Lewis RV Blog

  • Published on Nov 05, 2015
    Native American Sites in Oklahoma

    Did you know that Oklahoma is home to a vast amount of Native American culture and history? Make your Oklahoma experience relaxing and educational! Here’s a list of sites by cities that will give you a history-rich overview of Oklahoma.

     

    Five Civilized Tribes Museum, Muskogee

     

    The Five Civilized Tribes Museum features historical artifacts from the 5 tribes that once dwelled in Oklahoma: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole. The Museum grounds feature a historic building that was constructed by the U.S. Government in 1875 to accommodate the Superintendence of the 5 tribes. Today this historic building houses a vast array of Native American artifacts that testify to the values and practices of this people group throughout the ages. Sculptures, pottery, paintings, handmade baskets, and more all give a vivid portrayal of the lifestyle of these tribes and the influence they had on developing Oklahoma’s history. The museum offers several events throughout the year including lectures, workshops, and art shows to further educate and instill appreciation for the artistic and historical impacts the tribes have had on the state as a whole.

     

    Red Earth Museum, Oklahoma City

     

    This museum and art center is located right in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City and is home to over 1,400 pieces of art, both contemporary and traditional. Some of the featured art mediums include: beadworks, basketry, pottery, and textiles. One of the more popular features at the museum is the sale gallery where visitors can purchase authentic Native American artwork, jewelry, beadworks, pottery and more. This nonprofit is focused on providing an avenue for talented Native Americans to practice and sell their crafts to the public. Each year Red Earth puts on a Native American cultural festival that features American Indian artists and dancers who come together to celebrate the rich history and heritage of the Native American ancestry. The award winning festival includes a parade throughout downtown Oklahoma City complete with tribal representatives in authentic regalia.

     

     

    This festival is not only award-winning, but has become one of the most respected and renowned cultural festivals in the country. For an experience that is both educational and exciting, plan to visit during the annual festival. The sights and sounds will stick with you for a lifetime.

    Standing Bear Park, Museum & Education Center, Ponca City

     

    Set on 63 acres of Oklahoma prairie, overlooking the Arkansas River, Standing Bear Park is home to a 22 foot bronze statue of Chief Standing Bear. This statue serves as a tribute to all Native Americans and closely resembles the actual Chief Standing Bear who is believed to have walked those same grounds over a century ago. The base of statue is encircled by large sandstone boulders, each representing the area tribes: Osage, Pawnee, Tonkawa, Otoe- Missouria Kaw, and Ponca. The published mission of the park is, "To educate all nationalities about the Native American heritage and the important role Native Americans have played in developing our country’s diverse culture; To promote better understanding and communication among all our nation's cultures; To increase economic and educational opportunities for Native Americans, and to provide a catalyst to enhance the self-worth of all Native Americans.” That is precisely what Standing Bear Park, Museum & Education Center accomplishes as it invites visitors to celebrate and learn more about the rich Native American culture and history.

     

    Sequoyah’s Cabin, Sallisaw

     

    Sequoyah was a very talented Cherokee Indian who was a skilled blacksmith, silversmith, as well as a gifted artist. Though these are notable skills, Sequoyah is most commonly recognized as the man who single-handedly created the syllabary for the Cherokee spoken language. He did this by assigning a symbol to the recurring sounds in the Cherokee spoken language which ultimately established a written language. This enabled the Cherokee tribesmen to communicate through written word, just as the English alphabet enables English speakers to communicate through written word.

    Sequoyah was originally from Tennessee, but he traveled through the state of Tennessee, stopping in Arkansas for a time to work as a blacksmith, before settling in Oklahoma. He built this one-room log cabin in 1829 upon his arrival, but It wasn’t until 1966 that the cabin was declared a National Historic Landmark. The cabin is kept in excellent shape and people travel from all over the country to see this National Landmark.


    Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, Spiro

     

    The Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center preserves over 150 acres of land that was inhabited between A.D. 800-1450. This is the only prehistoric site open to the public in the state of Oklahoma. Part of what makes the Spiro Mounds so interesting is its mysterious history. While there is much yet to be discovered, the artifacts suggest that the Spiro people were a very established society with a functioning political system, highly effective trade route, and developed religious center. Artifacts indicate that the Spiro people built ties with over 60 different tribes through a written iconographic language that was shared from coast to coast. Though unoccupied for nearly 150 years, the site became an excavation hot-spot during the 1930s, and the artifacts quickly became one of the greatest artistic and utilitarian prehistoric Native American collections in the country. In addition to the collection, the site is littered with interpreted trails and has archaeologists on-site to answer questions and lead tours. There is no shortage of things to see at the Spiro Mounds.

    Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah

     

    The Cherokee Heritage Center is known for its hands-on educational experience. One of their most famous attractions is the Trail of Tears Exhibit, which features 6 sequential stages of the Cherokee Indians’ forced removal from their home and relocation into Indian Territory that is modern day Oklahoma. To experience a day in the life of a Charokee Indian, visit the Diligwa 1710 Cherokee village. Established in 2013, the Diligwa village is said to be the most authentic Cherokee experience in the world. The village features 19 wattle and daub structures, and 14 stations for interpretation. As spectators wander throughout the village, they get to witness the daily tasks and crafts of the 18th century Cherokee people. Stories are told and lifestyles are explained in the interpretation stations located throughout the village as well. The Heritage Center hosts a number of art exhibits and galleries, and is also home to a shop where visitors can purchase authentic art, books, and other Native American goods. For a time-traveling experience that will give you an authentic look at an 18th century Cherokee lifestyle, visit the Cherokee Heritage Center.

    Lewis RV Center

    As you find yourself exploring the rich history of the Native American culture in Oklahoma, be sure to make your way on over to Oklahoma City to see us. We would love to help you get ready for your next trip and point you in the right direction!

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