As governor of the Chickasaw Nation, it is my pleasure to say the warm welcome received during our recent visit to Tupelo brought new meaning to the phrase “there’s no place like home.”
We were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic outpouring of genuine good will and ardent support of people from Tupelo and the surrounding area.
This area, which was the homeland of the Chickasaw people for generations, always has held a special place in the heart of the Chickasaw people. It was a moving experience to see the appreciation our friends in the homeland have for the history and culture of the Chickasaw Nation.
For years, many Chickasaws have made the trip to the homeland to renew their connection with the history and culture of the Chickasaw people. It is an emotional experience to walk in the footsteps of our grandparents and see the land our ancestors called home.
Many Chickasaws who return to the homeland are inspired by the fact that so many of the people in this area exhibit a strong desire to learn more about Chickasaw history and culture.
We also were inspired and encouraged to see many of those who welcomed us to Tupelo on our most recent trip demonstrated an impressive knowledge of Chickasaw history and culture accompanied by a desire to learn even more.
It was significant our recent gathering was held in a beautiful restaurant just across the street from an impressive statue of Piomingo the people of Tupelo have placed in a position of distinction on the grounds of their City Hall.
We are honored the people of Tupelo also have declared the second Monday of October as Piomingo Day to celebrate the Chickasaw leader who was a friend and contemporary of George Washington.
This is evidence we have developed mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships with many individuals and organizations in this area.
We believe the welcome we received on our recent trip is further evidence that we will see greater things to come as we continue on our journey to expand the scope of knowledge of Chickasaw history and culture.
Our partnership with the Natchez Trace Parkway to develop a Chickasaw Heritage Center is another step on the journey to renew our relationships with the people of our homeland.
We hope to build on those relationships for generations to come because there really is no place like home.
Bill Anoatubby is governor of the Chickasaw Nation, headquartered in Ada, Okla.