American Indian tribes celebrating statehood in own way

A century after statehood, the state’s American Indian communities will gather for a new ceremony of their own design. A literal and metaphorical journey into a new day, a sunset ceremony in Guthrie will close out the first 100 years of statehood Nov. 15 and point forward to the next.

The centennial marks a time native people can honor their past, recognize who they are today and express optimism for the future, said Gena Howard, acting director of the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority, which facilitated the ceremony.

“For native people, it’s a time to celebrate who we are at this milestone,” she said. “Just as the sun sets on a day, the sun sets on the past hundred years. And, despite your experience, whether you’re native or nonnative, it’s a milestone of survival, no matter how you came to call yourself an Oklahoman.”

As part of the proceedings, three speakers will share their perspectives.

“What I think is the 100-years celebration is for the white people,” said speaker Mary Lou Davis, 82, treasurer for the Caddo Nation. “They’re the ones (who) came in and started a new life and pushed the Indians away, took some Indian land, I think. And, you know, I don’t have any hard feelings “¦ about it. But I don’t think “¦ the Indians are really standing out there dancing and singing about how wonderful it is.”

Centennial events should be “a little more realistic” about history, she said.

For more information, visit their site. “Emily Jerman

Emily Jerman

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