Exploring the Rich Culture of Native American Festivals in Oklahoma

Explore Oklahoma's vibrant Native American culture & heritage through festivals like Standing Bear Powwow & Seminole Nation Museum Festival.

Exploring the Rich Culture of Native American Festivals in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is home to a plethora of Native American festivals that honor the culture and heritage of the six tribes of north-central Oklahoma. From the Standing Bear Powwow in Ponca City to the Labor Day Festival in Tushka Homma, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the vibrant culture of the Native Americans. The Standing Bear Powwow is one of the oldest and most important Native American events in the country. Held in late September, it brings together more than 150 of the best Native American artists from across the country.

At least 40 tribes are represented at the event, where works of art range from ceramics and paints to beads and basketry. The opening ceremony includes a parade at 11 in the morning, with performances by Apsaalooke Nation hip-hop artist and dancer Supaman, and Tulsa-based artist and Cherokee Nation citizen Nathalie Standingcloud as sheriff of this year's parade. The Seminole Nation Museum Festival is another popular event held in Wewoka. Started by the Rotary Club of Wewoka in 1976, it pays homage to the syrupy frontier delight with historic reenactors, demonstrations of pioneer and Native American lives, crafts for children, native foods and live entertainment on the museum grounds.

In downtown Wewoka, festivities include a parade, a car show, an art and photography show, more than 150 vendor booths and a 5 km race. The Chickasaw White House Festival is held in honor of Governor Johnston's birthday. It includes visits to the Chickasaw White House, live music, carriage rides, crafts to do and take away, activities for children, staged shootings and more. The event is held in the old house and honors the birthday of Governor Johnston, who in 1906 became the first governor of Chickasaw appointed by the President of the United States.

Choctaw author and storyteller offers a free workshop to teach teens how to write spooky stories. The workshop is open to all students from eighth to twelfth grade. It also pays tribute to Choctaw soldiers who served in World War I despite not being considered American citizens at that time. The film chronicles how their ingenuity and courage established them as America's original Code Talkers. The Red Earth Festival is one of the most prestigious native dance competitions in the country.

It features more than 1,000 Native American artists and dancers from across North America who celebrate their heritage with the world. The Choctaw Nation Museum also remains open for much of the festival, housing historical artifacts and exhibits on Choctaw culture. The only prehistoric American Indian archaeological site open to the public is located in Choctaw Village. During Archaeology Month (October), visitors can enjoy native dances and demonstrations on stickball, banana making, flint, goldsmithery and storytelling. Bacone Indian University also organizes indigenous worship and singing of native hymns, a stickball demonstration and an indigenous film festival during October. The first indigenous comics convention in Cherokee Nation will feature artists from the first Americans, a cosplay contest for all ages, panel discussions on native pop culture, comics and cosplay, as well as a screening and panel of Inage'i - an original animated series in Cherokee language.

Other names such as Vince Gill, Neal McCoy and 38 Special have also provided entertainment at this festival. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma holds its Labor Day Festival in Tushka Homma every year. One of its highlights is a Choctaw Nation Pow Wow that attracts hundreds of people from across the country. Finally, Indigenous Peoples' Day is celebrated downtown Oklahoma City with a free event including Red Earth Parade, youth gathering, Native American arts & crafts market, pumpkin dancing and food trucks. Oklahoma is home to an array of festivals that celebrate Native American culture and heritage. From Standing Bear Powwow to Seminole Nation Museum Festival to Chickasaw White House Festival to Red Earth Festival to Indigenous Comics Convention to Labor Day Festival to Indigenous Peoples' Day - there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to experience this vibrant culture firsthand.

Edith Schabot
Edith Schabot

Amateur zombie advocate. Proud social media scholar. Unapologetic internet junkie. Typical beer enthusiast. Devoted music fanatic.

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