New Horizons

Programs, Services and Resources to Help Chickasaw Citizens Thrive

The Chickasaw Nation believes that well-rounded youth become the most productive citizens, and in pursuit of that ideal it offers a wide variety of programs to assist in physical, intellectual and social development. One program that is central to Chickasaw identity is stickball. Traditionally played by warriors to resolve disputes without battle, the game has evolved into a modern sport that incorporates women and children. Through the youth stickball team, older kids learn to look after younger players, while coaches offer wellness advice and use the Chickasaw language on the field. Practices occur at least once a week in both Ada and Norman, and there are matches against other Native American stickball teams during the fall and winter months. The STEM Academy in Ada offers kids opportunities to master technology and engineering skills. The Junior FIRST LEGO League (for kids 6-8) and FIRST LEGO League (for kids 9-14) teach students to create LEGO constructions and then to program a LEGO robot to complete simple tasks. The FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition allow high school students to build on these robotics skills and to branch out into other areas like organization and marketing. Another initiative that cultivates scientific learning is the Native Explorers program, which helps students of all ages to approach modern science from the viewpoint of traditional culture. Participants learn the scientific method through classes and fossil digs, also exploring different science majors that they might want to study in college. College-aged students are able to join the program and apply their skills in active dig sites outside the borders of the Chickasaw Nation, in addition to receiving mentorship from scientific professionals. One expedition saw Native Explorers discovering the skeleton of a previously unknown carnivorous mammal in Nevada's Great Basin. For information about youth camp registration, visit