MobileBooth West traveled along Oklahoma highways to record at the Chickasaw Nation in Ada, Oklahoma. Several of the conversations were recorded in Chickasaw, a language that is being revitalized in the community as classes are now offered at schools and community centers. The Chickasaw Nation’s territory includes more than 7,500 square miles of south-central Oklahoma and encompasses part of 13 counties. We made these recordings in a little whisper room at the Chickasaw multimedia center, where films and recordings are made about Chickasaw history and culture. The Chickasaw Nation is one of the largest employers in the region and through its business ventures has invested in building a successful social infrastructure for its people. The Nation provides health care, education, and means of promoting its cultural identity.
We heard stories of pecan and peanut picking on hot Oklahoma summer days, heard “Amazing Grace” sung in Chickasaw, learned the history of the local baseball tournaments, heard stories of grandparents, great-grandparents and grandchildren. We listened to traditional stories of how the jack rabbit got its ears and family stories of missing the bus and being late to class. We even tried an Ada specialty from the Chickasaw owned candy factory – chocolate covered potato chips.