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Towana Spivey to present history of gourd carving

Towana Spivey has been an archaeologist, a museum curator, a historian, an author and a lecturer. These days, he adds another noun to that list, artist.

Following in the footsteps of his Native American forefathers, Spivey carves gourds and red cedar into unique designs both traditional and modern. On Thursday, Spivey will bring his work to the Lawton Fort Sill Art Council, where he will give a presentation about the history and techniques of gourd carving.

“I’ve always been handy with tools so to speak and it’s been a help to me all during my career…but it was not until I retired that I got interested in carving gourds as artistic expression,” Spivey said.

Spivey can trace his Chickasaw heritage back through several generations. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in anthropology, archaeology and museum studies. He conducted archaeological investigations, served as a museum curator at the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum, and helped to protect and preserve many historical sites and tribal languages.

Throughout his career, Spivey wrote several books on frontier history, served as a consultant on television documentaries and played an intricate role in maintaining the historical accuracy the movies “Windtalkers” and “Dances with Wolves.”

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