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CIF Hosts Wreath Laying Ceremony Honoring Piominko
On Monday, October 11, 2021, the Chickasaw Inkana Foundation (CIF) partnered with the Rotary Club of Tupelo and The Mary Stuart Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to host an event honoring the life and legacy of distinguished Chickasaw leader and diplomat, Piominko. The event was held at Fairpark in front of City Hall in Tupelo, Mississippi. Over 125 people were in attendance for the event including representatives from the state of Mississippi, the city of Tupelo, partner organizations and the general public.
The event began at 1:00 P.M. with a welcome from Mr. Robert Parker, Director of the Chickasaw Heritage Center. This was followed by a moment of silence and a traditional prayer led by Choctaw Elder Deacon Williamson Isaac. Next, the Mystic Wind dancers provided a demonstration of traditional Choctaw Social Dances. The Choctaw presence added a significant interpretive element to the celebration by providing examples of social dances and singing traditional hymns throughout the course of the celebration. After the dance demonstration, Mr. Greg Pirkle, former president of Tupelo Rotary and Chickasaw Inkana Foundation board member, briefly spoke on the significance of Piominko’s legacy for both the Chickasaw Nation and the city of Tupelo, and expressed Rotary’s honor in leading the project which placed the Piominko sculpture outside of City Hall in 2005. He was followed by Ms. Patricia Miller, President of the Mary Stuart Chapter of the DAR who reiterated the deep connections Piominko has to both the Chickasaw people and the early history of the United States, and expressed how honored she and the DAR were to be able to participate in such an important event.
Tupelo Mayor Todd Jordan then offered brief remarks noting that he was honored to issue the Proclamation at the last Tupelo City Council meeting declaring October 11, 2021 as Piominko Day in the City of Tupelo. He also thanked the Chickasaw Inkana Foundation and its partners for hosting the event and raising public awareness of Piominko and the Chickasaw people who played such a significant role in the history of present day Tupelo and northeast Mississippi. Following the mayor’s brief remarks, the crowd listened to Mystic Wind, along with Choctaw Elders singing “Amazing Grace,” and “May the Circle be Unbroken,” in Choctaw. Following the hymns, Chickasaw Inkana Foundation CEO, Brady Davis, spoke briefly on the mission of CIF, the mayors Proclamation and the importance of understanding the lasting legacy of Piominko. Speaking after the event, Ms. Susie Dent, a member of both CIF and the DAR, said, “[Chickasaw] Inkana did an outstanding job of educating our community in learning about Piominko. The ladies of the DAR especially enjoyed the Choctaw dancers and the hymns sung using Choctaw language.”
Following Ms. Dent’s remarks, Tupelo City Council President, Buddy Palmer read the Proclamation to those in attendance. Palmer later remarked, “This is an important day, and I am honored to be a part of this very important event honoring the Chickasaw leader, Piominko. This is something we need to keep doing and hopefully it will encourage people to learn more about the history of our area.” Following the reading of the proclamation, as the Choctaw sang traditional hymns, the event culminated with the ceremonial laying of the wreath at the base of the Piominko sculpture in front of City Hall by the foundation’s CEO Brady Davis and Chickasaw Elder, Mr. Robert Perry.