Construction progresses on American Indian Cultural Center and Museum 

settlers, the process created a collision of cultures that made for a "really interesting story to tell," Timberman said.

"But it is not just a story about removal, about relocation, or about federal acts," she added. "It also is a story about a rebirth, and now a collaboration of cultures. And it is about an identity of a state and how unique and different identities have been interwoven into a fabric that now is Oklahoma, and what that means for our future. It is a place for coming together."

LOOKING FORWARD
Where can the authority and its boards find the money that's still needed to finish the job? Efforts to secure additional public dollars from local, state and federal coffers will continue, but a private capital campaign could punch the project's ticket.

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, who chairs the state authority, acknowledged the importance a capital campaign and continued lobbying efforts for public funds will play in completing the project.

"We understand the utmost importance of protecting investments in the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum," Anoatubby said. "We are excited about the facility and know the project will greatly benefit our state."

Timberman said this current pause before kicking off the campaign gives the authority and its boards a chance to reassess the structure of its nonprofit organization and to refine its goals and strategies.

Like the buffalo grass being used to protect the Promontory Mound, campaign organizers want to be sure they create a strong foundation for their work, she said.

 "We have really begun and are implementing a strategy for a more grassroots approach, right now, just cultivating on smaller levels trying to create an atmosphere of inclusion," she said. "We are building our stakeholder base and building our contact management database.

"That way, when we kick off our capital campaign, we are not only more prepared, but we have more potential partners in our Oklahoma community, and elsewhere. We also are looking for a founding contributor, kind of like a founding member, really.

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