Tribal Centers of Oklahoma

Oklahoma contains a high Native-American population and therefore is rich in history and tradition. The various tribes are scattered throughout the state, and all have some town or city which they view as their tribal headquarters. In this article, I want to take a look at several of the important tribal centers in the state of Oklahoma.

If you visit Oklahoma, keep in mind that many of these tribal centers have museums for you and your family to enjoy. In addition, many run casinos and bingo halls to generate revenue for their tribe. So be sure and stay a while and enjoy all that the Native American culture has to offer.

Wewoka, Oklahoma – Located in Seminole County, Wewoka is a city with 3,562 residents. Not only is it the county seat, but it is also the major settlement of the modern Seminole Nation. The word Wewoka means “barking waters,” and the city was named by the Seminoles after a small falls north of the city.

Founded in 1866, the city is one of the oldest in the state. Soon after the Civil War, Wewoka was adopted by the Seminoles as their seat of government.

In March of 1923, oil was discovered just south of town. This eventually resulted in the notable Seminole Oil Fields. Tahlequah, Oklahoma – Located in Cherokee County, Tahlequah is a city of 14,458 residents. It is the county seat of Cherokee County, and it is also the capital of the Cherokee Nation. In addition, it is the capital of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.

Located in the “Lakes Country” of Oklahoma, it is the oldest municipality in Oklahoma. Centered near the Illinois River Valley, Tahlequah is also very near Lake Fort Gibson and Lake Tenkiller.

Tahlequah is also the home of Northeastern State University. Cherokee County was the setting for the classic novel Where the Red Fern Grows, and the movie version was also filmed there.

Okmulgee, Oklahoma – Located in Okmulgee County, this city has a population of 13,022. It is the county seat, and it has also been the capital of the Creek Nation since the Civil War. In the Creek language, Okmulgee means “Boiling Water.” The Creek Indians chose this site to live because they believed that tornadoes would not strike. So far, there has yet to be a report of a tornado.

Notable residents include Oscar Pettiford (jazz musician), Will Sampson (actor), Bill Self (college basketball coach), and Samuel Checote (the first elected chief of the Creek Nation post-Civil War).

Ada, Oklahoma – Located in Pontotoc County, Ada is both the county seat and the headquarters of the Chickasaw Nation Indian tribe. According to the 2000 census, the population is 16,008.

Their high school football team, The Ada Cougars, have won more state championships than any other school in Oklahoma (19 in all). Ada is also the home of East Central University, a 4-year learning institution.

Notable residents of Ada include Mark Gastineau, M.G. Kelly, Oral Roberts, Blake Shelton, Jeremy Shockey, and Jody Newberry.

When you’re in these cities, be sure to check out the casinos and bingo halls. They’re lots of fun, and the bingo element can be enjoyed by the entire family. To get you started, I’ve even included a few links to some of the best places to go. Good luck.

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