East Gate Entry Symbolism

Opening 2017


Native Storytelling
Native peoples have always recounted history through the art of storytelling. Sometimes this was conveyed through oral traditions, other times important lessons or occasions were recorded in petroglyphs, incorporated into weavings, pottery and beadwork designs. This pre-writing could be easily interpreted by those capable of reading this visual language. The East Gate Entry continues this storytelling tradition with the stone walls welcoming and guiding guests into the cultural center experience.

Tribute to Removals
The stones are a tribute to those indigenous to the geographic region now known as Oklahoma and honors ancestors who made the courageous journey from tribal homelands throughout North America to “Indian Territory.” The variation in stones serves as a metaphor for the distinction amongst nations who were removed to this place.  As you pass through this powerful intersection of cultural importance, you will also marvel at the craftsmanship that distinguishes this poignant architectural tribute to the unprecedented convergence of 67 American Indian cultures in Oklahoma.

Mesquabuck Stone
The Mesquabuck stone, characterized by its visible red and white strata, carries the name of the Potawatomi chief Mes’kwah-buk, whose name signifies the red color of the sky at sunrise and sunset. The Mesquabuck stone is from the Ouachita sediment of the Pennsylvanian Period, dating the stones back approximately 300 million years. Chosen for its splendor and durability, each stone holds a deep reverence honoring the ancestors of American Indian people in Oklahoma whose perseverance and resilience has enabled Native cultures to survive in Oklahoma as independent sovereign nations.

Alignment with Equinox
The East Gate entrance is a 113’ walk through two dramatic inclining stone walls rising to 40'.  The East Gate align with the sunrise of the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes. The sun rises directly in the center of the gate on these astronomically significant days.