Red Earth Celebrates the Holidays with Treefest

Posted by Christy Alcox on 12/01/2020

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Red Earth Art Center will celebrate the Christmas season with a Native twist this year when Treefest opens free to the public through January 3, 2021 at the Shoppes at Northpark in Oklahoma City.

            Red Earth Treefest features 15 Native Tribes from throughout Oklahoma invited to participate in the annual holiday event by creating handmade ornaments and art objects made to highlight their distinctive tribal cultures. The exhibition highlights the diverse Native cultures that make Oklahoma Unique.

            Treefest will feature two new trees this year.  The "Womens Tree" decorated by Oklahoma City artist Susan Howard, Muscogee Creek. The Women's Tree focuses on the role of women in the their tribal culture.  Handmade dolls are also incorporated into the display. And like most dolls, they have names -- Pheaba Black Crow, Wilsa Harjo, Sarah Wacochee, Rebekah Harjo,  Mary Barheche, Sunyee Prairie Wind, Laske Swift Water and Winna Kicking Bird. Each are unique and have a story to tell.

             The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes of Oklahoma is also new to Treefest.  Handmade ornaments moccasins, painted drums, beautiful blue ornaments adorned by the Tribal Seal and traditional grass huts.

            Oklahoma Native Tribes and Tribal Groups participating in the 2020 Treefest include the Absentee Shawnee, Caddo, Cherokee, Cheyenne & Arapaho, Choctaw, Citizen Potawatomi, Comanche, Kaw, Muscogee (Creek), Osage, and Wichita Affiliated Tribes.  The Chickasaw Nation tree will be featured virtually on the Red Earth website. Each tribal organization has been hard at work for several months creating their handmade ornaments with information explaining how each ornament tells their cultural story. 

            Treefest is our family-friendly Christmas gift to the state. Handcrafted ornaments on the Christmas trees are as diverse as the tribes of Oklahoma. Birch bark canoes adorn the Citizen Potawatomi purple clad tree synonymous with their Great Lakes culture; while intricately painted ponies are featured on the Comanche tree to celebrate their legacy as the “Lords of the Plains.”

            Thirty-nine Native tribes are headquartered in Oklahoma, giving the state more tribal headquarters than any other. Nearly every Oklahoma tribe has homelands in other parts of the country – from the Pacific Northwest to the Florida Everglades – creating a diverse tribal palette unique to Oklahoma. 

            Additional trees include the Red Earth Docent Tree with hundreds of handmade ornaments including beaded corn, dreamcatchers, mini tipis, drums and parfleche bags; and a tree featuring ornaments created by Oklahoma Native artists available for sale.

             “We are thrilled to carry on this Christmas tradition for the people of Oklahoma,” said Paula Cagigal, Red Earth President. “We are so fortunate to have Northpark Mall host this special holiday event. I know our guests will thoroughly enjoy our beautiful display of Christmas trees adorned with ornaments that represent our tribal cultures.”

            Red Earth Treefest is presented free to the public during Mall hours, 10 am to 9 pm weekdays and Noon until 5 pm on weekends. The Shoppes at Northpark are located at 12100 North May Avenue in north Oklahoma City.

Visit www.RedEarth.org or call (405) 427-5228 for additional information and to purchase selected Treefest ornaments.  Red Earth, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the rich traditions of American Indian arts and cultures through education, a premier festival, a museum and fine art markets.

Sponsors of Red Earth Treefest include the Oklahoma Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Allied Arts, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Kirkpatrick Family Fund, The Shoppes at Northpark and Oklahoma’s News 4.

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