Medicine Park’s Aquarium celebrates Native Americans

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 6:03 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - For the first time, Medicine Park’s Aquarium and Natural Sciences center is celebrating with the rest of the world, the arts, traditions and ceremonies of Native Americans.

Medicine Park’s Aquarium and Natural Sciences center education director Kobe Louis is hoping to bring Comanches together to celebrate their culture, but more importantly, teach non-tribal citizens about the tribe’s heritage.

“I think it’s important because we bring awareness to our culture, tell people about our traditions, our songs, our dances, educate them about that,” Louis said. “You know, were in the state of Oklahoma, a lot of Native American tribes live here.”

What’s so special about the aquarium is that native species are featured in every exhibit, from the fish, to the otters, even the plants.

So, Louis thought it would be the perfect place to bring together the people and the animals that once, were the only thing here.

Other tribal members were thrilled to help out with the event, and offered help to keep the Comanche traditions alive.

“So, we reached out to them and they were than happy to help us.,” Louis said. “Martin Flores, with the I Am Indian program, he got us our dancers and singers for us. We just reached out to different people in the community really.”

While organizers will be expecting a fun and spirited day, people will be educated on a serious a topic.

There are thousands of missing and murdered indigenous people, something Medicine Park’s Aquarium and Natural Sciences center education assistant Tristen Wauqua says people need to be aware of.

“We decided to invite the Southwest chapter of Oklahoma to come and talk about our MMIP, MMIW, because it’s not really broadcasted as much as it needs to be,” Wauqua said. “So we wanted to educate the people on MMIW as well.”

The event will begin with an opening ceremony, everyone being “smoked off” or cleansed with cedar and prayer.

The celebration will take place tomorrow at Medicine Park’s Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center, located at 1 Aquarium Drive.

It’s from 10 to 4 p.m., so if you ever wondered how to build a tee-pee or what exactly a hand game is, you know where to be.

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