Preserving history and culture.
It’s what two Chickasaw Nation Members hope to do with their new art exhibition.
The exhibition is currently being displayed at Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, Ok. It shows ancient and more modern textiles and brings the Chickasaw heritage to life.
Tyra Shackleford and Margaret Roach Wheeler are two Chickasaw textile artists who use vastly different weaving techniques in their work.
“This piece I did with a technique called sprang,” Shackleford said. “It’s an ancient weaving technique that you can find all over the world but Native Americans also used it prior to European contact.”
For 25 years of Wheeler’s career, she said tribes other than Chickasaw, played a role in her art.
“I was lucky enough to be brought up by a mother and father. My father was in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and we traveled,” Wheeler said. “We were in Indian schools all over the United States and so I was always with other tribes, absorbing that culture.”
Both Wheeler and Shackleford said each technique is unique and important work that needs to be shared for generations to come.
“I have college students coming in and one young Chickasaw woman who is still in college is coming in and it’s such a gift to be able to share that knowledge,” Wheeler said.
Shackleford said, “Something like preserving these techniques is something we almost lost but those are things that make us unique as a people and are part of our culture.”
With each piece of art, Shackleford and Wheeler are keeping their culture alive.
You can see these beautiful pieces of art for yourself.
The exhibition will be showcased until May 19.