Next stop on the trail was the Comanche National Museum & Cultural Center. Our friend's daughter loves horses, so she was thrilled to see this right outside the center.
The Comanche people are descendants of the Native People of the Pacific Northwest. Native Americans came across the Bering Strait (think Russia to Alaska), and continued to migrate south down the North American Continent. Horses were introduced by the Spanish explorers, and the Comanche people took horse riding to a whole new level. Horses became invaluable in their culture of following the buffalo for their livelihood. Above the gang is posed in front of a little tee pee. The Comanche, like other plains people, used for shelter. The kiddos had a great time playing in and around the tee pee. They had little hidden tools for them to discover and play with.
I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by this little museum in Lawton, OK. Not to be a snob, but we have just relocated from Washington DC. DC, home of some of the best museums in the world. We have been utterly and completely spoiled the past few years. (If you are interested in seeing some of those sights, feel free to browse through my older posts under tourism. I have several from our DC field trips.)
Now this was a small museum, but what it lacked in size it made up in taste and thoughtfulness of the displays. (I'm sorry I don't have more photos. Since most of the exhibits were Comanche art, they didn't allow any photos other than in front of the tee pee.) I think my favorite part was the emphasis on how Comanche people have played an important part in our American history. They had lots of photos and displays of uniforms from soldiers and sailors.
One highlight was the Code Talkers. During WWII our success was in part to these Code Talkers. They would use their native tongue to send messages. The Germans and the Japanese were never able to break the code, so many strategic plans were able to get through to the different fronts.
Another area that touched my heart, was the artwork. Not only was it absolutely beautiful, but the content was very thought provoking. Not all, but a few of the pieces depicted a meshing of traditional native and Christian values. In one beautiful headdress, there was a Rosary wound into the feathers. I often wonder if things could have been so much different, so much better if more of the early missionaries had taken the time to learn the native traditions.
I know hindsight is 20/20, and I don't mean to judge harshly, but I love the story of Juan Diego. If you are unfamiliar with this Saint, click here to learn more. Juan realized the truth. You don't have to abandon your native ways to serve Christ.
So if you find yourself in Lawton, OK stop by and check it out. It doesn't take long, it's FREE, and the staff were very friendly. In fact the kiddos were over the moon at this stop. The little ladies not only stamped their cards, they round up several little trinkets for the kiddos to take home.