellowship amid the natural and historic beauty of Kullihoma.

Planned events include a dance midnight to 6 a.m., Saturday, July 15. Two more stomp dances are planned for 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., Aug. 26 and Sept. 29.

The Chickasaw Nation will offer a series of stomp dance classes 6-8 p.m. at locations in Ada and Ardmore. The classes are open to the public at no charge and dinner will be served.

An Ada class is planned for July 11 at the Ada Chickasaw Community Center, 700 N. Mississippi.

An Ardmore class is planned for July 25 at the Chickasaw Community Center, 907 Locust St.

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

LaDonna Brown, director of research and cultural interpretation for the Chickasaw Nation, explained that dances were often connected with spiritual, ritual, ceremonial or social events, such as a Spring harvest celebration or Fall festival.

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 turtle shell shaker.

Women also 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 snake dance and the raccoon dance. Each social dance has a fun and unique technique.

The snake dance, for example, has dancers hold hands while they curve and swerve much like a snake would. The snake dance is one of the oldest-known Chickasaw dances and has been passed on to successive generations. Many other Southeastern Indian tribes have their own versions of the snake dance.

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