OKLAHOMA CAPITOL --- The name Oklahoma is a Choctaw word meaning “red people.” But no matter in what language you say it, Cherokee, Creek, Comanche, Seminole, Kiowa or English, it has the same broader meaning to everyone … home.
The celebration will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Oklahoma Capitol Rotunda. In honor of this year’s celebration, Gov. Brad Henry has proclaimed November 2005 as Native American Heritage Month.
There will be exhibition booths, traditional Native American music and food. Gov. Henry, Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin and Secretary of Human Services Howard H. Hendrick are scheduled to appear at this year’s event.
The master of ceremonies for the celebration is former Director of Indian Education for Tulsa Public Schools Archie Mason, Osage/Cherokee. Rep. Lisa Johnson–Billy, Chickasaw, will deliver the keynote address and Miss Indian Oklahoma 2005 Faith Harjo and Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma 2005 Elizabeth Wright will read the proclamation.
The winners of the Native American Celebration writing contest will be announced and the Oklahoma Spirit Award will be presented to Geneva Woomavoyah Navarro, who has dedicated her life to teaching the Comanche language and is currently a teacher at the Comanche Nation College.
Rep. Johnson–Billy will also be honored with a Spirit Award, and more than a dozen tribal language preservationists from across the state will be honored for their work in keeping Native American languages alive.
The Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the United National Indian Tribal Youth sponsored this year’s event.