Oklahoma – Cowboys & Indians

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Both of Oklahoma’s allotted representatives in the Nation’s Statuary Hall are Native Americans (Will Rogers and Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee written language). Today there are 39 recognized Indian tribes in the state, few of which are originally from the region, and all with diverse histories. Our exploration of the great state of Oklahoma emphasizes the heritage of what was once known as Indian Territory, along with its cowboy culture which survives today.

Tour highlights:

  • Stockyards Rodeo Opry
  • National Cowboy & Western Heritage Hall of Fame
  • Oklahoma City National Memorial
  • Land Run Monument
  • National Weather Center
  • Chickasaw Cultural Center
  • Will Rogers Memorial Museum
  • Cherokee Heritage Center
  • Trail of Tears Museum
  • Adam's Corner Rural Village
  • Sequoyah cabin
  • Will Rogers Birthplace
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Tour Itinerary:

Day # 1 - Arrivals

Participants will be met at the Oklahoma City airport and transported to our hotel. We will kick off our Cowboys & Indians adventure with a welcome dinner in Stockyard City and take in a performance of the Stockyards Rodeo Opry. Overnight: Oklahoma City. (D)

Day # 2 - Western Heritage

Our first stop today is the world-class National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, containing one of the largest collections of contemporary Western art in the country. In more than 200,000 feet of exhibit space, it also displays an extensive barbed wire collection, Western cattle town (ca. 1900), Cowboy Hall of Fame featuring the stories and lives of legends of the West, and one of the most extensive American Indian fine arts collections in the country. A visit to the impressive museum store will cap our visit here. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring the city further with a knowledgeable local guide.  Highlights include the Oklahoma City Memorial, Bricktown, and the heroic-sized statues depicting Oklahoma’s famous land rushes – the last in America.  Overnight again in Oklahoma City. (B)

Day # 3 - National Weather Center / Chickasaw Nation

Today we’ll head south to the fascinating National Weather Center, where multiple organizations work together in partnership to improve understanding of events occurring in Earth’s atmosphere over a wide range of time and space scales.* Next we will move further south to the Chickasaw Cultural Center where we will watch the Chickasaw story unfold before our eyes through powerful performances, reenactments, demonstrations, collections and exhibits at one of the largest and most extensive tribal cultural centers in the United States. Participate in traditional dancing, eat traditional food, and learn about one of the 39 Indian Nations that now call Oklahoma home. None of these tribes has reservations, but we will be overnighting on tribal lands at the Chickasaw Retreat atop the Arbuckle Mountains near Sulphur, Oklahoma. (B,L,D)

Day # 4 - Horseback riding / Will Rogers Memorial Museum

Before leaving Chickasaw Country we will take a guided trail ride in the Arbuckle Mountains. Riding instructions promoting safe, effective horsemanship skills are included. After our morning exercise we will embark on a journey to the eastern part of the state for a look at the Cherokee Nation in the Claremore area.  This evening we will visit the Will Rogers Memorial Museum honoring the life and times of one of America’s most beloved entertainers, who was also a Cherokee.  The day will be capped by a chuckwagon dinner on the grounds of the memorial.  (B,D)

Day # 5 - Cherokee History Tour

This morning our native guide will join us for the first of two full days in the Cherokee Nation. First we head to historic downtown Tahlequah, the Cherokee National Capitol, where we’ll tour the Supreme Court Museum, Cherokee National Prison, and the former Cherokee Female Seminary with its impressive Sequoyah statue and exhibit. A special treat is in store at noon: a traditional Cherokee meal (you’ll be surprised by what’s in it!) The afternoon today is devoted to the outstanding Cherokee Heritage Center and Museum which houses the Trail of Tears Exhibit. We’ll immerse ourselves in Cherokee culture by participating in living history activities in the Ancient Village and Adam’s Corner Rural Village. Overnight again in Claremore (B,L)

Day # 6 - Cherokee Old Settlers Tour

This morning we’ll begin with a visit to the Will Roger’s Birthplace, Dog Iron Ranch near Oolagah, for some trick roping lessons on the site where famous American humorist and cowboy, Will Rogers, grew up.  Prior to the Cherokee Removal from their native home in North Carolina, several Cherokees voluntarily relocated to Arkansas (1808) and then to Indian Territory (1828) . These people are called Old Settlers and we’ll devote the afternoon to learning more about them. We’ll visit the original 1820 log cabin constructed by Sequoyah, silversmith and inventor of the Cherokee syllabary. Overnight again in Claremore. (B,D)

Day # 7 - Departures

As we head back to Oklahoma City and the airport, we’ll follow Oklahoma’s iconic Route 66, and visit some sites made famous during the first half of the 20th century.  Afternoon departures.  (B)

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Happy Trails!