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American Indian Resource Center: About the Center

The American Indian Resource Center provides cultural, educational and informational resources, activities and services honoring American Indian heritage.

AIRC Programming



AIRC E-Newsletter

In an effort to inform the public about services, programs, and resources available through the AIRC, an e-newsletter is released each month. Please feel free to forward the newsletters to others who might be interested or benefit from the information.

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Feature Stories

Welcome to the American Indian Resource Center!

Established in 2003, the mission of the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) is to provide cultural, educational and informational resources, programming, activities,and services highlighting the American Indian heritage. The Center provides access to more than 4,000 books, magazines, newspapers, and media for adults and children by and about American Indians.



Meaning of the Turtle Logo

The logo design representing the American Indian Resource Center is a turtle logo surrounded by a circle.  The turtle is a stylized representation of an engraved shell figurine pendant found at the Spiro Mounds archaeological site in Spiro, Oklahoma. (see The Spiro Ceremonial Center, James A. Brown. University of Michigan, Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, Number 29, 1996, p. 597). 

Artifacts found at the Spiro site indicate that prehistoric Spiro people created a sophisticated culture which influenced the entire Southeast.

The image also pays tribute to the beginnings of Tulsa.  “Tulsa's first "town council" meeting in 1836, under an oak tree which still stands on a hill near the downtown area, was presided over by Archie Yahola, a full blooded Creek Indian and chief of the Tulsa Lochapokas. The name Tulsa was derived from "tallasi," a contraction of the Creek "Tullahassee" or "tallahassee," meaning "old town.“  (City of Tulsa)

Surrounding the turtle is a circle, a symbol common to American Indian cultures.  The circle suggests continuity, wholeness and interconnectedness.  The history of American Indians is integral to American history as well as the history and culture of Oklahoma.

"Place of the Turtles" Screen

James L. Henkle, associate professor of the school of art at the University of Oklahoma designed the screen on commission from the Tulsa Historical Society.  In the center of the screen is a stylized turtle, made of oxidized copper.  Surrounding it, in braised brass, polished brass and copper, are flame forms representing the sacred fire of the Creek Indians, Tulsa’s first citizens.  The screen weighs more than 500 pounds...

The bronze plaque mounted on the oak leaves of the screen was originally placed on the Council Oak Tree (18 Street and South Cheyenne Avenue) by the Tulsa D.A.R. chapter in 1923.  In 1965 the plaque was given to the Tulsa Historical Society for fear of it being vandalized.    On July 1, 1965, the plaque and “Place of the Turtles” screen was dedicated on the 3rd floor of the Central Library to identify the then  location of the Tulsa County Historical Society headquarters and archives.

Source: Tulsa World, May 1, 1965; p. 1; Tulsa County Historical Society Dedicatory Program, July 1, 1965.

In May 2013, the American Indian Resource Center moved from Central Library to Zarrow Regional Library (2224 W. 54th ST, Tulsa). Central Library closed in August 2013 for a two-year major renovation. In March 2014 the ‘Place of the Turtles’ screen was erected at Zarrow Regional Library. The American Indian Resource Center and its Turtle screen will remain at Zarrow Regional Library.

Subject Guide

Teresa Runnels's picture
Teresa Runnels
Zarrow Regional Library
2224 W. 51st St.
Tulsa, OK
Website / Blog Page

Tulsa Library Trust

Funding AIRC Programs & Events
AIRC programs and events are community funded by people like you. If you would like to support the AIRC please contact the Tulsa Library Trust.

Projects & Programs Sponsored by


Native READ poster


AIRC Song (mp3)
The Center is privileged to have its own theme song composed by Jay Mule with lyrics provided by Warren Pratt, Jr in the Pawnee language.  The song is about "The turtle is always the smartest of animals"

Native READ Video Clip