A celebration honoring the new American Quarter featuring legendary Osage prima ballerina Maria Tallchief will be held on Sunday, Oct. 29 from 1-5 p.m. at the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum.
Special guests include Marilynn Malerba, the U.S. Treasurer and 18th Chief of the Mohegan Nation, Elise Paschen, Maria’s daughter who is a world-renowned poet and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She will also offer a book signing during the event.
Other special guests include the Smithsonian Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, Kevin Gover (Pawnee), as well as Misty Copeland, former principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre and the first African American woman to earn the position in the company’s history.
The event will feature the unveiling of a new bronze statue of Marjorie Tallchief, Maria’s younger sister. The event is free and open to the public.
Additional performances will be held by the Wahzhazhe Ballet and students from Daposka Ahnkodapi, the Osage Nation’s private elementary school. Children’s book readings and activities will be provided by staff from the U.S. Mint and the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Museum.
About the quarter
“The Maria Tallchief Quarter” is the 10th coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program and features Maria in balletic pose from one of her break-out roles, “The Firebird.” Her Osage name is etched on the coin, an act of tribal sovereignty guided by numerous Osage leaders, including Dr. Herman Mograine Lookout, Vann Bighorse, and Chad Renfro, according to a prepared release. Her name, “Wa-Xthe-Thoṉba,” is etched on the coin and translates to “Two Standards.” The name was given to Tallchief by the Osage Tribal Council when the state of Oklahoma created “Maria Tallchief Day” on June 29, 1953.
The name was selected by her grandmother, Eliza Bigheart Tall Chief, to reflect Tallchief’s life in two worlds – as an Osage woman who danced to traditional songs and as a prima ballerina who danced her way into the hearts of ballet lovers worldwide, according to the release. Seventy years later, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum will proclaim Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, Maria and Marjorie Tallchief Day.
Maria Tallchief is considered America’s first major prima ballerina, an accomplishment amplified by the fact that she is also the first Indigenous woman to earn the rank. Maria was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996 and received a National Medal of Arts in 1999. Maria joins the short list of exceptionally accomplished women featured on the United States quarter, including Wilma Mankiller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, Celia Cruz, and more.
The celebration is in partnership with the U.S. Mint, the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum and the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum.
For more information, contact the Osage Nation Communications Department at email@example.com or call (918) 770-3931.