The First Americans Museum opened recently in Oklahoma City to great fanfare in way of a celebration of the cultures of the First Nations people.
I had often wondered what Oklahoma meant, and it is a Choctaw term meaning either `honoured people’ or `red people’, depending on with whom you speak.
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Oklahoma City was chosen as the location for the museum as 39 distinct tribal nations currently reside in Oklahoma today. That wasn’t always the case, as many of the groups were forcibly moved to Oklahoma many decades ago.
The First Americans Museum celebrates the shared American history of those nations through the collective stories of their people.
Oklahoma is an ideal location for the museum, due to its location.
The state is bordered by Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest, so is central in areas that were the traditional homes of the First Nations people. In 1907 Oklahoma became the 46th state to enter the union.
The museum is a celebration of the original peoples’ resiliency—told from the perspective of First Americans. Exhibitions are designed to engage visitors of all ages through sight, sound and touch. It is a very interactive place, which enhances the visitor experience.
The 270-degree Origins Theatre presents four tribal Origin Stories scripted, narrated and animated by Native community members. Moving Fire audio pods are storytelling experiences that honour their oral histories. They evoke authentic stories—both tragic and triumphant—that describe Native peoples’ experiences in ancestral lands, the hardship of removal and assimilation and hopes for the future.
The First Americans Museum promotes awareness and educates the broader public about the unique cultures, diversity, history, contributions, and resilience of the First American nations.
The 175,000 sqft museum is located at 659 First Americans Boulevard in Oklahoma City.