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WEB EXCLUSIVE! Native American sites in Grand Central

Oklahoma Native American sites

Standing Bear Museum and Education Center

Ponca City, Okla.
A 22-foot-tall bronze statue of Ponca chief Standing Bear is the centerpiece of a 63-acre park that honors the heritage of the six Native American tribes around Ponca City: Osage, Pawnee, Otoe-Missouria, Kaw, Tonkawa and Ponca. The statue fronts a 60-foot-diameter circular viewing court with an eternal flame in the middle of a reflecting pool at its center.

A walking trail features audio stations with information about the tribes, and a museum has artifacts and artwork of the tribes.

Osage Nation Museum
Pawhuska, Okla.
The free Osage Nation Museum, the first museum in the world owned by an American Indian tribe, opened in 1938 in a sandstone structure that was originally built in 1872 as a school and dormitory. The museum’s two galleries house more than 6,000 objects that represent the Osage culture from the 1600s to the present.

Arkansas Native American sites

Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park

Scott, Ark.
The three preserved Indian mounds that remain from the original 18 at Toltec Mounds are the tallest mounds in Arkansas. The earthworks are the remains of a ceremonial and governmental complex that existed from 650 to 1050. The park visitors center has exhibits about and artifacts from the site. Park interpreters will lead guided walking tours or tram tours for groups.

Missouri Native American Sites

Museum of Westward Expansion
St. Louis
The Museum of Westward Expansion, which sits beneath the St. Louis Gateway Arch, has several interesting exhibits about Western Indians, including an actual-size tepee and Indian peace medals carried by the Lewis and Clark expedition. Animated figures of Indian agent William Clark, Oglala Sioux chief Red Cloud, Sergeant Banks of the 10th U.S. Cavalry and Charles Barber, chief engraver for the U.S. Mint, tell the story of 19th-century peace medal diplomacy.

The museum’s exhibits also demonstrate the lives of farmers, buffalo hunters, miners and others who played roles in the nation’s westward expansion.

The museum is part of the National Park Service’s Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

Kansas Native American sites

Native American Heritage Museum
Highland, Kan.
The Native American Heritage Museum at Highland Mission Historic Site features Native American culture, history and folk art. It includes a hands-on center for children and adults, and offers workshops, tours and a gift shop. The museum is located in a former Presbyterian mission built in 1845 on the Oregon-California Trail to educate Iowa, Sac and Fox children. Through the interactive exhibits, Native Americans tell stories in their own words.

Pawnee Indian Museum

Republic, Kan.
The round, stone-faced Pawnee Indian Museum, which tells the story of a late 1700s Pawnee village, is built around the excavated floor of a large Pawnee earth lodge. A sacred bundle used in Indian ceremonies hangs over the remains of the lodge’s altar. The museum is at the site of a large, fortified village of the Republic band of Pawnee. An interpretive trail winds through depressions marking other lodges. The site is operated by the Kansas State Historical Society.