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April 13, 2014

Hundreds celebrate Native American art

NORMAN — Hundreds celebrated Native American arts and culture during the Festival of the Four Winds on Saturday at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History.

The free all-day festival, hosted by the American Indian Institute at the University of Oklahoma with the Jacobson Foundation and the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, brought together Oklahoma tribes and Native American artists in a day of learning and activity.

“It’s just a neat cultural experience and many nations coming together to really celebrate Native American culture,” AII Program Planner Chelsea Wesner said.

All 39 Oklahoma tribes were invited to attend the inaugural festival, Wesner said, with the goal of highlighting the uniqueness of each tribe. Six tribes attended the festival with informational booths, including the Comanche Nation, Quapaw Tribe, Choctaw Nation, Ponca Nation and Iowa Tribe.

“Each tribe has its own language, traditions and is very much a living culture,” Wesner said.

Gwen Postoak, with the Chickasaw Nation Arts and Humanities program, sat at a table with a variety of products available for guests, including a Chickasaw children’s story book and a coloring book featuring both English and Chickasaw languages.

“It fosters better understanding with those around you and those you share the world with,” Postoak said about the importance of sharing her culture with others. “The more we can learn about each other, it’s just better cohesiveness.”

Su-min Huang, Moore resident, attended the festival with her daughter Hailey Page, 8. Huang said her daughter has Cherokee ancestry, and she hopes bringing her to festivals like this will develop a greater interest in her family’s history.

“I always think the American Indian culture is very beautiful and I love their art, and she is kind of part of them,” Huang said. “And I think she should know where she’s from, even though it’s just a little bit.”

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