October 22, 2013
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is celebrating the newly renovated Tourism Information Center at Colbert with a ribbon cutting 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, and a day of cultural activities. The Nation assumed operation of the facility, one of Oklahoma’s busiest, on July 1 under a five-year contract with the state.
“We are excited about the opportunity to share the Choctaw heritage with so many people,” said Chief Gregory E. Pyle. “There is an opportunity to educate thousands of people a day about Oklahoma and the Choctaw Nation.”
Activities scheduled for the grand opening include Choctaw pottery and basket making demonstrations, traditional weaponry, flutes, clothing, music and social dancing. Visitors will also be able to sample traditional Choctaw food.
One-of-a-kind art and cultural items made by Choctaw artisans and members of other Native tribes will be displayed and available for purchase inside the center. Everything in the store will have either a Native American influence or be representative of the state of Oklahoma. Many local artists have submitted their work.
The Nation has added two personnel to work with the original staff and manage the tourism store. Items for purchase at the center will also be available online at choctawstore.com.
The tourism center will remain a rest stop for drivers crossing into Oklahoma on Hwy. 69/75. Located just north of the Red River bridge, the facility remains a popular place to take a break, grab a cup of coffee and a snack. A cultural area is being added outdoors with a Choctaw chukka (house) and a brush arbor. Travelers will also be able to walk their pets in the new dog park. The center offers numerous maps, brochures and tourism information about Oklahoma and is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.