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Oklahoma’s Native American Cultures

In the late 1800s, many of the tribes of the United States were relocated to Indian Territory. Today the territory is the state of Oklahoma and home to dozens of nations, each with its own culture and history. From one end of the state to the other, there’s no lack of indigenous attractions, historic sites and cultural experiences. Here are some of the most popular.

The Cherokee Heritage Center, TalequahAll three bands of the Cherokee tribe —  the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians —  are represented at the center. The “Trail of Tears” exhibit and the Diligwa Living History Village and Outdoor Museum are both popular with groups.

Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur This attraction features interactive exhibits, cultural demonstrations and an Imax theater.

Red Earth Festival and Museum, Oklahoma CityThe Red Earth Festival, held annually in June, is the largest dance competition in North America. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the festival. The museum is open year-round and features a collection of over 1,400 traditional and contemporary items.

Standing Bear State Park, Museum and Education Center, Ponca CityThe Ponca chief Standing Bear was the subject of the first civil rights case in the United States when he argued that Native Americans are people and entitled to the rights and protections of the United States. Today, visitors can learn more about his story and Native American culture through the tribal displays, exhibits and artwork featured at the site.

Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum, Fort SillThe fort was a frontier army post in the 1800s that became the destination for many Native Americans forced from their homes during the period of Indian removal. One of the most famous residents was the famous Apache warrior Geronimo, whose grave is on the property.