ADA — The  Chickasaw Nation today unveiled Chickasaw.tv, a high-definition, video-rich online network intended to increase knowledge, awareness and appreciation of the tribe and its people.  Located at www.Chickasaw.tv, the network, the first of its type by a Native American tribe, involved hundreds of interviews with tribal officials, historians, artists and elders and contains a library of more than 1,200 videos.  

“While the Chickasaw Nation is headquartered in Oklahoma, our members are scattered across the U.S. and around the world,” said Gov. Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation.  “Our intention with this project was to create a repository – a digital Smithsonian, if you will – to document our culture, legacy and traditions for future generations.  It will allow Chickasaws, no matter where they live, to connect with our rich history, experience the pride that comes from being Chickasaw and discover the many opportunities available to them through our programs and services.  Beyond that, we hope that Chickasaw.tv will help the general public become better acquainted with the long and storied history of our nation.”  

Chickasaw.tv contains nine different channels of programming including:  Arts & Humanities, Commerce, Destinations, Government, History & Culture, and People.  Videos are grouped under subheadings on each channel.  For example, History & Culture videos can be searched by topic, era or interviewee.  Special features include the “Unconquerable” series on the People Channel.  Hosted by Okla. State Rep. Lisa Johnson Billy, the series profiles tribe members who embody the spirit of the Chickasaw Nation.  

“With a flourishing arts movement, a booming business sector and the recent opening of the Chickasaw Cultural Center and Chickasaw Press, the Chickasaws are experiencing a renaissance,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.   “This innovative project will serve to strengthen the unique identity of the tribe and raise awareness of the Chickasaw as a progressive, sovereign nation.  Chickasaw.tv is especially remarkable since it tells the story of the Chickasaw through the eyes of tribe members themselves.” 

Under theleadership of  Anoatubby, the Chickasaw Nation decided in 2010 to create Chickasaw.tv, an initiative unparalleled in scope among tribal nations in the United States.  The design and development of the network and its content took nine months and involved more than 100 people, hundreds of hours of HD footage, 135 interviews and travel to the Chickasaw homelands in northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama.  The network is powered by a proprietary online delivery system for real-time news and video content.

“Given the growing preference for consuming media online – in video form versus text – Gov. Anoatubby was very early to embrace video channels as a tool for education and outreach,” said Jeanette Elliott, Ackerman McQueen executive vice president of creative services.   “The tribe’s fascinating history, vibrant modern culture and trusted sovereign government make the Chickasaw a beacon for their members around the world and for other tribal nations. The Chickasaw.tv network makes evidence of their talent and potential accessible, 24/7, world-wide.”

Video teams spanned the U.S. to capture footage, ranging from the Moundville Museum near Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Chickasaw village sites and the Natchez Trace in Mississippi and today’s Chickasaw Nation in south-central Oklahoma. Interviewees include many notable Chickasaw Indians discussing their heritage and its influence on them, among them:  U.S. Rep. Tom Cole; John Herrington, NASA astronaut and the first Native American in space; Tom Love, CEO of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores; and renowned Oklahoma painter Mike Larsen.  Tribal historians and anthropologists complete the picture by bringing to life the Chickasaw spirit of determination and ability to overcome hardship. 

“Being a Chickasaw is a defining part of my identity,” said Neal McCaleb, chairman of Chickasaw Nation Industries and former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs.  “Our tribal values and culture have shaped my outlook on life.  I was delighted to participate in Chickasaw.tv and see it as a vital resource for tribe members looking to reconnect with their heritage, as well as for anyone interested in learning about the diverse membership and rich traditions of our people.” 

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