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26th Annual Red Earth Festival kicks off a week of Native American culture and celebration

: Matthew Beardon will be among the artists featured at the Red Earth Art Market. Guests can purchase beadwork, basketry, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, paintings, graphics and cultural attire during the juried art show and market. Photo provided

By Darla Shelden
Contributing Writer

The 26th Annual Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival will be held at the Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens, June 8, 9 and 10 in Oklahoma City. More than 1,200 American Indian artists and dancers from throughout North America will come together to celebrate and share the diversity of their heritage.

Guests of the festival can see the work of some of the nation’s most celebrated artists. They can purchase contemporary and traditional examples of beadwork, basketry, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, paintings, graphics and cultural attire during the juried art show and market.

The Red Earth Festival brings together dancers from America’s Northern and Southern tribes in one venue. Red Earth dancers are the elite of Native American dance, each in their own distinctive tribal dress.

Their unique talents will be displayed at one of the most prestigious of all native dance competitions.
Hundreds of representatives in authentic tribal regalia from more than a 100 tribes open the 26thannual Red Earth Festival on Friday morning, June 8 with a grand parade beginning at 10 a.m. There will be drum groups, tribal princesses floats, bands, school groups and community organizations. The parade is free to the public and free for participants.

This year’s new parade route will circle the newly refurbished Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City. The parade will line up in the 500 block of West California. It will proceed south on Walker Avenue to Reno Avenue and will continue east to Robinson. The parade then travels north on Robinson to Sheridan and continues west one block concluding at Hudson.

The Red Earth Art Market opens Friday at 11 a.m., and will be followed by the Grand Entry of Dancers, which is scheduled for noon inside the Cox Convention Center Arena. Dance demonstrations and competitions will be held throughout the weekend.

The 2012 Red Earth Festival joins forces with the Myriad, deadCENTER Film Festival and the Jim Thorpe Native American Games to present a week of art, film and sporting events. The Red Earth Festival and the Myriad Botanical Gardens will present the inaugural Red Earth Invitational Sculpture Show opening Festival weekend and continuing throughout the summer until Sept. 5. Bronze, glass and water sculptures by prestigious Native artists including Janice Albro, Enoch Kelly Haney, Denny Haskew, John Free, and Bill Glass, Jr. will be displayed.

This special exhibition is the first major event scheduled for the 17-acre Myriad Botanical Gardens since its $43 million transformation with new water features, a Grand Lawn, event pavilion, and a children’s garden.

The seven story Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, a cylindrical structure made from 3028 translucent acrylic panels, features a 35-foot waterfall, skywalk and living plant museum with more than 2,000 tropical plants from around the globe.

The deadCENTER Film Festival has scheduled numerous American Indian Films during their 11th annual event June 6-10, including the world premiere of The Daughter of Dawn, a 1920 silent film featuring an all Native cast including a son and daughter of Quanah Parker. Restored by the Oklahoma Historical Society, the film includes a new musical score by Comanche composer Dr. David A. Yeagley for the World Premiere on Sunday June 10 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Also on June 10, the opening of the first Jim Thorpe Native American Games will kickoff a week of competition featuring more than 3,000 Native American athletes. Eleven sporting events throughout the city will include basketball, softball, baseball, tennis, wrestling, and track and field, golf, martial arts, stickball and beach volleyball. The event culminates with closing ceremonies Sunday, June 17 at Remington Park.

Tickets to attend the Red Earth Festival are $10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and youth and free for children under five. Three day passes and group rates are available. Tickets can be purchased online at or in person at the Cox Convention Center Box Office.

For additional information call 405-427-5228, email [email protected] or visit

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