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News > Press Releases > Press Release

Press Release

Release Date: June 01, 2008

by Dana Hudspeth

Located within the new Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center complex in Sulphur, is the planned Center for the Study of Chickasaw History and Culture, which will be known as the "Holisso Center."

The Holisso Center, which is currently under construction, is designed to be a research Mecca, with a focus around the study of Chickasaw history, said Michelle Cooke, manager of Libraries, Archives & Collections for the Chickasaw Nation Division of History and Culture.

Cooke will oversee the Holisso Center, which will have state-of-the-art amenities, such as artifacts storage, cold storage, an intake/decontamination room on the first floor, and a library
reading room and rare book collection area on the second floor.

"The Holisso Center will be cutting edge, one of a kind," said Cooke.

The two-level building will house genealogy collections, photo archives and historic documents all in one location. The building will encompass more than 20,000 square feet.

Currently, Cooke said, different items are stored throughout the Chickasaw Nation. The Holisso Center, she said, would provide a central location for important documents, artifacts and other items.

"It will be one-of-a kind facility for the Chickasaw Nation and Native Americans in this area," she said.

The facility will serve as a home office for several Chickasaw scholars.

Climate and light controlled, the artifact storage will protect fragile and historic documents, including maps, family papers and other artifacts.

Technology will be available to repair and preserve any damaged items. A decontamination area will be utilized to further protect the artifacts.

"Curators will be able to clean and repair almost everything," she said.

A separate area will be designated for CD's, video, photos and slides.

The second level of the Holisso Center will provide many research opportunities, with a reading room and a rare collection area. Patrons will be able to "don the white gloves in the rare collections room and view very rare books and documents," Cooke said. Microfilm can also be viewed in this area.

The overall mission of the Holisso Center is to share the history and culture of the Chickasaw Nation with tribal citizens and others.

"We want to continue to share this knowledge with people," Cooke said.

The Chickasaw Nation Tribal Library in Ada will still be open, and staff members of the Division of History and Culture are working on grants to stream line the collection.

"We want to digitize the collection and enable people to view the collection and read documents on-line," she said.

A process to update library cards is in the works.

"We will no longer use social security numbers on our library cards," Cooke said.