There was what was called the 2nd Trail of Tears ... Indian people from all over were again taken from their homelands to be sent to California to work for the war effort in the shipyard of Northern CA and the manufacturing plants of Southern CA to build the airplanes and parts.
Then there was the "Dust Bowl Days" which brought so many Choctaw people from their homes in Oklahoma and Texas for a new life.
For most that mean forget your tribal ways and fit in so you would not be discriminated against. Do not teach your children the traditional ways nor the language of their people ..... and just hope that they will fit in.
First the meaning of our name "Okla Chahta" = "Choctaw People" Okla means people & Chahta means Choctaw
We are a clan or a Iksa - a family. The definition of a Clan or Iksa is a multi generational group having a shared identity, organization and property based on the belief in their decent from common ancestors.
Our Nation at one time was a united family, but at the turn of the century our lands were taken away & divided up. This had an ever-lasting changing effect on our people. We in California know, to well, the feeling of being separated from our Nation, our people, our heritage, and our history. However, we know that there is a spirit that lives on in our people, a spirit for a sense of belonging, a desire to know the old ways. We know that to survive we must hand on these old ways to each generation. One of these old ways is a value of family. Unlike today, the value of self.
Our culture is like a huge ceremonial fire that has been kicked and scattered. After 200 years we can see those scattered coals of culture, ceremonies, history, heritage, dance & language laying about.
Our job is to be coal Gatherers. to gather up these coals and blow on them to spark a flame by which to warm ourselves, to make alive again that spirit we want to live on. Each generation is given these coals, do we blow on them and keep the spirit alive or do we throw them away? As our original enrollees and Elders pass on we lose a link to the past that can never be regained.
What we need is a new set of culture bearer!
Our Vision . . . bring the Choctaw family together here in California, fan the embers in each of us to bring out the desire that has been put aside.
To be" Culture Bearers, we must have knowledge!
Like it or not it is our time to pick up the coals, and fan the flame. The intent of Okla Chahta Clan of California, Inc. is to provide a common ground for a study of heritage, history, language and ancestry of the Choctaw people. By this means we hope for a strengthening of our cultural awareness. We have established a link with Chief Gary Batton and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and we are building solidarity between the California Choctaws and the Choctaw Nation, creating a means of growth and continuing of our people. We wish to promote a sense of belonging. A sense of shared belief.
Now is the time to start gathering the coals.