Duck Decoys

Chickasaw Culture Keepers

Carved sculptures are important to the Chickasaw people, both as an art form and as a way of connecting to their heritage. In this episode of Thrive: Traditions, Chickasaw linguist and artisan Joshua D. Hinson, called Lokosh in Chickasaw, carves duck decoys to connect his passion for duck hunting with his culture. "While it's not necessarily traditional in the sense that our Chickasaw ancestors hunted with decoys," says Joshua, "they were fantastic artists and they made sculptures of all sorts." To make his decoys, he starts by carving the piece from cedar, which then he then adorns with colors, symbols and patterns found in traditional Chickasaw art. The resulting sculpture is a carved effigy like his ancestors used to make that could also be used for duck hunting. Joshua encourages other Chickasaw artists to explore ways their culture can be incorporated in their work, encouraging them to branch out, grow and try something new.