Release Date: April 19, 2017
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office, Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office
Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, second from left, is joined by, from left, Congressman Tom Cole, Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel and Chickasaw National Recreation Area Superintendent Bill Wright at the Inkana Bridge dedication in Sulphur April 18.
Sulphur, Okla. – A new chapter was written in the long history between the Chickasaw Nation and Chickasaw National Recreation Area when a pedestrian bridge uniting the two entities was officially opened April 18.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby led dedication ceremonies for the Inkana Bridge, a 195-foot pedestrian bridge suspended over Rock Creek, which connects the Chickasaw Cultural Center with Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
Inkana means “friend” in the Chickasaw language.
Gov. Anoatubby said the bridge not only links the Chickasaw Cultural Center and Chickasaw National Recreation Area, but it is a symbol of the partnership among the Chickasaw Nation, National Park Service and Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
“It is fitting that this bridge should join the Chickasaw Cultural Center with the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, furthering our longstanding relationship with the park service,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “It indicates how important this relationship is, and our commitment to continue working with the National Park Service.
Constructed of steel, concrete and natural stone, the Inkana bridge spans Rock Creek, and provides visitors easy access between the two attractions.
Access points are located at Cat’s Eye Road cul-de-sac near Veteran’s Lake in CNRA and near the Traditional Village at the Chickasaw Cultural Center.
“Ultimately, having the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and the Chickasaw Cultural Center tied together is beneficial,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “It continues to enhance the tourism in this community and it furthers the goal of creating a popular destination for visitors in this county and in Sulphur.”
The bridge is joint effort between the Chickasaw Nation and the National Park Service. The partnership is highlighted in the tie beams, which combine Chickasaw spirals with the National Park arrowhead.
The bridge also is designed to exist in harmony with the natural environment and features.
National Park Established
Prior to 1900 Chickasaws recognized the natural beauty of the area and the medicinal quality of the waters.
In an effort to protect the water and other resources, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, in 1902, ceded 640 acres to the U.S. government for the purpose of creating Sulphur Springs Reservation, with the understanding that all people would have free access to the springs for all time.
Established as Platt National Park in 1906, additional acreage was added in 1976 and the area was renamed Chickasaw National Recreation Area to honor the Chickasaw people.
Chickasaw Visitor Center
Chickasaw Visitor Center, 901 W. 9th Street, Sulphur, is the result of another partnership between the two entities.
Constructed in 2014, the Visitor Center is an information hub and gateway to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. It is located at the intersection of S.H. 7 and U.S. 177, adjacent to the Artesian Hotel and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
The facility serves a wide-range of tourists, highlights local attractions and communicates the Chickasaw Nation’s connection to the area.
The story of the establishment of Platt National Park/Chickasaw Nation Recreation Area and its connection to the Chickasaw Nation is shared at the Chickasaw Visitor Center.
The Chickasaw Nation and National Park Service also share office space in the facility.
For more information about the Chickasaw Cultural Center, visit chickasawculturalcenter.com.
Last Updated: 09/16/2016