Choctaw Traditional Arts
To the right is a traditional Choctaw clay cooking pot. It was made from hand-dug clay, mixed with burned, crushed freshwater mussel shells to keep it from cracking. It was shaped by hand into a specific style that was being used by Choctaw people at the time of European contact. It was fired to between 1000 and 1200 degrees in a open bonfire using only the human senses to gauge the temperature. Now, it is used for cooking foods right on top of the fire, like the blackberry dumplings pictured here.
Choctaw traditional art comes out of a relationship with the land that goes back 500 generations. This art is beautiful, functional, and sustainable, and it connects inseparably with Choctaw traditional culture, language, and community. Ian and Amy make Choctaw pottery, stone arrowheads, knife blades, ground stone axes, bows, arrows, blowguns, traditional buckskin, and traditional clothing. Partnering with Choctaw Nation, they have given dozens of presentations and taught hundreds of traditional arts classes. Now, some of the students have become teachers.
Like food, traditional arts are one of our most direct connections with the landscape. Working with the community to revitalize sleeping Choctaw traditional arts is one part of the mission of the Nan Awaya Heritage Farmstead. Posts under this heading convey information about Choctaw traditional art and traditional art revitalization projects.