Celebrating the Tulsa City Council’s unanimous approval and the Mayor’s signature on a resolution to establish Native American Day in Tulsa as the second Monday of October, the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission has planned free, public events for Tulsa’s first Native American Day on Oct. 9.
Events are planned at Guthrie Green, 111 East M.B. Brady St., from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. A special program is scheduled at 10:45 a.m. with Mayor G.T. Bynum, City Council Chair Anna America, and chiefs of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek) and Osage nations.
The schedule is as follows:
9:30 a.m. – Invocation, Lord’s Prayer
9:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. – Flag song, Memorial song, Veteran song, Victory dance, War mothers songs
10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. – Welcome: Sammy Haynes, Chair of Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission; also Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commissioner James Pepper Henry will read the Native American Day Resolution.
10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. – Introductions and honors: Mayor G.T. Bynum, City Council Chair Anna America and other attending City Council members; Principal Chief Bill John Baker of the Cherokee Nation; Principal Chief James Floyd of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and Principal Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear of the Osage Nation.
11:15 a.m. to noon – Introduction of attending Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commissioners and all attending Title 5 Commissioners/invited guest speakers
Noon to 1 p.m. – Exhibition dancing
1 to 2 p.m. – Social dance
The Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission (GTAIAC) is the official sponsor of Native American Day, with support from area tribes, local organizations and businesses. Tulsa will observe Native American Day on the same day as Columbus Day.
“Millions of indigenous peoples and great civilizations, past and present, were on this continent for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Columbus and the first Europeans,” said Commissioner James Pepper Henry, co-chair of the Commission’s Native American Day committee. “Native Americans have handed down invaluable cultural knowledge and traditions that continue to thrive today.”
The Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission unanimously agrees that Native American Day specifically and accurately acknowledges our native populations. Native Americans are a significant part of the demographic of the Greater Tulsa area and Oklahoma. Oklahoma is home to 39 federally recognized Native American tribes. The boundaries of three of these federally recognized tribes (Cherokee, Muscogee Creek, and Osage) converge within the City of Tulsa metro area.
Native Americans have continuously inhabited the Greater Tulsa area for thousands of years. Today, Tulsa is home to approximately 30,000 Native Americans (according to the latest census figures), representing dozens of native tribes. By adopting Native American Day, Tulsa formally recognizes its indigenous populations who have made valuable contributions to our community through shared knowledge, stewardship of the land, labor, science, technology, philosophy, arts, and deep cultural influences that have substantially shaped the character of the city of Tulsa.
Tulsa joins other major cities that formally acknowledge “Native American Day” or “Indigenous Peoples Day” on the second Monday in October. These cities include Albuquerque, N.M.; Anchorage, Alaska; Denver; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Phoenix; Portland, Maine; and Seattle.