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Press Release

April 16, 2019

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

LaDonna Harris to be featured speaker at the 2019 Oklahoma History and Preservation Conference

OKLAHOMA CITY — LaDonna Harris, American Indian activist and founder of Americans for Indian Opportunity, will be headlining the presenters at the 2019 Oklahoma History and Preservation Conference. The 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. Saturday, April 20, is the deadline to register for the conference.

The keynote speaker for the luncheon on Thursday, April 25, will be LaDonna Harris. Known for her American Indian activism, she is an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation. Also an advocate for women’s rights, Harris was an original member of the National Women’s Political Caucus. In 1980 she served as the vice presidential nominee for the Citizens Party ticket with Barry Commoner. Harris has served as the U.S. representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Among the many boards that she serves on is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Membership in the OHS is not required to participate. 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.

Other presenters will include 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 induct four people into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame. 

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 selections 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. Also on Thursday there will be a book signing featuring several Oklahoma authors, including Michael Hightower, James Finck, Paul Lambert, Larry Johnson and Robert Dorman.

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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