City of Lawton celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day

Group Photo

Published October 10, 2022

DaLynna Wood | Multimedia Specialist

Members of the Kiowa, Comanche & Apache tribes joined together at City Hall on October 10, 2022, to celebrate the resiliency of their people alongside the community. It's a tradition that began on January 9, 2018, when the Lawton City Council passed a resolution resolving that the City of Lawton shall recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the Second Monday of October each year.

“This is our fifth anniversary, and we are enjoying the opportunity to bring light to the history and story of Indigenous people here in southwest Oklahoma,” said Cornel Pewewardy, Vice-Chairman of the Comanche Nation. "It’s not just Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache, it’s all the nations that have come through here. We share our story proudly, because prior to us starting in 2018, we didn’t see ourselves very visibly, so our motto for Indigenous Peoples’ Day is making the invisible visible.”

The morning started with a flute player who played a traditional Comanche hymn. The drummers who consisted of tribal leaders played honorary flag songs as the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache color guard marched, followed by the Comanche Nation Princesses that greeted the community and performed a dance.

Along with the displays of culture, Mayor Stan Booker presented a proclamation to continue to build the relationships between the City and the Indigenous people of southwest Oklahoma. The proclamation read in part, "The City of Lawton recognizes that the Indigenous Peoples of the land, that would later become known as the Americas, have occupied these lands since time immemorial; and were the traditional homelands, villages, and use areas of the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache of this region."

“We are working together, building relationships, to move forward together because we are better together,” Mayor Booker said. “The Comanche Chairman says we’re stronger together and the best pathway forward is forward together.”