NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
Despite what a 30-second sound bite or “tunnel vision” information says about the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, it needs to be finished.
In Oklahoma, we are not quitters, and just because it’s taken a long time frame doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to come to fruition.
Many obstacles have been thrown at it since it started as a state agency. That’s right, folks — it’s a state agency, but it has been tossed around in the “political football” arena quite a bit over the last decade. To complete this project, it was going to take federal funds, state funds, city funds and a lot of private donations.
As we all know, over the last decade we’ve had cutbacks on federal bonds, a recession, several political changes in key positions and movement in the private donation sector.
Even with all this, we can still make this happen by matching the $40 million of private donations with $40 million from our state of Oklahoma.
The estimated return is $325 million in the short term and economic growth in southeast Oklahoma City and the museum will be a worldwide destination point for visitors from other countries who seek this knowledge.
I believe we sometimes forget that just barely over 100 years ago, this was Indian Territory.
All of the tribes have donated money and pledged collections for special showings — some have never before been seen in public.
A Smithsonian-comparable museum and event center to honor our state and nation’s Indian heritage, combined with the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center, Oklahoma City Memorial Museum and Sam Noble Natural History Museum, as well as the 45th Infantry, Softball Hall of Fame and Firefighters’ Museum, will make Oklahoma a destination not matched by anyone.
We aren’t quitters — let’s take this political football, take the private donations, cross the goal line and win this thing. The benefits will be enjoyed by our kids and grandchildren.
The state auditor gave it a clear audit — tourism is our third-largest economic sector, and the legislative session ends in May.
Contact your state senators and representatives and urge them to find a way to do this project.Now is the time to show vision, leadership, and tenacity — because Oklahomans aren’t quitters.
School Board Member