Each tribe has its own name in their respective native language.
The way First Americans have been referred to by others has changed
• “Indians” was commonly used but is not historically accurate.
• “Native Americans” emerged but many nationalities born in America
considered themselves to be native Americans also.
• A shift to “American Indians” was embraced to infuse new layers
of meaning to the term.
• Younger generations have preferred the terms “Native” or “Indigenous.”
There is no one reference that can adequately address all the complexities
of so many diverse nations, in one name. First Americans Museum
(FAM) connects to the geographic location known today as the Americas.
We have always been here.
FAM is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the Crossroads of America, the confluence on Interstates 35, 40, 235 and 44. Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city in the state of Oklahoma, USA. FAM is positioned along the Oklahoma River across from downtown.
FAM serves as a starting point to explore First American attractions throughout Oklahoma.
The museum originated as a project of the State of Oklahoma and is now being completed through a partnership between the State of Oklahoma and The City of Oklahoma City, with help of a Chickasaw Nation subsidiary, the American Indian Cultural Center Foundation, and numerous donors. The American Indian Cultural Center Foundation will operate the museum on behalf of the City, and AICCM Land Development, LLC will develop the surrounding property.
39 First Americans Nations in Oklahoma Today
Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Caddo Nation, Cherokee Nation, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Comanche Nation, Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe of Indians, Eastern Shawnee Tribe, Euchee (Yuchi) Tribe of Indians, Fort Sill Apache Tribe, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Kaw Nation of Oklahoma, Kialegee Tribal Town, Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, Kiowa Tribe, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Modoc Tribe, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Osage Nation, Otoe-Missouria Tribe, Ottawa Tribe, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, Sac & Fox Nation, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, Shawnee Tribe, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Tonkawa Tribe, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Wyandotte Nation.
Twelve Linguistic Families
Algonquian, Athapascan, Caddoan, Iroquoian, Tanoan, Muskogean, Penutian, Jiwere (Siouan), Dhegiha (Siouan), Tonkawan, Uchean, Uto-Aztecan
The museum aligns with the cardinal directions, as First Americans have done for thousands of years. Seasonal programming is planned during these special times of year to celebrate the winter and summer solstice as well as the spring and autumnal equinox.
The iconic earthen mound pays tribute to the great mound-builder civilizations dating back to around 500 A.D. The walk to the top of the mound is steeped in metaphor, representing life’s journey and our relationship to the cosmos, including the movement of the sun, moon, and stars. The peak of the Mound is symbolic of the arduous journeys of triumph and tragedy experienced by Native peoples during removal to Indian Territory. Here, the visitor is rewarded with an incredible view of downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma River, and Boathouse District. The mound cradles the outdoor Festival Grounds featuring activities including powwows, stick-ball games, concerts, and cultural festivals.
This east facing entry gate aligns with the rising sun. The two dramatic inclining walls rise to 40′ and are built from Mesquabuck stone. This stone characterized by its amber and white strata, carries the name of the Potawatomi Chief Mes’kwah-buk, whose name signifies the color of the sky at sunrise and sunset. ated tribes were one of the tribes indigenous to this place. Structurally, the Hall of the People is comprised of ten columns with each column representing the estimated ten miles a day traveled daily by Native people from original homelands to Indian Territory, during forced removal. It provides a stunning view of the winter and summer solstice as well as the spring and autumnal equinox. It serves as a programming space and also functions as the largest special events venue.
This is one of the most visible architectural features on the site. It is located at the intersection of the earthen mound and man-made architecture taking its design inspiration from the traditional Wichita Grasshouse. The Wichita and Affiliated tribes were one of the tribes indigenous to this place. Structurally, the Hall of the People is comprised of ten columns with each column representing the estimated ten miles a day traveled daily by Native people from original homelands to Indian Territory, during forced removal. It provides a stunning view of the winter and summer solstice as well as the spring and autumnal equinox. It serves as a programming space and also functions as the largest special events venue.This monumental entry also honors ancestors who made the courageous journey from tribal homelands across America to “Indian Territory.” The variation in stones serves as a metaphor for the distinction amongst nations who were removed to this place.
Johnson Fain Architects: Master Planning and Building Concepts, Los Angeles.
Hornbeek, Blatt Architects, Co-Prime, Edmond.
175,000 sq. ft.
First Americans Museum (FAM) welcomes the donation of items to our collections. Each donation request is thoughtfully considered by the Senior Curator, the Director, and the appropriate governing committees to ensure the gift is in line with FAM’s mission.
All acquisitions must comply with the Collections Management Policy to ensure proper care can be provided.
If you are interested in donating to FAM complete this Acquisition Proposal Form, providing as much detail as possible to begin the donation process.