Award-winning, Native American author Tim Tingle is bringing his record-setting author tour to the Altus Public Library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, and to celebrate his visit the library has scheduled the exhibit First Americans, First Oklahomans during the months of September and October.
The First Americans exhibit includes photographic images, reproductions of paintings and documents from major collections throughout Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Western History Collections of the University of Oklahoma, and from the National Museum of the American Indian. The materials are used to illustrate the broad diversity that exists among Oklahoma's dozens of Native American cultures.
"As most Oklahomans are aware, Native Americans are Oklahoma's original residents," said the project's coordinator, Dr. Dianna Everett. The Comanche, Kiowa, Apache, Wichita and Quapaw, basically western or "plains and prairie" tribes called Oklahoma home. These people were generally nomadic hunters. Then is the 1830s dozens of eastern tribes -- generally farmers -- were forced to move west when the U.S. government took their homes. Various parts of 'Indian Territory' became their new homes. The Cherokee, Choctaw, the Creek, and other eastern tribes were very different from the western tribes and the exhibit points out many of their cultural differences. It also explains that the whole picture of Native American Cultures in Oklahoma today is very complicated, because more than a hundred different tribes lived here by 1900.
Tim Tingle, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and award-winning author and storyteller will be at the Altus Public Library Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. to talk about his book, Walking the Choctaw Road: Stories from Red People. Walking the Choctaw Road is the 2005 winner of Oklahoma Read Oklahoma, a statewide centennial reading and discussion program sponsored by the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. The book is now available for checkout at the library.
Over a 25-year period Tingle has collected historical, traditional stories and personal stories from tribal members throughout the country and may be found in his book.
Tingle is recognized as an important folklorist, having received a master's degree in Native American studies from the University of Oklahoma, for which he now teaches and lead annual week-long travel study course titled "Storytelling: Jonesborough and the Blue Ridge Mountains" and Storytelling in the Land of Enchantment."
For the past four years, Tingle has received the honor of performing traditional Choctaw stories at the Choctaw Nation's annual Labor Day Celebration, prior to Chief Gregory Pyle's Annual Address. As a storyteller, Tingle was honored by the Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and storytellers as "2001 Contemporary Storyteller of the Year." He has also received the 2003 John Henry Faulk Award for "outstanding contributions to the art of storytelling," and was a featured storyteller at the 2002 National Storytelling Festival.
From June through November of this year, Tim will make more than 80 author visits to libraries and schools throughout the state as part of the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma project.
For more information about the exhibit, First Americans, First Oklahomans, or Tim Tingle's author visit to the library, call 477-2890.