One Place Many Nations The New First Americans Museum In Okc
The much-anticipated First Americans Museum will welcome visitors for the first time this September to learn about the shared history of the 39 tribal nations in Oklahoma today. Utilizing art, architecture, first-person narratives and multi-media experiences, the 40-acre complex guides families through the cultural diversity, authentic history and contributions of First Americans.
Explore the galleries, watch Native films, taste traditional foods and Indigenous ingredients and engage in family-friendly programming that illuminates a uniquely Native perspective in this world-class museum.
First Americans Museum Opens This Weekend
First Americans Museum entrance at dawn, featuring Touch to Above, a steel sculpture by Bill and Demos Glass . Photo: Ann Sherman, annshermanphoto.com.
After decades of planning, challenges, and changes, First Americans Museum opens this weekend, Sept. 18 and 19, in Oklahoma City, with music, poetry, dance, and much more.
FAM is a magnificent 175,000 square-foot museum focused on the cultures, histories, and current stories of Oklahomas Native peoples. Executive Director James Pepper Henry leads the museums all-Native curatorial team and primarily Native staff.
FAMs allNative American curatorial team developed exhibitions in consultation with tribes and community members, such as Path of Warriors which honors veterans historic and living. Photo: Ann Sherman, annshermanphoto.com.
Saturdays opening ceremonies begin with a procession of representatives from all of Oklahomas 39 tribes 38 federally recognized nations and the Yuchi people. Remarks from tribal, state, and museum leaders conclude with a reading by US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo . Then the festivities begin: Harjo is among the singers, dancers, storytellers, and artists who will perform on the massive Festival Plaza on Saturday. Sunday also offers a roster of well-known Indigenous entertainers, including Pawnee/Choctaw rappers Lil Mike and Funny Bone of Hulus Reservation Dogs.
Congratulations on your cultural achievement of aMuseum for indigenous peoples, from Maori of Aotearoa New Zealand.
See Oklahoma Through A Native Lens At This New Museum
Thirty years in the making, Oklahoma Citys First Americans Museum tells history through the lens of the regions tribal peoples.
The vision for the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City was always ambitious. The center was established to promote the unique cultures, history, contributions, and resilience of the First American Nations in Oklahoma. Three decades of planning went into its September launch, and its debut exhibitions make evident that the story the museum tells is epic in scope.
This is a museum presented through a truly Native narrative, says James Pepper Henry, the museums executive director and vice-chairman of the Kaw Nation. What weve done here is show the collective histories of the tribes and the common circumstances that brought the tribes here to Oklahoma.
Sharing those stories was no easy task. As the museum notes, only a few tribal nations were indigenous to the vast area. But as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, more than 100,000 Native Americans were forced from their ancestral homelands to Indian Territory, or what is now known as Oklahoma .
During this migration, called the Trail of Tears, more than 15,000 people perished of disease, starvation, and exposure to extreme weather. By the time the state entered the union in 1907, it contained a patchwork of peoples from the woodlands to the plains and plateaus. This collective trauma is one focus of the narratives told at the museum.
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The Power Of Language
The First American Museum also features selections from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as well as newly commissioned artworks. Objects in this area were reconnected with their original Indigenous names, and, on some occasions, reconnected with descendants of the original owners.
Language is such a power point that people dont even realize that by replacing the names that is part of the erasure of our Native people, ahtone said. And so these objects have metaphorically lived the same thing as our Indian people in that they were removed from their home community, taken away and relocated.
There will also be an area for families known as the FAMily Discovery Center. Though it was not yet opened during the opening weekend, it will eventually resemble a pop-up book, with animal guides that lead visitors through experiences designed to convey important cultural values such as respect, community, resilience and stewardship.
An on-site restaurant adds to the experience at the museum. Featuring Native-inspired cuisine, it combines traditional foods with a contemporary flare. A nearby cafe also offers delectable treats and coffee, including OGahPah Coffee from the Quapaw Nation.
First Americans Museum Celebrates Opening Weekend
After decades of being hindered by inconsistent funding and bureaucratic red tape, the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City opens to the public Sept. 18 and 19. The weekend includes tours, demonstrations, poetry readings, fashion shows, shopping, family activities and more. The staff and volunteers excitement shows their dedication to the project, which they look forward to sharing with the public.
We want to set the right perspective and tone for opening weekend because it really is a true celebration of how far weve come and that the museum is finally open, said Ginny Underwood, FAMs marketing and communications manager.
Citizen Potawatomi Nation employee and Curley family descendant Kendra Lowden volunteered to assist the museum opening weekend. She has waited more than a decade for the opportunity.
The FAM staff I have interacted with are tribal citizens with a focus on properly representing the cultures and histories of all Oklahoma tribes. It touches my heart to know that the people doing the daily work at FAM have a deep, cultural connection to their work, Lowden said.
Land and architecture
The museums designers and architects worked meaning and Native significance into every portion of the building and property. Tesia Zientek, CPN tribal member and CPN Department of Education Director, recognized those connections during a recent tour. The commitment to detail inspires her volunteerism.
Programming and storytelling
Leadership and inclusion
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Chickasaw Cultural Center Sulphur
Immerse yourself in Chickasaw civilization from the tribes pre-Oklahoma existence through the triumphs of the tribe today at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur. This grand cultural center, which sits on more than 100 acres of Chickasaw land in south-central Oklahoma, allows visitors to see, feel and even taste the heritage of the Chickasaw tribe through interactive exhibits, botanical displays and traditional dwellings.
Walk through the powerful Removal Corridor to view the painful journey that brought the Chickasaws to Oklahoma and feel as though youre traversing the bleak winter landscape yourself. While at the center, join the inner circle of a long-practiced stomp dance and get a taste of true Chickasaw culture at the Aaimpa Café, where traditional fare such as grape dumplings, Indian fry bread and pashofa are served.
First Americans Museum In Oklahoma City Opens
The First Americans Museum front entrance showcases the artwork Touch to Above designed and built by Cherokee artists Bill and Demos Glass. The museum is in Oklahoma City.
First Americans Museums rear shows the glass half-dome that represents a Wichita grass lodge. The land in which the museum sits was originally Wichita and Caddo land.
First Americans Museums site is two intersecting circles and one is a mound built from 500,000 cubic yards of earth.
A drum specifically made for the museum is removed from its case on Sept. 19 to be used during a demonstration. Many items in the Oklahoma City-based museum will be used and featured during different events throughout the year.
Visitor to the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City read a display that features events from 1830 to 1907.
Items that depict Native misrepresentation are on display in the First Americans Museum. Such items show how stereotypes have been perpetuated over the years.
First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City opens
OKLAHOMA CITY The long-awaited First Americans Museum held its grand opening on Sept 18-19 in Oklahoma City.
According to a 2019 Associated Press article, Construction on the 173,000-square-foot facility began in 2006 but was delayed for years after the project ran out of money and the Legislature refused to allocate more funds. An agreement was ultimately reached in 2016 between the city, state and tribal nations to finish construction.
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Standing Bear Park Museum & Education Center Ponca City
Standing Bear may have been a chief of the Ponca tribe, but the towering statue erected in his honor in Ponca City stands as a tribute to every Native American. Famous for his landmark speech before a U.S. District Court in 1879 stating that all American Indians regardless of tribe deserved the same recognition and protection under the law as white men, Standing Bear paved the way for native rights in this country. Standing two stories high and made of bronze, this larger-than-life representation of the chief at Standing Bear Park captures his spirit of compassion and zeal.
After viewing the statue of Standing Bear, take a moment to stroll along the on-site walking trails and consider the incredible legacy of the six area Native American tribes: Osage, Pawnee, Otoe-Missouria, Kaw, Tonkawa and Ponca. Dont miss the renowned Standing Bear Powwow, held each year in September, to witness as representatives from these six tribes gather for intertribal dancing, powerful singing and lively drumming within the park.
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First Americans Museum Oklahoma City
Tucked between the Oklahoma River and downtown Oklahoma City, First Americans Museum visitors experience the collective histories of 39 distinctive First American Nations in Oklahoma today. Opened in 2021, this first-of-its-kind museum shares the collective diversity, history and contributions of the First Americans through hands-on activities and media-rich interactive displays. Okla Homma, the signature exhibition at the FAM, gives voice to the diverse stories of Oklahoman tribes. Stop by the cafe and coffee shop or indulge in a sit-down meal at the FAM Restaurant for a taste of Indigenous-inspired cuisine.
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Five Civilized Tribes Museum Muskogee
Step into the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee and you will be standing on a piece of sacred American Indian history. While the museum is packed with one-of-a-kind art and artifacts celebrating Native American life, the building itself plays a significant role in the history of the tribes. As the first Union Indian Agency building to house the Superintendence of the Five Civilized Tribes , this museum is uniquely able to convey the rich culture and heritage of the tribes. Visitors are invited to view breathtaking artifacts, paintings and sculptures that depict the American Indian journey that has been both painstaking and celebratory.
What To Do In Oklahoma City
Beyond the new First Americans Museum, there is something for everyone in OKC, from art to adventure lovers. Head to The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for Western-based art and artifacts , the Plaza Walls murals in the Plaza District, or Factory Obscura, a quirky artist collective creating immersive experiences that are not to be missed.
Oklahoma may be landlocked, but the capital has a thriving Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River that offers an assortment of water sports for guests of all ages and abilities. Activities include whitewater rafting, paddle boarding, and even indoor skiing and snowboarding with Riversport OKC. For great views, head south to the Wheeler District to take a ride on the Wheeler Ferris Wheel. The ferris wheel was the original Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel, and was purchased by developer Blair Humphreys through eBay in 2008 for more than $1 million.
Other sites to see for families or the young at heart include the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Gardens, a living museum of 1,900 animal species and expansive botanical gardens, and Science Museum Oklahoma, the state’s only hands-on science museum and one of the largest science museums in the nation. Visitors to the city should also head to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, which honors the memories and legacies of the lives lost in the 1995 bombing.
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Major Museum Dedicated To Native Americans Opens In Oklahoma City
By Zac Thompson
09/28/2021, 8:00 PM
A total of 39 Tribal Nations are based in what is now known as Oklahoma. Only a handful are indigenous to the statethe rest were forcibly removed from other parts of the United States starting in the 19th century.
A new, $175-million, 175,000-square-foot museum opened this month in Oklahoma City to showcase the history, culture, art, and ongoing contributions of those Native groups in a gleaming, glassy, circular complex set on 40 acres along the Oklahoma River.
The First Americans Museum, which has been in the works for more than three decades, was designed with the cooperation of all 39 Tribal Nations of Oklahoma.
The architecture and grounds are at once sleekly modern and deeply rooted in Native symbols, from the domed, glass-fronted Hall of The People, modeled on the shape of a Wichita grass house, to the huge stainless-steel sculpture of a welcoming hand suspended from a 13-foot-tall arch at the east-facing entrance.
Exhibits, which are curated by a team made up of members of tribes in Oklahoma, recount Native histories and customs via first-person narratives as well as artworks, films, and artifacts.
Scores of artifacts on long-term loan from the Smithsonians National Museum of the American Indian in Washington are also on display. According to Smithsonian magazine, the objects include everything “from clothing and textiles to tools and toys,” all of which were collected in Oklahoma.
Semple Family Museum Of Native American Art
The Semple Family Museum, funded by a gift from the Semple family, is located north of the Fine Arts Building and Russell Building on Montgomery/Dunlap Drive. It serves as the permanent home of Southeastern Oklahoma State Universitys extensive Native American Art Collection that represents 26 federally recognized tribes and 80 plus artists.
For more information about the museum, contact Stephanie Luke at or 580-745-2046 or visit the museums website below.
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First Americans Museum Opens In Oklahoma City
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Paying homage to the cultures, traditions, and history of the 39 American Indian Nations headquartered in Oklahoma, the museum opened its doors on September 18.
The new museum is the first of its kind, and aims to educate about the unique cultures, diversity, history, and contributions of the First American nations.
Inside the museum, visitors will have a chance to explore artifacts, arts, and crafts from each of the 39 tribal nations featured in the museum, along with participating in demonstrations, special events, and even taste Native cuisine.
Some of the exhibit highlights include the Origins Theater, a 320-degree screen looping animation about creation stories from four tribes in Oklahoma the Tribal Nations Gallery, highlighting tribal origin stories and historical accounts from a Native first-person perspective, and insights into Native culture, curated by members of tribes in Oklahoma today.
The signature restaurant, Thirty Nine, will feature an Indigenous menu that combines traditional foods with a contemporary take. The meals have been created with the help of award-winning Chef Loretta Barrett Oden .
Agents should focus on both the chance to get up close to indigenous history, along with the proximity to other nearby attractions, when selling, says Matt Bates, Destination Awareness Manager UK& NI and Republic of Ireland at Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.
Churchs $2 Million Donation To Oklahomas First Americans Museum Will Help Reconnect Native American Families
In his Sunday afternoon devotional broadcast to Latter-day Saints in Oklahoma and Kansas, President Russell M. Nelson referenced the Churchs $2 million donation made earlier that day to the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City.
The gift from the Church will strengthen Native American and other families by creating within the museum a FamilySearch center, he said. This center will make it possible for visitors to the museum to receive help in preserving personal histories, searching for ancestors and building their own family trees.
Just a few hours before the member devotional, Elder Kyle S. McKay, a General Authority Seventy and a member of the North America Southwest Area presidency, presented the Churchs gift during a reception at the recently opened museum.
Positioned along the Oklahoma River, the First Americans Museum shares the collective histories and contributions of dozens of Native American tribes in Oklahoma today.
The Churchs $2 million contribution will be used to build a permanent FamilySearch center at the museum and fill other needs. The future center will also include digital interactive exhibits for Native American families.
The First Americans Museum, noted President Nelson, is a reminder to everyone of their own ancestors and for our deep gratitude for those who have come here from different countries and traditions.
Museum director James Pepper Henry told the Church News that the Sunday, Oct. 17, gathering was a fantastic event.
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