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Proposed heritage center will tell Chickasaw story

July 4, 2021 GMT

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — A heritage center focused on sharing the history and culture of the Chickasaw Nation is coming to Tupelo.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that the Chickasaw Heritage Center’s mission will be to interpret and explain the story of the Chickasaw nation from the perspective of the Chickasaw people.

The story of the Chickasaw has often been told through the lens of non-native people, said Brady Davis, the CEO of the Chickasaw Inkana Foundation.

“When I refer to the Chickasaw perspective, I want to reinforce that this facility will be unique in that it tells the Chickasaw story from their perspective,” Davis said.

The Chickasaw lived across millions of acres of land in northeast Mississippi, northwest Alabama, west Tennessee and southwest Kentucky. They were forcibly removed from their homeland, the heart of which is modern day Tupelo, by the U.S. government following the Indian Removal Act in the 1830s.

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The facility planned will house an exhibit hall, a theater, a gift shop, a cafe, a reconstructed village area and other attractions. The center is estimated to generate $6 million annually.

The foundation is seeking $16 million in state support to complete the project. The state has provided $6 million so far, according to Davis. The Chickasaw Nation will match the funds dollar-for-dollar that the state provides.

Construction on the center is tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall of 2022, and the center is tentatively scheduled to open in the early part of 2025.