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Our Nation > Culture > Housing > Traditional Council House

Traditional Council House

The Aa-Anompoli' Chokka', or Council House, was the largest communal structure built for public assemblies and sometimes dances. The council house served as a civic and social center for the Chickasaw villages. Its name is derived from the council, or revered Chickasaw male elders, who would meet in the council house almost every day to discuss significant affairs or to make decisions on issues that came before them. Men would sit in descending order of the clans, beginning from the top on one wall and descend to the opposite wall. Women and children were allowed inside during formal councils, but had to occupy the outer ring of benches in most cases.

The center of the council house contained the sacred fire and an opening was located in the ceiling to allow smoke from the fire to pass through. Chickasaws believe the smoke carries prayers to Abaꞌ Binniꞌliꞌ, our Creator.

Dances were held inside during the fall and winter, and outside during the spring and summer.