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Holiday package made available

OKLAHOMA CITY  In a state whose name translates to "Land of the Red Man," it's fitting that a special holiday exhibit features special Christmas visions from 20 Oklahoma tribes, including Southwest Oklahoma's Comanche, Kiowa and Caddo tribes.

The Red Earth Art Center, No. 6 Santa Fe Plaza, will celebrate the Christmas season with a decidedly Native twist this year when its third annual Treefest opens free to the public Monday for an eight-week run through Jan. 5. The Treefest celebration features 20 Christmas trees adorned with handmade ornaments and art objects created to highlight the diverse Native cultures that make Oklahoma unique, according to Eric Oesch, co-director/director of communications.

Red Earth Treefest is presented from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. A special open house for the public will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9 with hot wassail, holiday treats and Christmas shopping opportunities. The presentation is free.

Oklahoma Native Tribes participating in the annual event are the Absentee Shawnee, Caddo, Cherokee, Cheyenne Arapaho, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Citizen Potawatomi, Comanche, Delaware, Kaw, Muscogee Creek, Osage, Sac and Fox, Seminole, Kiowa, Peoria, Quapaw, Otoe Missouria, and Pawnee. 

"Each tribal organization has been hard at work for several months creating their handmade ornaments with exhibit copy explaining how each ornament on the tribal trees pertains to the unique tribal culture of the tree," Oesch said. "Oklahoma's native tribes have very diverse tribal cultures that are reflected by the ornaments created for the Christmas trees on display at Red Earth."

Thirty-nine Native tribes are headquartered in Oklahoma, giving the state more tribal headquarters than any other state. Most tribes with headquarters in Oklahoma have homelands in other parts of the country, Oesch said, ranging from the Pacific Northwest to the Florida Everglades. 

There will be additional trees that will include the Red Earth docent tree with hundreds of handmade ornaments, including beaded corn, dream catchers, mini tepees, drums and parfleche bags; a student tree; a Hopi Tree featuring handmade ornaments for sale; and a tree featuring ornaments created by Oklahoma Native artists available for sale. 

"I know our guests will thoroughly enjoy the Christmas trees featured at Treefest, adorned with beautiful ornaments that represent our tribal cultures so well," said Teri Stanek, president of the nonprofit Red Earth board of directors. "And, again this year, many of the tribes have created additional ornaments that we will offer for sale to the public."

Stanek called Treefest Red Earth's "family-friendly Christmas gift to the state." 

"Last year we welcomed over 2,000 guests during our second annual Red Earth Treefest  and the public loved it," Stanek said. "We drew people from all over, including a Mystery Tour of over 100 people from Abilene, Texas, who included our Treefest on their holiday calendar of events," she added.

An addition for visitors to this year's Treefest is the Stay & Play in Oklahoma City holiday package. It's designed to create special memories with family and friends and includes discounts on lodging, dining, shopping and tickets to two of Oklahoma City's most popular annual family holiday stage productions.

The Lawton Constitution

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