2003 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Little, Smith
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION COMMENDING AND CONGRATULATING THALLIS LEWIS, DIRECTOR OF THE CULTURAL AFFAIRS PROGRAM OF THE MISSISSIPPI BAND OF CHOCTAW INDIANS, UPON HER RECEIPT OF THE 2003 GOVERNOR'S EXCELLENCE IN THE ARTS AWARD IN THE CATEGORY OF LEADERSHIP IN MISSISSIPPI HERITAGE.
WHEREAS, Thallis Lewis, Director of the Cultural Affairs Program of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, is the recipient of the 2003 Governor's Excellence in the Arts Award in the category of Leadership in Mississippi Heritage; and
WHEREAS, as a full-blooded Choctaw Indian growing up in the Bogue Chitto Community, Thallis Lewis saw firsthand how the ties among the Choctaw people depend on their language, beliefs, customs and traditions. She worked alongside her father and mother, listened to the elders' stories and enjoyed dancing to traditional chants. She also recognized that education offered her people more choices than field and farm work; and
WHEREAS, a member of Choctaw Central High School's very first graduating class, Thallis went on to earn her Bachelor's Degree and to serve her tribe as a teacher, administrator and program director; and
WHEREAS, two decades ago she introduced Choctaw dance into the curriculum of the Early Childhood Education Program. Since then, she has encouraged dance groups adhering to each Choctaw Community's particular dance traditions. At the last Choctaw Indian Fair, more than a dozen dance groups were featured, a testimony to the success of her efforts; and
WHEREAS, under Thallis' guidance, cultural presentations at the Choctaw Fair have expanded to include basketry, food ways demonstration and hands-on activities for children. She was instrumental in the development of the cultural section of the tribal website; worked with educators to develop teaching materials; and she maintains a full schedule of statewide school programs; and
WHEREAS, currently Thallis directs the Cultural Affairs Program of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. She developed a highly successful series of community workshops in traditions such as clothes making, beadwork and traditional outdoor cookery. She has initiated research into endangered traditions and documentation of the recollections of tribal elders; and
WHEREAS, it is with great pride that we recognize the unique talents of this citizen who has brought honor to her community and to the State of Mississippi:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend and congratulate Thallis Lewis, Director of the Cultural Affairs Program of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, upon her receipt of the 2003 Governor's Excellence in the Arts Award in the category of Leadership in Mississippi Heritage, and wish her and her family success in their future endeavors.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Thallis Lewis at induction ceremonies on February 28, 2003, and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.