Choctaw Cultural Center honored with construction award

Builders of the Choctaw Cultural Center have been honored with an award by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma at the 2021 Excellence in Construction Awards Banquet. Photo by Kelsey Brown.

Choctaw Nation
Kelsey Brown

DURANT – The unique and quality construction of the Choctaw Cultural Center has been recognized by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma. The professional organization honored the vision and efforts of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Manhattan Construction Company in the creation of the more than 100,000 square-foot facility that opened July 23, 2021 in Calera. The center tells the 14,000-year history of the Choctaw people and their enduring culture.

The award was presented at the 2021 Excellence in Construction Awards Banquet on Oct. 21, 2021 at the Osage Casino Hotel Skyline Event Center in Tulsa. The award category was Special Projects, Cultural Center. Cady Shaw, director of Curation at the Choctaw Cultural Center accepted the award on behalf of the Choctaw Nation.

Sue Folsom, tribal elder and cultural keeper, served as the initial lead on the project.

“We are very honored to receive this recognition for the construction team of this facility, which is a living, breathing, teaching, and learning part of our culture,” Folsom said. “The Choctaw Cultural Center’s architecture is conducive to being a special place where Choctaw people tell their own story,” Folsom said.

Buddy Bell, senior director of Construction at Choctaw Nation, commented on his department’s excitement to be a part of “this very unique and beautiful project.”

“This facility is unlike anything we have ever been a part of, and it has been a real honor to be involved in it,” Bell said. “Receiving the award from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma is just icing on the cake. We look forward to many years of this facility being used to teach and carry on the Choctaw people’s history and culture.”

“This project is a testament to our leadership’s commitment to the Choctaw culture and sharing our journey with the world,” said Seth Fairchild, Executive Director of Cultural Services for the Choctaw Nation. “We are thankful to everyone involved in bringing this vision to life.”

The award, a two-foot-high eagle of metal and plastic, is on display in the Orientation Gallery of the Choctaw Cultural Center. It can be seen in the same exhibit case as the shovel and a few other items used at the 2018 groundbreaking ceremony for the cultural center.

The Choctaw Cultural Center is located at 1919 Hina Hanta Way in Calera. For information, visit https://choctawculturalcenter.com.

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