Tyra Shackleford is a Chickasaw textile artist who specializes in techniques predating European contact, such as finger weaving, twining and sprang. When she was starting out, she was unable to learn from a Chickasaw and had to find a Seminole elder who could teach her. Now she is determined that young Chickasaws should never have to face that same problem and can learn from her how to create beautiful textile artworks using the traditional methods.
Chickasaw textile artist Sara Herrera continues the tradition of her ancestors, creating beautiful twine bags on a loom by hand. "Someone is always needing something to carry," Sara says. "The Chickasaw women would make the bags for the guys because the guys would go hunting or they would travel and so they needed something to carry their tools and extra arrowheads." Twining a bag takes Sara three to four months and the designs and colors come to her as she's working.
Chickasaw weaver Cotie Lancaster demonstrates her process of creating woven belts and mats using various types of looms. Through weaving, Cotie says, she channels the love of her grandmother and feels like she's keeping her spirit alive through each new piece. It was her experiences at the Chickasaw Cultural Center that really turned her on to the craft; weaving was a staple of Chickasaw families for generations, she says, and she’s hopeful for a cultural return to the Nation's roots.