Services > Cemetery Preservation Program

Cemetery Preservation Program

Provides cleanup, identification and documentation of abandoned Chickasaw family cemeteries within the Chickasaw Nation boundaries. A work plan is developed with the landowner that may include restoration, preservation and routine maintenance.

The approved application process helps determine the scope of the initial cleanup and condition of an abandoned family cemetery.

The program also photographs and documents headstone information and maps marked and unmarked graves using a Global Positioning System (GPS) that can be searched at the Holisso: The Center for the Study of Chickasaw History and Culture at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma. The program uses ground penetrating radar (GPR) to evaluate underground disturbances to determine possible grave locations and cemetery boundaries.

Other services include the ongoing maintenance and care of certain historical sites such as burial markers of former Chickasaw Nation Governors and elected officials or historical cemeteries. Documentation of cemeteries and sites includes detailed research of known documents, acquiring and maintaining photographs and electronically storing all attributes associated with each grave. All information is mapped and filed electronically and on paper for program records and long-term use. The program will never excavate in burial grounds.


Dorthy Rhodes Cemetery


  • Applicant must be 18 years old or older
  • Any person with knowledge about a Chickasaw cemetery may apply
  • A separate application must be submitted for each possible site
  • Landowner permission signature is required on the application
  • A cemetery cannot be operated by an organization or association where burial plots are sold for private use

Other Information

The program may provide the following with an approval application:

  • Locate, measure, map and document cemeteries and record directions to burial sites
  • Identify and determine Chickasaw persons who can be documented to be buried within the cemetery
  • Document locations of interments and record information on markers, if any, of burials
  • Clean and map the cemetery one time if interested relatives and friends agree to perform future care

Service Area

Chickasaw Nation Residents

This service is available inside the Chickasaw Nation's boundaries

Contact Information

(580) 332-8685