TUPELO, Miss. — The Chickasaw Nation is partnering with the Natchez Trace Parkway to develop a heritage center in Tupelo, Miss.
The center will be at the current Chickasaw Village site on the parkway near the McCullough Boulevard exit. The goal is to build replicas of historical Chickasaw living quarters, among other interpretive exhibits both indoor and outdoor.
Chickasaw Village is an important cultural site to the tribe.
The new center also will have interpretive information about the Blackland Prairie, which is a unique natural habitat that is home to more than 400 plant species, according to Lisa McInnis of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
“It will make the site come alive,” said Chris Smith, a cultural resource specialist for the parkway. “We'll be able to give the public a better look about being a Chickasaw in the 1700s.”
The Chickasaw Nation has an interpretive center in Sulphur.
Parkway officials say they plan to use the Oklahoma center as a model of what could be built on a smaller scale in Tupelo.
Exhibits at the Oklahoma center include a long hallway known as the “Removal” exhibit, which uses interactive elements to tell the story of the Trail of Tears — the forced movement of the Chickasaws and other tribes from their southeastern homelands to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma in the 1830s.