Hidden Oklahoma: “Early Wichita Sites and Fortifications in Oklahoma” presentation by Dr. Richard Drass
October 4, 2 p.m.
On Wednesday, October 4, at 2 p.m. (Central Time), the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) will hold a free webinar on “Early Wichita Sites and Fortifications in Oklahoma,” presented by Dr. Richard Drass, emeritus professor at the University of Oklahoma.
Common ideas on early Native American life in the prairie plains of Oklahoma frequently conjure images of mobile Native groups such as the Comanche living in tepees and hunting bison on horseback. Although bison were an essential resource for most people in prehistory, groups such as the Wichita by AD 1000, established permanent villages along rivers and streams throughout the state, growing crops such as corn, beans, and squash as part of their economy. In 1759, Spanish forces from what is now Texas attacked a large Wichita village on the Red River in southern Oklahoma. The Wichita easily repulsed this attack, but Spanish accounts provide our earliest description of a Native fortification in Oklahoma. Archaeological research at this site, now known as Longest, discovered the remains of the fort in the 1960s. Since then research at this site and several others across Oklahoma has revealed evidence that the Wichita began building forts to defend against other Native tribes as early as 1450 or 1500, well before the arrival of Europeans in the area. This presentation discusses current information on how these forts were built and used.