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Towana Spivey will review Silent Witness: The Diary of a Historic Tree at Fort Sill for the Coffee Cup Bunch of the Friends of the Library at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 2, at the Altus Public Library, .
Silent Witness is both a narrative and a graphic history of a very important frontier army post that was established in Indian Territory in 1869,” explained Spivey, author of the book. “I chose to tell Fort Sill’s history from the perspective of a 250 year-old Bur Oak tree that has stood in the center of that history situated along the banks of the Medicine Bluffs Creek.”


“Presenting history in a different context can provide a learning opportunity,” Spivey said. “It’s better than just supplying dates, names and historical events.”


Silent Witness shares details about the Native American tribes whose villages surrounded Fort Sill exploring how the establishment of the post altered their way of life. The book also covers the conflict between Buffalo Soldiers and the Boomers who tried to illegally take Indian land as well as Custer’s being stationed at the Post during Sheridan’s winter campaign of the late 1860s.


“You will want to take advantage of this opportunity to hear Towana’s truly unique approach to presenting the history of the nation, Oklahoma, and Fort Sill,” commented Jennie Buchanan, program chair for the Coffee Cup Bunch.


Spivey’s career stretches back to 1974 when he served as an assistant director and curator of anthropology at the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton. Later, he served as the Director and Curator of the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum for the U. S. Army. Today, he is an iconic figure as Fort Sill’s sage historian. He has helped preserve more than 50 frontier buildings; united the 7th U.S. Cavalry, Troop L descendants (an all-Indian military unit); and served as a historical adviser on two major motion pictures, “Geronimo” and “Windtalkers.”


Spivey’s inquisitive nature always has led him down the path of historic preservation, even as a young man scouring creeks and rivers for arrowheads. He credits his appreciation for history to his parents, who taught him to remember the past while growing up in Madill.


The Coffee Cup Bunch meets on the first Wednesday of each month. The meetings are free and open to the public.

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