Forty-two GEAR UP Juniors from McAlester High School recently traveled to the Choctaw Cultural Center in Durant, OK. Upon arriving students were greeted by the friendly staff. Wade Bohanon, the Coordinator of Special Events welcomed the students. The tour began with students being led on a guided tour through the facility.
On the tour the students heard about ways that the Choctaw tribe hunted rabbit and small game over the years. Students were able to throw mallets at small stuffed animals to get the feel of how they hunted for food. Students were then led through the Mississippi home lands were they were able to see, smell and hear what it was like to be in an early Choctaw home stead. The next stop on the tour was the tour was the Hall of Treaties. This hall showed all the different treaties that has been signed to maintain peace with the government during the early times of America. The tour ended in the Oklahoma section of the center. This room had many of the different stories of the Choctaws being in Oklahoma as well as having a replica of Choctaw churches and boarding houses. GEAR UP students were given time to walk around and explore the Oklahoma room.
At the end of the tour students were taken to the restaurant where they were treated to an Indian Taco Bar. Students were able to enjoy authentic Indian Tacos and build them to their liking. After lunch students were taken outside where the employees of the Choctaw Cultural Center put on a presentation of an authentic Stickball game.
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program. Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant in 2017 and will serve more than 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.