Wilburton GEAR UP students tour the Five Civilized Tribe Museum

Seventy-one Wilburton High School GEAR UP students recently toured the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Okla. The Five Civilized Tribes Museum is dedicated to preserving the art, history and culture of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole tribes. Museum Director Sean Barney educated students about Native American culture and history throughout the tour. GEAR UP students learned that the Five Civilized Tribes Museum building was built in 1875, and it was the highest point in Oklahoma. Barney discussed artifacts in the museum and their historical significance before transitioning to the outdoor portion of the tour. Barney lead students to one of the museum’s outdoor artifacts, the modesty step, and explained how it helped women remain modest in their dresses and skirts while either getting into a carriage or mounting a horse. After GEAR UP students concluded the tour, they viewed artwork hanging in the upstairs of the museum, which included The Stickballer, a sculpture by Jerome Tiger, and paintings by master artists Jimmie Carol Fife and Valjean McCarty Hessing. The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant in 2017, and will serve more than 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.

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