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Document Type

Article in Response to Controversy

Abstract

In 2007, the state of Oklahoma celebrated its centennial year. In 1907, Oklahoma was admitted as the 46th state of the union of the United States, an act that simultaneously joined what had previously been two separate territories – Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. For a great many people, this highly politicized event marked a joyous passage, the result of much debate and compromise and the culmination of sacrifice and success. Yet both at the time of Oklahoma’s statehood and one hundred years later during the centennial celebrations, not all of the people affected by statehood agreed that Oklahoma’s passage into the union as one political body was a positive step forward. To Oklahoma’s native people, statehood was and remains only another dark milestone in a long history of injustice, oppression, and cultural loss. Celebrating the state’s centennial in 2007 was, from such a perspective, more closely akin to celebrating state-sanctioned genocide and theft. One hundred years after Oklahoma’s statehood, these two perspectives had yet to be reconciled, and only one of them – the dominant culture - was given voice in the centennial activities and commemorations that occurred statewide.

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