Hundreds Protest Land Run Monument In Downtown OKC


Saturday, July 11th 2020, 5:18 pm
By: Brian Mueller


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma Land Rush has come back into focus recently as Indigenous groups are calling for changes to the 47-statue monument in downtown Oklahoma City.

One of the statues was vandalized with spray paint Friday, but the protest remained peaceful on Saturday afternoon.

An organizer of Saturday's protest can sum up their demands in one word.

"Inclusion, right?” protest organizer Kendra Wilson Clements said. “We want to be included in the story. Because we are a part of the story. We were the originators of this land.”

The peaceful sit-in was organized by the Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties, or SPIRIT.

Organizers said they want the monument gone and the Indigenous people's story to be told.

"Usually, it's romanticized to tell one side of that story, and you don't hear about the murder, the theft, the homelessness that came from the land run," protest organizer Sarah Adams-Cornell said.

Protesters acknowledge that the complete removal of the monument may not happen, so they're asking for an addition that will tell more of the story.

They would also want a change in how schools teach the land run to children in kindergarten through 12th grade as well as more online education on the state's website.

There were also people who do not want to see the monument removed.

Shannon Collins organized a group to protect the monument from potential vandals but also to protect the protesters’ right to peaceably assemble.

"I understand their history. I understand their pain, but let's do something else," Collins said. "Let's add some more monuments representing all races that helped form this state of Oklahoma."

Organizers said the next step is a meeting with Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. Their meeting with Holt is scheduled for next week.