Renderings of the Chickasaw Heritage Center and map of the area to be constructed in Tupelo, Mississippi.

TUPELO, Miss. – Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby led groundbreaking ceremonies June 26 to kick off construction of the Chickasaw Heritage Center located within the tribe’s historic Homeland in Mississippi.

“We gather to commemorate what I consider to be a monumental leap forward in the Chickasaws’ ability to preserve and promote our culture and to share it with the world,” Governor Anoatubby said. “The future of the Chickasaw Heritage Center will be many things to many people, but for us, as Chickasaws, it is the next step forward in the realization of our vision to be a Nation of successful and united people with a strong cultural identity.”

Upon completion, the Chickasaw Heritage Center (CHC) will be the largest and most advanced educational experience in northeast Mississippi, sharing accurate accounts of Chickasaw history and culture from a uniquely Chickasaw perspective. Visitors to the CHC can learn about the tribe’s history in the Homeland from prehistoric times to 1837, prior to the tribe’s forced Removal to Indian Territory, located in present-day Oklahoma. Tribal traditions, experiences and the enduring spirit of the Chickasaw people will be on full display at the CHC.

“As we break ground today, let us remember the significance of this moment,” said Chickasaw Inkana Foundation CEO Brady Davis. “It will not be just a heritage center, but a vibrant hub for preserving and sharing the rich tapestry of Chickasaw history and culture in the historic Homeland.”

The 162-acre campus will contain a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art exhibit hall, theater, café, art gallery, administrative offices, gift shop, multi-purpose room and playground, as well as collections areas. Dedicated to providing an immersive interactive educational experience, the exhibit hall will be a state-of-the-art interpretative space highlighting Chickasaw history and culture.  The exhibit will include an opportunity for visitors to learn about the Chickasaw people today. Walking trails will directly connect the campus to the Natchez Trace Parkway’s National Scenic Trail under an agreement with the National Park Service.

A project of the Chickasaw Inkana Foundation, the Chickasaw Heritage Center represents a significant, collaborative effort and investment by multiple entities, including the state of Mississippi; Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau; city of Tupelo; individual donors, small businesses and regional foundations; and the Chickasaw Nation.

“An important aspect of this heritage center is the collaboration it continues to make possible. Partnerships are imperative in reaching our shared goals. We are very thankful for everyone that has been involved in this project from the very beginning until now,” Governor Anoatubby said. “Together, we are building something real and powerful, enduring and important.”

The Chickasaw Heritage Center is expected to enhance cultural heritage tourism and spur economic growth in the area. Located along the Natchez Trace Parkway near its intersections with the major transportation corridors of U.S. Interstate 22, Mississippi Highway 6 and U.S. Highway 45, it will strengthen community partnerships with regional schools, museums and other historical attractions.

Upon competition in 2026 the estimated economic impact of the Chickasaw Heritage Center will be $5.6-$6 million, with 100,000 visitors or more expected annually and offering at least 25 permanent jobs in the area, with potential for more in the future. Local contractors will be hired for construction.

Several ecological restoration projects will be housed at the Chickasaw Heritage Center, where the National Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and Chickasaw Inkana Foundation will focus on restoring the Blackland Prairie habitat, an endangered ecological zone originally spanning from Tennessee through Mississippi and Alabama.