TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Earlier this month, the National Park Service and the Chickasaw Nation began their environmental assessment of the site where they plan to build the Chickasaw Museum and Cultural Center.
That assessment includes gathering public opinion, which they did during a meeting Wednesday at the Parkway Visitors Center in Tupelo.
"It's important for us to hear what people have to say because that helps us refine the design and find out what is most beneficial for the public and to help educate the public on the Chickasaw Nation and the Natchez Trace Parkway," said Dale Wilkerson, the acting superintendent of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The plan calls for the center to be located four miles south of the Parkway Visitor Center on what is now the Chickasaw Village site.
It would join a center in Oklahoma.
"This will be more of that story but a lot more of the unique elements of the things that happened here in terms of the cultural interaction with other tribes, European colonists, early Americans and the story of removal from this area to Oklahoma. And there is a lot to tell with that story," said Brad Prewitt, a Chickasaw Nation representative.
Robert Perry, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, was in attendance and believes that this center will further educate those unaware of Chickasaw history in Mississippi.
"It's going to be kind of a gateway for the Chickasaws to work with other community groups who are interested in trying to get the real living history," said Perry.
He added that a lot has changed for the Chickasaw Nation and that it can be an example to others.
"From the Chickasaw's viewpoint, we are probably the richest tribe in America. Fifty years ago, we had nothing. And that can be a role model for a lot of tribes and a lot of state governments," said Perry.
Another meeting seeking public input will be held February 5 at the Chickasaw Nation Headquarters in Oklahoma.