Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bubbling Up: Deep, Dark and Mysterious

Myakka Flood, oil over egg tempera by Fran Hardy copyright
Private Collection, Deland, Florida

I have been talking to various contacts in Florida about doing a series of documentaries about other regions of Florida besides south Florida which we already did for the Creative-Native Project series. The south Florida documentary aired on PBS stations, FEC-TV nationally and at museums and botanical gardens.
It has reignited my excitement about the not so well known fabulous, otherworldy jungles and swamps of central and northern Florida that inspired me when I lived there. 
Florida has magical bubbling springs hidden away like jewels in the forest. I am going to tell you about some of them today. I want to do installations for the exhibitions that will accompany the documentaries as we are doing in Oklahoma in conjunction with the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. My contribution would focus on the luminous springs which I can envision in oil over egg tempera and the ancient trees.
I found this great website about Florida's springs.
Many unique tours and events, like the famous mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs, have attracted visitors from around the world for years. © Wes Skiles
  Photo courtesy of Wes Skiles copyright,

This is Weeki Wachee, which is a tourist attraction that I loved as a child with it's underwater mermaid show in this very deep crystalline spring that I always clamored to visit when we went to Florida.
Now I am attracted to the springs that hide deep in the Florida jungle, not as part of a tourist attraction. Visiting these springs especially off-season gives one a sense of the primordial before man put his hand on the land.
These are some wonderful aerial shots of Florida springs and also talks about the threats and degradation that has imperiled these amazing springs.

The Ocala National Forest lies between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers in Central Florida. In descending order of land area it is located in parts of Marion,LakePutnam, and Seminole counties.
The Ocala National Forest receives more visitors than any other national forest in the Sunshine State. Millions annually visit the forest, which is one of Central Florida's last remaining traces of forested land. The Ocala National Forest contains a high proportion of remaining Florida Scrub habitat and is noted for its Sand Pine scrub ecosystem. The forest contains the largest concentration of sand pine in the world as well as some of the best remaining stands ofLongleaf Pine in Central Florida. The forest’s porous sands and largely undeveloped character provide an important recharge for the Floridan Aquifer. TheRodman Reservoir system forms most of the northern and north western border as part of the Ocklawaha River Basin.
The Ocala Forest is also known for having over 600 natural lakes and ponds. The forest is riddled with slow-moving rivers and wet "prairies". They are sunny, shallow expanses of water, usually ringed by cypress trees and filled water lilies and other with aquatic plants. Between the river boundaries of this Forest lie central highlands, coastal lowlands, swampssprings and hundreds of lakes and ponds.

The Ocala National Forest in central Florida contains a number of springs and rivers. I have never visited it except to drive through. I look forward to getting into the forest and exploring the springs and trails. Florida, unlike the majestic vistas of the west where I live now, is a place that one has to get out and explore close-up to truly appreciate it's beauty.
Alexander Springs Canoeing
Photo and text by Michael Warren
"You won’t be the first to discover the delightful swimming hole at Alexander Springs. People have been enjoying this idyllic and refreshing spring form at least 10,000 years. Its ancient residents, the Timucuan Indians, enjoyed the springs for the same reason people go today: “It was a place where they would go swimming and recreate,” said ranger Jim Thorsen.
Alexander is one of Florida’s 27 “first-magnitude” springs, each of which produce mor than 64.6 million gallons of water a day. (Nearby Silver Glen Springs is another, along with Manatee Springs near Chiefland.) Alexander Springs (ranked 23rd) discharges 80 million gallons a day, according to Thorsen."
Silver Glen Springs
Photo and text by Michael Warren
'If you can manage to get the place to yourself — and it is possible, but not on busy weekends or holidays — there are few better places to enjoy the unspoiled beauty of Ocala National Forest than Silver Glen Springs.
From the comfortable lawn surrounding the spring, under a gentle shade of Spanish moss, you can watch the spring boil up silently from the Florida Aquifer. Seventy-two million gallons a day erupt from the spring and spread out into a transparent underwater meadow teeming with fish. The limestone pool, about 200 feet across, is the color of pale emeralds, accented by abstract swaths of water grass.
Manatee Springs  below is in northern Florida along the spectacular Suwannee River.'
Manatee Springs
"When naturalist William Bartram visited Manatee Springs in the  late 1700s, he said the place was astonishing: “This charming nymphaeum is the product of primitive nature, not to be imitated, much less equaled, by the united effort of human power and ingenuity!”
Two centuries later, much of that beauty remains. “Two hundred years is not very long for nature” said Bill Maphis, who was the park manager. “The same basic features are here, with the exception of the concrete to provide the visitor access to the water.”
The West Indian Manatees, after which the park was named, are frequent visitors, with more than a hundred manatee sightings per year.
Manatee Springs “is the first feeding station on the Suwannee River. The manatees come 23 miles inland from the gulf, and this is the first warm spring with a food supply,” Maphis said. Tannic acid, which darkens the Suwannee for much of the year, stunts the growth of the aquatic plants on which the manatee feed, he says. The result is that by the time the manatees reach the spring, they need the food and the rest.
When manatees enter the swimming area, people are asked to leave the water. “The animal is not dangerous to people, but if people were to stay in the area, the animal would learn bad habits,” Maphis said. A similar policy is in place atBlue Spring State Park. (But read here for information on manatee swimming tours.)"
More magical springs in upcoming blogs.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Another Step Forward

Yesterday we signed papers with Earthcare International based here in Santa Fe for them to act as our fiscal sponsor for us to go after grant monies in New Mexico. We need a 501c3 New Mexico non-profit organization to act as a conduit for the money we raise to do our Creative-Native Project in New Mexico. To read more about Earthcare go to
In their words:
Earth Care is a leader in advocating for young people’s voices and contributions in decision-making about our community’s future. With young people, we are ensuring that communities develop in harmony with the natural world and local cultures.
Earth Care’s framework and set of programs are based on a decade of work with young people, schools, and communities in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico. While the principles of our work are universal, we are informed and formed by the unique assets and challenges of this diverse southwest high desert community.
Earth Care offers youth leadership institutes; civic engagement and advocacy opportunities for youth; service-learning projects; professional development and educational materials for teachers; consulting services in sustainability education to K-12 schools; an annual Resource Guide; urban agriculture programs; and training and internship placements for young professionals.
Earth Care’s work has been recognized by numerous organizations including Leadership Santa Fe, E-Town, and NM Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. Others who have endorsed our work include Peter Senge, Paul Hawken, Michael Meade and most importantly, the many local young people who stay involved with Earth Care and sustainability efforts for many years.
Earth Care was cofounded in 2001 by Taylor and Christina Selby, young social entrepreneurs themselves at the time. It is located on the southwest side of Santa Fe.
Earth Care’s websites offer resources for sustainable living and educating for youth, teachers, and community members at large, including essays by leading writers and experts published in past and current issues of the Sustainable Santa Fe Guide, educational guides and materials, and inspiring stories of youth, schools, communities and organizations across New Mexico and the world that are engaged in this vital work.

We appreciate their willingness to work with us and feel that their mission is a good fit with ours while being different enough to make us compatible for our New Mexico project.  There is much more about the variety of projects Earthcare is involved in on their website and they also publish Sustainable Santa Fe which those of you who live in Santa Fe will have seen all over town. It contains extensive information on all aspects of sustainability around New Mexico and  especially Santa Fe.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Moving Forward

Rourke McDermott and I discuss his work in Valle Caldera as a Landscape Architect.
We are in the History Grove which I will talk about in an upcoming blog.

We are hard at work on our documentary on Oklahoma for the Creative-Native Project. In the meantime I am laying the groundwork for shows in other regions of the United States. I have been talking with the Florida Arts Council and the Division of Cultural Affairs about doing shows on central Florida and northern Florida. Each of the regions in Florida is so different and diverse, so this will be very exciting. Because of my four museum shows and traveling exhibitions in Florida and a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, they are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about my work as an artist and this project.
We have also been talking to Jenise Gharib who is the New Mexico Program Coordinator for Arts in Social Services, Art Learning in Schools and local Arts Councils. She has been invaluable with her advice on how to present our project to the New Mexico Arts Council and has been very encouraging about the value of our documentary and adjunct projects for New Mexico. We will be meeting with Earthcare tomorrow to sign a 501c3 agreement so we can go forward with applying for New Mexico Arts Council grants money this fall. We have already received a very generous donation from two individuals who are enthusiastic about our project and this is a heartening start as we will need to have matching funds if we receive NM Arts Council funds. In the meantime I thought that you would be interested in the next series of blog posts to hear about some of the creative individuals we will be interviewing and the locations we will visit pertaining to art, creativity, mentoring, cultural preservation and ecological sustainability in New Mexico. I also welcome any suggestions of people or places that you think would pertain. It can be very hard to hone it down as we interviewed and went to about 19 different places in Oklahoma and Bob is finding it a real challenge to edit down all the footage. I am very impressed with what he is doing.
You can see a seven and 1/2 minute presentation we did for the New Mexico Arts Council at
I will be talking about more of the places and people we will visit in upcoming blog posts to 'whet your appetite'. I love doing the research for these shows and it allows me to pursue my passion for art, nature, science and the potential for social change. We really want to inspire and show what each of us as individuals can do to feel empowered to support the native and natural in the regions where we live.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Extreme Weather

I'm back after taking a blog vacation for a trip to New Jersey to visit family. We arrived there from New Mexico's heat and wildfires to a heat wave and unbearable humidity for those of us used to the high desert dryness. I love the deep green back east but the humidity and high heat made me want to hide in the air conditioned motel and not come out.  I will say that Madison where I grew up, has wonderful ancient trees which I will be painting when I finish all my Oklahoma installations that will be part of the group show I am curating at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The show will contain my work and the work of other creative individuals we interviewed for our documentary on Oklahoma for the Creative-Native Project.
You can see some clips of our shows and learn more about them at our website as well as reading earlier blogs on this blogspot. I will post my installations in progress and completed on this blog also.

I usually love summer in New Mexico. But I have been miserable this summer and the smoke from the fires coupled with the record breaking heat have made me wish I was anywhere else until I went back east. By now we are usually having more monsoon rains and cooler weather. So all this complaining brings me to today's topic: Extreme Weather and an interview I heard this morning on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. To hear the full and fascinating interview go to this link for the July 25th, Monday show and hear Terry interview Heidi Cullen, a climate change researcher.
She has written the book 'The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet'. It really struck home for me experiencing these two places, one where I  now live and one where I grew up. This is just a taste of what we will be experiencing in our futures with weather I find unbearable. Usually I find it hard to listen to interviews on this topic because I find so disturbing, but I was totally engaged in this interview. Heidi Cullen is so knowledgeable and presents the story in such a compelling fashion with lots of research to back it up and a dose of hope for what we can do to help the situation.
Pollution from smoke stacks created by a coal fired enery plant across ...

This is from Subhankar Banerjee and his Climate Storytellers and speaks of our state of New Mexico a place which is so rich in sunshine and wind for alternative energy. Our state could establish itself as a leader in solar power. Heidi Cullen said on Fresh Air that 100 miles of solar in the Four Corners Region could power our whole country. But now the proposed 80% reduction in emissions from the Four Corners Coal Plant have been rolled back to 20%.
If PNM isn't going to take the lead, I thought once more of investigating our own solar system on our house and hoping that it will become more and more affordable for homeowners to generate their own power. I was surprised how many homes and public buildings in New Jersey had installed large photovoltaic arrays on their roofs since I was there about three years ago. And New Jersey has gray winters unlike our sunny ones in New Mexico.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Artist's Process: The Sycamore from Oklahoma in progress revisited

Above is a link to the first blog I did on this sycamore drawn in colored pencil on acrylic ground on panel, in process and still not completed. And the picture above shows where it is now in its development. Some artists don't like people to see their work in progress especially in person in the studio. I guess it interrupts their flow or they don't want any comments to influence them. My process involves such a long time drawing each little detail of bark in my trees getting lost in the abstraction and texture and is so internal and compulsive that I don't mind visitors although I really don't want feedback on a work in process or a completed work (unless it is praise, honestly) except from my husband Bob who is my dear and valued critic. Sometimes he sees things that I miss having looked at it for over a month of it's evolution and his eye for lighting through his film work has really influenced me. This piece will have a lot more drama and chiaroscuro when it is complete and I will be posting it in the next few weeks. Below are some details of the bark and limbs in progress. My friend Robbie Douglas also a painter turned me on to Kilz instead of gesso. It makes an excellent durable sealer and then I tint Golden Absorbent ground for the acrylic ground as the next layer to draw on. I welcome any artists who read this blog to comment and talk about their process how it differs, or is similar to mine. We are fascinated to explore creative minds of all kinds in our Creative-Native Project series of documentaries.

Chiaroscuro (English pronunciation: /kiˌɑːrəˈskjʊər/Italian: [kjarosˈkuːro] "light-dark") in art is characterized by strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. It is also a technical term used by artists and art historians for using contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects such as the human body.


Origin in the chiaroscuro drawing

Chiaroscuro originated during the Renaissance as drawing on coloured paper, where the artist worked from the paper's base tone towards light using white gouache, and towards dark using ink, bodycolour orwatercolour.[1][2] These in turn drew on traditions in illuminated manuscripts, going back to late Roman Imperial manuscripts on purple-dyed vellum. Chiaroscuro woodcuts began as imitations of this technique.[3]When discussing Italian art, the term is sometimes used to mean painted images in monochrome or two colours, more generally known in English by the French equivalent, grisaille. The term early broadened in meaning to cover all strong contrasts in illumination between light and dark areas in art, which is now the primary meaning.

[edit]Chiaroscuro modelling

"La Fornarina" by Raphael, shows delicate modelling chiaroscuro in the body of the model, for example in the shoulder, breast, and arm on the right.
The more technical use of the term chiaroscuro is the effect of light modelling in paintingdrawing or printmaking, where three-dimensional volume is suggested by the value gradation of colour and the analytical division of light and shadow shapes - often called "shading". The invention of these effects in the West, "skiagraphia" or "shadow-painting" to the Ancient Greeks, was traditionally ascribed to the famous Athenian painter of the 5th century BC, Apollodoros. Although virtually no Ancient Greek painting survives, their understanding of the effect of light modelling can still be seen in the late 4th century BC mosaics of Pella, Macedonia, in particular the Deer Hunt, in the House of the Abduction of Helen, inscribed gnosis epoesen, or 'knowledge did it'.
They also survived in rather crude standardized form in Byzantine art and were refined again in the Middle Ages to become standard by the early fifteenth-century in painting and manuscript illumination in Italy and Flanders, and then spread to all Western art. The Raphael painting illustrated, with light coming from the left, demonstrates both delicate modelling chiaroscuro to give volume to the body of the model, and also strong chiaroscuro in the more common sense in the contrast between the well-lit model and the very dark background of foliage. However, to further complicate matters, the compositional chiaroscuro of the contrast between model and background would probably not be described using this term, as the two elements are almost completely separated. The term is mostly used to describe compositions where at least some principal elements of the main composition show the transition between light and dark, as in the Baglioni and Geertgen tot Sint Jans paintings illustrated above and below.
Chiaroscuro modelling is now taken for granted, but had some opponents; the English portrait miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard cautioned in his treatise on painting against all but the minimal use we see in his works, reflecting the views of his patron Queen Elizabeth I of England:"seeing that best to show oneself needeth no shadow of place but rather the open light...Her Majesty..chose her place to sit for that purpose in the open alley of a goodly garden, where no tree was near, nor any shadow at all..."[4]
In drawings and prints hatching, or shading by parallel lines, is often used to achieve modelling chiaroscuro. Washes, stipple or dotting effects, and "surface tone" in printmaking are other techniques.
Acrylic paint is fast drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted (with water) or modified with acrylic gels, media, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor or an oil painting, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.

Dr. Otto Rohm invented acrylic resin, which quickly transformed into acrylic paint. Acrylics were first made commercially available in the 1950s. These were mineral spirit-based paints called Magna[1] offered by Bocour Artist Colors. Water-based acrylic paints were subsequently sold as "latex" house paints, although acrylic dispersion uses no latex derived from a rubber tree. Interior "latex" house paints tend to be a combination of binder (sometimes acrylic, vinyl, pva, and others), filler, pigment, and water. Exterior "latex" house paints may also be a "co-polymer" blend, but the very best exterior water-based paints are 100% acrylic.[2] Soon after the water-based acrylic binders were introduced as house paints, artists and companies alike began to explore the potential of the new binders. Water-soluble artists' acrylic paints became commercially available in the 1950s, offered by Liquitex, with high-viscosity paints similar to those made today becoming available in the early 1960s.[3]

Acrylic artist paints may be thinned with water and used as washes in the manner of watercolor paints, but the washes are not re-hydratable once dry. For this reason, acrylics do not lend themselves to color lifting techniques as do gum arabic based watercolor paints.
Fluorescent acrylic paints lit by UV light. Paintings by Beo Beyond
Acrylic paints with gloss or matte finishes are available, although a satin (semi-matte) sheen is most common; some brands exhibit a range of finish (e.g., heavy-body paints from Golden, Liquitex, and Winsor & Newton). As with oils, pigment amounts, and particle size or shape can naturally affect the paint sheen. Matting agents can also be added during manufacture to dull the finish. The artist can mix media with their paints and use topcoats or varnishes to alter or unify sheen if desired.
When dry, acrylic paint is generally non-removable from a solid surface. Water or mild solvents do not re-solubilize it, although isopropyl alcohol can lift some fresh paint films off. Toluene and acetone can remove paint films, but they do not lift paint stains very well and are not selective. The use of a solvent to remove paint will result in removal of all of the paint layers, acrylic gesso, etc. Oils can remove acrylic paint from skin.[4]
Only a proper, artist-grade acrylic gesso should be used to prime canvas in preparation for painting with acrylic. It is important to avoid adding non-stable or non-archival elements to the gesso upon application. However, the viscosity of acrylic can successfully be reduced by using suitable extenders that maintain the integrity of the paint film. There are retarders to slow drying and extend workability time and flow releases to increase color-blending ability.
GOLDEN Absorbent Ground can be used to create a porous, paper-like surface on many different substrates. It is uniquely formulated for a high level of absorbency when dry. Applied over gessoed canvas, Absorbent Ground allows for wash and staining effects on a stable acrylic film as an alternative to staining raw canvas. Watercolors may also be used, although they will retain their water sensitivity.
Golden Artist Colors, Inc.
188 Bell Road
New Berlin, NY 13411-9527 USA
Toll Free: 800-959-6543
Fax: 607-847-6767

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grace Grothaus and Oklahoma's Art 365

Art 365

5 artists + $60,000 + 1 year + 1 amazing curator, Shannon Fitzgerald = OVAC's Art 365!  The exhibition opening party is at Living Arts of Tulsa
this Friday, July 8th from 5-9pm.  If you're in Tulsa, come check it out and see what all the media fuss has been about!  Still not convinced?  Check out the links below or tune in to Channel 8's morning show between 9 & 10am tomorrow (Thursday July 7th) to see me dishing about the art & what it's been like to be a part of this amazing project!
Exhibiting Artists' websites:  
Geoffrey Hicks

Living Arts is located next to the ballpark at 308 S Kenosha Ave, Tulsa 74120. (918) 585-1234

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Choctaw Pots, The Rest of the Firing Process

Summary of the process above thanks to Dr. Ian Thompson
Choctaw Tribal Archaeologist

In a previous post I took you through part of the firing process for the Choctaw Pots which we experienced thanks to Dr. Ian Thompson and his students. Here is a link to that post.
We were regrettably unable to stay for the whole firing and the unveiling of the pots from the pit the next day as we had to be in Idabel, OK early in the morning. Ian sent us some pictures of the rest of the process which I will share with you on this blog. We left as they were gradually moving the fire ring closer to the pots. If it is done too quickly the pots will crack from the stress of the heat. Gradually the pots are totally covered with burning logs and when they reach the correct heat (learned by experience), I am told the pots will glow red. I saw that with my own work years ago with kilns and I wish I could have seen it again at their firing. I had a wood kiln with a 20 foot chimney and as it approached cone 10 which is a high fire temperature as opposed to pit firing, the flames would surge up from the chimney into the sky and roar. Here are pictures as the pots are being engulfed by flames in the pit.

Glowing Pots

Hot Coals left overnight

The Next Morning When the Excitement of Unloading the Pit can begin.....
The finished, fired pots
Unloading the pots from the pit is very exciting but also fraught with the tension of hoping that your pot has not cracked and that the markings from the smoke will be exciting. It always involves the unknown and can be a disappointment or great pleasure. I must confess that I enjoy the feeling of having so much more control over the finished product when I complete a painting although the creative process involves a tension as I work on a piece not knowing whether in the end I will be pleased and successful with my intention. So still unknown but a bit more of the illusion of control......
Thank you to Dr. Ian Thompson and his students for sharing their process with us.
The Choctaw Traditional Potters’ Expo, hosted by the Choctaw Nation Historic Preservation Department, will be held Saturday, Nov. 27 at the Choctaw RV Park in Durant. The public is invited to attend the expo and meet some of the talented tribal artists who are considered to be on the “ground floor” of revitalizing Choctaw pottery as a living art form.
The potters will be showcasing their artwork, answering questions, and giving talks about their inspiration. Attendees will be able to view and purchase the hand-made Choctaw pottery created from natural Oklahoma clays, and weather permitting, watch a live pottery firing demonstration. 
“The common thread with this expo is that all the clay was hand-dug, the pottery was hand-made, and the pieces were all wood-fired,” according to tribal archaeologist Dr. Ian Thompson, one of the coordinators for the expo.
Various types of pottery will be on display at the expo, most of which are functional pieces such as cooking bowls, eating bowls, bottles, vases and other dishes. 
The Choctaw Traditional Potters’ Expo is from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is open to the public. 
For more information about the event contact the Choctaw Historic Preservation Department at 800-522-6170, ext. 2216.
The Choctaw (alternatively spelt as ChahtaChactasChatoTchaktaChocktaw, and Chactaw) are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States (MississippiFloridaAlabama, and Louisiana). The Choctaw language belongs to the Muskogean linguistic group. Noted 20th centuryanthropologist John Swanton suggested that the name was derived from a Choctaw leader.[2] Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that their name is derived from the Choctaw phrase Hacha hatak (river people).[3]
The Choctaw are descendants of the Mississippian culture and Hopewellian people, who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries. The early Spanish explorers of the 16th century encountered their ancestors.[4] In the 19th century, the Choctaw were known as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" because they adopted and integrated numerous cultural and technological practices of their European American colonial neighbors. TheChoctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are the two primary Choctaw associations today, although smaller Choctaw groups are located in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
During the American Revolution, most Choctaw supported the Thirteen Colonies' bid for independence from the British Crown. The Choctaw and the United States agreed to nine treaties. The last three treaties (Treaty of Doak's Stand, Washington City, and Dancing Rabbit) were designed to deracinate most Choctaw west of the Mississippi River.
U.S. President Andrew Jackson made the Choctaw exile a model of Indian removal making them the first Native Americans to travel on the Trail of Tears. The Choctaw were exiled (to the area now called Oklahoma) because the U.S. desired to expand territory available for settlement to European Americans,[5] wanted to save them from extinction,[6] and wanted to acquire their natural resources.[7]
With ratification in 1831 of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, those Choctaws who chose to stay in the newly formed state of Mississippi were the first major non-European ethnic group to become U.S. citizens.[8][9][10][11] Article 22 sought to put a Choctaw representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.[8] The Choctaw began to seek political representation in the Congress of the United States in 1830.[12] During the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849) nearly twenty years prior to the founding of the Red Cross, the Choctaw were noted for their generosity in providing humanitarian relief for the people of Ireland.[13] During theAmerican Civil War, the Choctaw in both Oklahoma and Mississippi mostly sided with the Confederate States of America.
After the Civil War, the Mississippi Choctaw fell into obscurity. The Choctaw in Oklahoma struggled to maintain a nation. In World War I, they served in the U.S. military as the first Native American codetalkers, using the Choctaw language as a natural code.
Go to this wikipedia link and also to the Choctaw Nation website to learn more about the history and culture of the Choctaw Nation.
And of course it is very important to go to the Choctaw Nation link above and hear about the Nation in their own words.