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Tulsa Native American Day Celebration planned Oct. 11 will be held virtually

Kiowa veterans bring in the colors at the 2018 celebration of Native American Day in Tulsa. Osage News File Photo

Editor’s Note: This event will now be held virtually due to rising COVID-19 cases in the Tulsa area. Event organizers made the decision on Aug. 27 after this article was published and after the September edition of the Osage News went to press.

For 2021, the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission is hosting its Native American Day Celebration at Guthrie Green on Oct. 11 minus a street parade due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The public in-person celebration will take place at the outdoor park venue with presentations including guest speakers, Native artists, exhibition dancing starting at 9 a.m. Guthrie Green is located at 111 E. Reconciliation Way in Tulsa’s Art District. Vendors and food trucks will also be present at the park.

The commission is asking attendees to bring their own lawn chairs and be mindful of social distance measures at the day-long event. This is the first Native American Day Celebration held in person in two years and the fifth annual celebration since the City of Tulsa started hosting the annual event in October 2017.

Cheryl Cohenour, who is the Chair for the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission, said event planning was discussed during an Aug. 17 meeting and changes were made to forgo a planned parade. 

“Due to the COVID (Delta) variant, we thought it would be best to not bus in students for a parade, so we have canceled our parade,” Cohenour said in an email. “We will continue with Native American vendors and the in-person portion of the event with the speakers in the morning and cultural dancing and demonstrations in the afternoon. We will also broadcast virtually the entire event from Guthrie Green and encourage attendees to bring their lawn chairs to watch, socially distancing of course.”

In 2020, the commission held its Native American Day Celebration virtually with pre-recorded videos featuring guest speakers, tribal government leaders, dignitaries and exhibition songs and dancing live-streamed online.

This year’s theme for the City of Tulsa’s Native American Day Celebration is “Rise to Resilience.”

Follow “Tulsa Native American Day” on Facebook for information on vendor space registration and further updates on the celebration events and activities.

Celebrated on the second Monday in October and at the request of the Greater Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission, Tulsa made the switch in September 2017 from Columbus Day to Native American Day with unanimous support from the city council.

Also, on Oct. 11 in collaboration with the Native American Day Celebration, the Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa is hosting its Native American Youth Summit at the nearby Greenwood Cultural Center. The Youth Summit is for students in grades 6-12 and focuses on topics to help Native American youth learn resiliency, life skills, and knowledge for their future.

For more information and to register online for the Youth Summit, visit:


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2021-08-25 00:00:00


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Benny Polacca
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.

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