City of Tulsa’s Dream Keepers Park Honors Area’s Native American History

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MOVING FORWARD: Members of the Greater Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission help unveil the new signage in front of Dream Keepers Park at the Park’s official unveiling in November.

City of Tulsa officials, the Greater Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission and Tulsa area tribal dignitaries officially opened “Dream Keepers Park” in November.

The park, located at 18th Street and S. Boulder Park Drive, honors Tulsa’s rich Native American history.  

In June of 2021, Mayor G.T Bynum announced the former site of Tulsa’s Veterans Park at 18th and Boulder would be renamed Dream Keepers Park. Veterans Park, which had been in place for 30 years, was moved to the former Centennial Park at 1028 E. 6th St. The new Veterans Park was dedicated in September on 9/11.  

“This is an opportunity to honor and utilize a space that is of historic significance to our community, and I’m honored to stand with tribal leaders to create a park that shows respect to our Native American citizens,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “With the Council Oak tree just a few hundred feet away, Dream Keepers Park will become a centerpiece for cultural activities and educational opportunities for years to come.”  

The term, “dream keepers” comes from an annual award given to Native American citizens by the Greater Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission who exemplify strong character and have made a difference in their dedication to public service.  

“Naming this park in celebration of Native American leadership and accomplishment is one way, we, as tribal citizens of the greater Tulsa area, can preserve and recognize our culture, heritage, and contributions to this city,” Cheryl Cohenour, Chair, Greater Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission said. “The Dream Keepers, with their inspiring lives and work, are the example our city needs of the contemporary Native experience – one of innovation, creativity, resilience, and community.  

Officials hope to include several public art pieces from local tribes and create a pathway that honors past recipients of the Dream Keepers Award.   

“Not far from Dream Keepers Park, Tulsa began as the dream of Muscogee tribal members who started new lives here after being forced from their ancestral homes. That dream was kept alive all these years through many struggles,” District 4 Councilor Kara Joy McKee said. “Today, we continue the dream of a thriving Tulsa at the intersection of thriving Muscogee, Osage, and Cherokee Nations. This space can be a wonderful place for cultural events, sports, education, or simply enjoying the outdoors for generations to come.” 

The renaming ceremony was in the area just south of the park’s parking lot. The park’s signage was unveiled following officials’ brief remarks on the park.  

“I am honored to be a part of this new park’s dedication during November, which is Native American Heritage Month,” Anna America, Chief of Culture and Recreation said. “When we started talking about renaming this park, we wanted to be very intentional with the space and how we could use it to showcase the contributions of Tulsa’s native citizens. I’d like to thank the citizens of Tulsa for embracing this change. It would not have been possible without the support of the community and continued partnerships within Tulsa’s native community.”  

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