Bison star in new Comanche Museum exhibit

Written by at August 25, 2011


(August 24, 2011) LAWTON, OK – The significance and meaning of the American Buffalo’s impact on the Plains Indian culture from the1800s through today is the focus of a new national traveling exhibition at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center (CNMCC).  The Bison: American Icon opens September 1, 2011 at 1:06 p.m. with a program featuring traditional Comanche songs and dance. Guest speaker for the event is Towana Spivey, Director/Curator of the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark.  A sampling of traditional Comanche foods will be served following the program.  The event is free and open to the public.  The opening of this exhibit is being held in conjunction with the 2011 Comanche Nation Fair.

The Bison: American Icon features over a 75 objects, including Plains Indian artifacts such as clothing, regalia,tools, and weapons with a wide variety of objects crafted from bison.  The exhibition addresses the crucial historical and cultural role of bison, for all people, on the Plains from the1800s through the 21st century. It also examines the ways in which this impressive animal has emerged an American icon.  Bison are a critical part of the Comanche Tribe’s heritage.  “For thousands of years until the early 1860s, there were tens of millions of bison roaming the plains of North America,” said CNMCC Executive Director, Phyllis Wahahrockah-Tasi. “1890, there were fewer than 300.  This presented a problem for our Comanche people who relied on the animal in order to survive.  At one time it was the tribe’s main source for food, shelter, clothing and tools,” Wahahrockah-Tasi said.  The Bison explores the “before” and “after” of the bison’s dramatic decline and tells how extinction was ultimately averted.  The exhibition explores the many ways that the bison’s identity was transformed yet again into a symbol of America and a popular image.  “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to host this exhibit because the subject matter is one that is very special to our Comanche People,” Wahahrockah-Tasi said. 

The CNMCC staff has added local flair to the exhibit by incorporating Comanche artand historical information pertaining to the bison and its importance to the tribe.  CNMCC will also use the exhibit opening to unveil a unique, new educational tool.  “We are very excited to debut of a brand new customized one-of-a-kind interactive video game,” said Education and Public Programs Manager, Candy Morgan.  “The game will allow our visitors the opportunity to simulate an actual Bison hunt.  We believe we are the only tribal museum in the world to have such a game and we can’t wait to show it at the opening.”Morgan said.

The Bison:  American Icon will be on display through January 7, 2012.  Admission is free.   For more information call 580-353-0404 orvisit  CNMCC is located at 701 NW Ferris Avenue,directly behind Lawton’s McMahon Auditorium.

The Bison: American Icon hasbeen made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the NationalEndowment for the Humanities. The exhibit was originally developed by the C.M.Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana, and co-curated by Anne Morand and Dr.Lynne Spriggs.  This exhibit is toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance through NEH on the Road. NEH onthe Road offers an exciting opportunity for communities of all sizes toexperience some of the best exhibitions funded by the National Endowment forthe Humanities (NEH). Mid-America Arts Alliance was founded in 1972 and is theoldest regional nonprofit arts organization in the United States.

Continue reading »

Prehistoric remains to be returned to tribe

Written by at August 17, 2011

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. (AP) – The bones of two prehistoric Native Americans found in Badlands National Park will be returned to the Oglala Sioux Tribe for burial unless another tribe claims them before Sept. 17.

The Rapid City Journal reports ( ) that one of the sets was found in 1958 and has been in the park’s possession since 1959. The other set was unearthed from White Butte in Pennington County in 2002.

The National Park Service consulted with tribes in the Dakotas and determined that the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation has a stronger cultural relationship.

The remains will be returned to the tribe under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Human occupation of the Badlands National Park area is believed to date back approximately 11,000 years.


Information from: Rapid City Journal,

Continue reading »

Tribe: S Calif quarry plan imperils sacred site

Written by at August 17, 2011

TEMECULA, Calif. (AP) – A Southern California Indian tribe is objecting to plans for a massive quarry that would be built at the spot that they consider the site of the world’s creation.

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians intend to press their case at a Riverside County planning commission hearing on Monday against the at-least 135-acre quarry, which would be built near their reservation.

“The origin of the Luiseno people is the single most important account in our culture,” tribal chairman Mark Macarro told the Riverside Press-Enterprise ( ). “Our present-day practices, beliefs and social structure are directly related to our creation.”

County supervisors will eventually have final say on the project, although the tribe is also pushing for state legislation that would ban mining for aggregate, tiny stones used as building material, near American Indian reservations and sacred sites.

Quarry developer Granite Construction said the Pechanga Band only recently began saying the quarry site was sacred and noted that the tribe built a sprawling casino and golf resort on spiritually important ancestral lands.

Tribal officials insist that they been telling county officials about the property’s spiritual importance for years and say they designed their resort complex to avoid significant sites.

Granite Construction spokesman Gary Johnson also said in a release that it had been cooperating with tribes on quarry projects for nearly 90 years.

“So this latest development is appalling to us,” he said of the effort to ban aggregate mining near reservations.

Granite Construction is seeking an agreement that would allow it to blast aggregate out of the so-called Liberty Quarry for 75 years and process the rocks into asphalt and concrete. The quarry would descend more than 1,000 feet at its deepest point.

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians believes that the area near the quarry site was created through a union between a sky father and an earth mother and that it was home to their ancient forbears.


Information from: The Press-Enterprise,

Continue reading »

Kiowa Kids program enjoys success this summer

Written by at August 15, 2011

Pictured (left to right): Jariah Eyachabbe, Maddox Hamilton, Aaron Eyachabbe, Andy Parnacher, Niigan Sunray, Tayshia Smith, Charli Lynn Ahhaitty, Kowi Sunray, and Cedric Sunray, volunteer camp counselor.Tribal youth from the Norman/Oklahoma City metro area gathered for Kiowa Language Camp at the First American United Methodist Church in Norman Aug. 1-3.

Continue reading »

Teacher connects a new generation with Cherokee culture

Written by at August 15, 2011

Susie Thompson reads a traditional Cherokee story, the “Origin of the Strawberry,” to students as they learn how to say “peach” in Cherokee.BELL, Okla. — A retired school teacher from Maryetta is using her knowledge, old and new, to teach children about Cherokee heritage. Susie Thompson, a Cherokee Nation citizen, says when she speaks Cherokee it takes her back in time, creating a connection to her mother and grandmother.

Continue reading »

Louisiana’s Tunica tribe revives its lost language

Written by at August 15, 2011

In this Aug. 5, 2011 photo, Brenda Lintinger poses with one of her children's books she wrote in the Tunica Indian language, in her home in Metairie, La. Lintinger decided to do more than learn a new language: she set out to resurrect the ancient tongue of her own Tunica Indian tribe, words that had not been uttered for more than 60 years. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Brenda Lintinger decided to do more than learn a new language – she set out to resurrect the ancient tongue of her own Tunica Indian tribe, words that had not been uttered for more than 60 years.

Continue reading »