oklahoma city

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Newly printed photos by Native American lensman Horace Poolaw offer rare views of Kiowa life in transition

“A Poolaw Photo, Pictures by an Indian, Horace M. Poolaw, Anadarko, Okla.”

That’s how Horace Poolaw (1906–84), a Kiowa from Caddo County, Oklahoma, stamped the photos of Indian life he sold at fairs and community events.

At a time when most images of Native Americans reflected white perceptions and stereotypes, Poolaw was saying, his photos were shot with an Indian gaze.

Poolaw was one of the first professional Native American photographers to document Indian society, creating a span of images from the 1920s to the ‘50s that record vast changes in his community and his culture. 

But he didn’t label his negatives, and didn’t print many of them. During his lifetime, his pictures were exhibited just once.

In 1989, his daughter Linda brought the negatives to a photo class at Stanford University, launching a process that lead to the Poolaw Photography Project at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, where students scanned and digitized the archive.

Those efforts led to a trove of discoveries, as the community and scholars came together to identify the pictures and put them in context.

For a Love of His People,” the exhibition at the New York’s National Museum of the American Indian (through February 15), features a fascinating array of photos Poolaw shot of his family and his multiracial community.

Documenting an era of shifting identities and traditions for Native Americans, he photographed them in at home, at church, at play (the Carnegie Indians baseball team, the Fort Sills Indians Football team), and at community events, from fairs and parades to military funerals.  

My favorite picture shows the mother-and-daughter duo Sindy Libby Keahbone & Hannah Keahbone, both Kiowa. Poolaw photographed them in Oklahoma City around 1930. 

Hannah was considered a rebel who defied social mores and wore makeup, and here she seems to be doing her best to inflect her tribal ensemble with Flapper chic. Note her subtle adjustment of the headband. 

The gaze may be Indian, but the look on the young woman’s face is universal.

On today’s version of “fucked up laws you didn’t know existed but someone was arrested for it”

It is illegal in Oklahoma City for someone under 18 to own a permanent marker in public.  There was a case in which a 13 year old was arrested in class for having used a permanent marker during an arts and crafts project.  The permanent marker bled through the paper and stained the desk.  The teacher made a citizen’s arrest on the kid and they sent him to juvenile detention.

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This cutie’s name is Protein! She’s 3 years old, has all of her shots, has been spayed, but her time is running out. Her owners are moving to Hawaii and if they can’t find a new home she’ll be put down by August 15th. I can’t have a cat where I’m moving but I would hate to see this poor cat be put down so if anyone in or around the Oklahoma City area is interested please message me!

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Oklahoma City Replaces 'Columbus Day' with 'Indigenous Peoples' Day'
For decades, celebrating 'Columbus Day' has been hotly debated. Many feel Christopher Columbus is largely responsible for the decimation of the Native Americans, and giving him a day of celebration just adds insult to injury. In a progressive move, a town in Oklahoma has changed all that. The Anadarko City Council voted on September 14th to change 'Columbus Day' to 'Indigenous Peoples’ Day.' The vote was unanimous, and from now on, instead of honoring Columbus, the town will honor Native Americans.