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Press Release

March 27, 2019

Contact: Larry O’Dell
Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-6676

2019 Oklahoma History and Preservation Conference Celebrates “Women Who Built History”

OKLAHOMA CITY — The 2019 Oklahoma History and Preservation Conference, sponsored by the Oklahoma Historical Society, will take place on the campus of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO), in Chickasha on April 24, 25 and 26. The conference will feature three tours, two luncheons, one reception, a celebration of Chickasaw storyteller Te Ata and presentations relating to the theme of “Women Who Built History” by dozens of speakers.

The Oklahoma Historical Society is celebrating the centennial of Oklahoma women receiving the right to vote with exhibits and programming. The Oklahoma History and Preservation Conference serves as a major part of this endeavor to recognize women’s contributions to the state. USAO is the former Oklahoma College for Women and educated many of these remarkable Oklahoma women. Today, USAO is the only college in Oklahoma to have its entire campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.

Headlining the presenters will be LaDonna Harris, president of Americans for Indian Opportunity who is known for her American Indian activism, and Valerie Settles, the director of the University of Central Oklahoma Interior Design Program. Karen Keith, former KJRH news anchor and current Tulsa County commissioner will serve as emcee of the annual awards luncheon on Friday, April 26, at noon. The awards luncheon will celebrate accomplishment in Oklahoma history and preservation and induct four people into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame. 

The other presenters will speak during the course of 18 presentation sessions. On Wednesday the presenters include Catherine Montgomery, Elizabeth Windel and Loretta Jackson. The Thursday speakers include Daniel Fields, Erin Brown, Sara Werneke, Marva Ellard, Glyna Olson, Anna Davis, Wendi Bevitt, and Gina Sofola. The plenary session on Thursday will feature preservation specialist Cynthia Savage and USAO President John Feaver. Making presentations on Friday will be Cady A. Shaw, Stephen A. Dock, Kathy Dickson, Anita Bryant, Margaret Hess, America Meredith, Tanya Finchum, Juliana Nykolaiszyn, Pat Cunningham, Ron Frantz, and Christopher C. Gibbs. 

On Thursday, April 25, the Oklahoma Historical Society will partner with the Chickasaw Nation to celebrate famed Chickasaw storyteller Te Ata. Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby and other speakers will share the story of Mary Thompson Fisher, better known as Te Ata (1895–1995). Her talent for performance was discovered during her years attending the Oklahoma College for Women (now USAO). Te Ata, meaning “Bearer of the Morning,” captivated audiences around the globe with her expressive portrayals of Native culture through storytelling, songs and readings. This evening program will feature excerpts from the 2017 film “Te Ata.”

Also on Thursday, April 25, the OHS will sponsor a bus tour to SIA: The Comanche Nation Ethno-Ornithological Initiative. This unique bird sanctuary and feather repository houses several bird species, and their archives preserve precious Comanche artifacts and documents. Other tours include a tour of the Verden Separate School preservation project and the former Lincoln Separate School in Chickasha, and a tour of the Grady County Museum in downtown Chickasha. There will be a book signing featuring several Oklahoma authors including Michael Hightower, James Finck, Paul Lambert, Larry Johnson and Robert Dorman.

Membership in the OHS is not required to participate, but all conference attendees are asked to register by noon on Saturday, April 20. Detailed information about the conference and registration forms may be obtained at www.okhistory.org/conference, or by contacting Larry O’Dell at 405-522-6676 or lodell@okhistory.org or Angela Spindle at 405-522-0317 or aspindle@okhistory.org.

The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.


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