Native American statue now stands in campus garden
Members and friends of the OCU community gathered Sept. 6 to dedicate a new garden in the center of campus.
The Chickasaw Garden was built over the course of the summer to provide an appropriate setting for a statue donated to the university by Gov. Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation. Titled "Chickasaw Warrior," the statue was designed by prominent Native American artist Enoch Kelly Haney.
An OCU alumnus, Haney also designed the statue that tops the state Capitol building, and has served as a state senator. He is a member of Norman-First American UMC of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC).
Centered within the garden circle, the statue is on a pedestal, raising it slightly above ground level. A walkway and other design features represent the American Indian medicine wheel, an unbroken circular form. Quadrants within the circle represent the four compass points, the four seasons of the year, and the four seasons of life—birth, adolescence, adulthood, and death.
The gardenscape uses regional materials such as pink granite and sandstone along with native plants to reflect the colors and textures of Oklahoma.
The dedication ceremony was designed by David Wilson, OIMC superintendent. The program included a prayer by Chickasaw elder Lee Frazier; a cedar blessing by Steve Littleman of the Kiowa tribe; and a flute performance by musician Me-Way-She Greenwood of the Chickasaw, Ponca, and Otoe tribes. A special guest was Dee Hayes, wife of Bishop Robert Hayes Jr. of the Oklahoma Area.
In his remarks, Anoatubby praised the long-standing relationship between Indian tribes in Oklahoma and The United Methodist Church. He said he was pleased to honor that relationship with this gift.
OCU President Robert Henry said careful planning went into the garden that encircles the statue. Its location is in front of the McDaniel University Center.
"This will be a place where students and campus visitors can relax, study, or just think in peace while surrounded by beauty," Henry said. "Every little detail, from the color of the walkway to the layout of the garden, was carefully considered in order to create a space that is fitting for this great work of art."