Sacred Rain Arrow Statue Marks History

Web Editor and Feature Writer

TOWARD THE SKY: The Sacred Rain Arrow Statue, created by Allan Houser, stands in front of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. The statue has become the new design on the state’s license plates.

KELSY TAYLOR for GTR Newspapers

The image of The Sacred Rain Arrow statue has become the new design for Oklahoma’s license plates. Allan Houser, an artist recognized for creating work that focused on his Chiricahua Apache heritage, created the Sacred Rain Arrow statue. There is an interesting history behind the design of the statue.

Houser was born in Oklahoma and became interested in art at an early age. While growing up, an older Chiricahua Apache showed him a drawing on which he had been working. Houser found himself looking at a young Apache warrior kneeling down on the ground and aiming an arrow toward the sky.

The drawing was based on a story that had been told for generations. During an unrelenting drought, the warrior was sent to a medicine man who blessed his bow and arrows. The warrior then knelt down and sent his arrows into the sky with the hope for rain. The story made such an impression on Allan Houser that he later created The Sacred Rain sculpture based on the drawing and story.

Only a few of the sculptures were created by the artist; one was proudly displayed at the Salt Lake City Olympics while another can be found at the Smithsonian. In Tulsa, The Sacred Rain Arrow sculpture has welcomed visitors in the front of the Gilcrease Museum of Art for almost two decades.

Last spring, the sculpture was chosen among five finalists to be the new image on the Oklahoma license plates. Some of the proposals included other Native American art as well as western images such as cowboys. The Sacred Rain Arrow image replaced the Osage Shield which had been in circulation since 1993.

The Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation finalized the design and the new license plates become available earlier this year. There are also benefits from the change. The new license plates are lighter and will last a lot longer than the originals.

Make a trip to the Gilcrease Museum of Art to see the Sacred Rain Arrow Sculpture that has become a new image for our state!

Updated 08-20-2009

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