Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby reached back in time to move toward the future Monday when he dedicated a statue honoring Tishomingo, described as one of the most pivotally important and influential Chickasaws in modern history.

For generations, people called him Piomingo. The tribe, through historical research and in consultation with its language department, discovered the great mountain leader should be addressed as Piominko. “Minko” is Chickasaw for “leader.”

A large gathering of Chickasaw Nation and Tishomingo community dignitaries corrected the name and formally recognized the statue on the grounds of the historic Chickasaw Nation Capitol as that of Piominko.

“We are going back to our roots and calling people by their proper title,” Anoatubby told the crowd.

The sculpture, created by internationally renowned Oklahoma artist, ex-state political leader and former Seminole Nation Principal Chief Enoch Kelly Haney , now guards the historic Capitol.

“My team and I researched Piominko through historical records and accounts. We paid attention to the smallest of details to ensure the work was historically accurate,” Haney said as he described the work that took him three years to complete.

Haney’s sculpture depicts the great Chickasaw leader in traditional post-European contact attire, sporting a peace medal presented to him by President George Washington, along with the traditional Chickasaw gorget.

Anoattuby praised Haney as “honoring us again with a great work of art.”