As part of its goal to be a cross-cultural unifier for area residents, the Gathering Place is tribes and Indigenous artists from across the region for the inaugural Oklahoma Tribal Celebration.
Planned in conjunction with the Greater Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission, the free event is scheduled for Nov. 9 from 1-6 p.m.
“We want to really embrace Tulsa’s Native heritage,” Gathering Place Executive Director Tony Moore said, acknowledging the park’s location on Muscogee (Creek) land. “We want to make this an annual event.”
Among the confirmed participating tribes are the Cherokee Nation, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Osage Nation, Otoe-Missouria Tribe, the Quapaw Tribe and the Sac and Fox Nation.
Each participating tribe gets a section of the park to put their traditions and culture on display however they see fit to provide an immersive experience. In order to provide a more intimate experience, the celebration will not cover the park’s entire 66.5 acres, but will instead be set up in a loop to allow attendees to travel seamlessly from one tribe’s area to the next.
In addition to arts and crafts, storytelling, stickball, cooking demonstrations and documentary screenings are planned for the afternoon. Film screenings will be at the Boathouse and art installations will be set up closer to the beach area along the Arkansas River. On the culinary side, in addition to two food trucks, Nico Albert, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and the executive chef at Tulsa’s Duet Restaurant, will be offering a special menu for the event at the park’s restaurant, Vista.
The evening will feature a Native fashion show and a concert on the QuikTrip Great Lawn from DJ Feenix, local hip hop group Wotko, Crow blues guitarist Cary Morin the Levi Platero Band and the Southwest Blues Rockers.
“In the midst of fun, it’s a cultural sharing event,” Moore said. “This is going to be a respectful presentation for our Native neighbors. It is not a political event, but we do want to incorporate some social consciousness into a blended day of fun. If we have a young child leaving the event who is now more aware of our state’s rich tribal history, then we met our goal.”
This marks the second year that the Tulsa park has brought in programming in conjunction with Native American Heritage Month. As part of its 100-day concert series in honor of its grand opening, the Gathering Place hosted A Tribe Called Red in November 2018.