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American Indian Resource Center   Tags: american indians, native americans  

The American Indian Resource Center provides cultural, educational and informational resources, activities and services honoring American Indian heritage.
Last Updated: Jun 28, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Frequently Asked Questions Print Page

What is the meaning of the turtle screen?

“Place of the Turtles”

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 and is currently located on the second floor of the Central Library.

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.



Search American Indian Ancestry

**To research your American Indian heritage please contact the Genealogy Center at 918-549-7550.  The American Indian Resource Center does not house genealogy records.**

There are a variety of resources one can use to research their Indian ancestry:



Dawes Final Rolls

**To research your American Indian heritage please contact the Genealogy Center at 918-549-7550.  The American Indian Resource Center does not house genealogy records.**

Access the Dawes Final Rolls at TCCL's Genealogy Center, 8316 E. 93rd St., or Rudisill Regional Library, 1520 N. Hartford. 


To view the Dawes Final Rolls Index visit:

            Oklahoma Historical Society

            National Archives


Tribal Membership

To attain tribal membership, contact the tribe with whom your ancestor was affiliated via the Bureau of Indian Affair's Tribal Leaders Directory or Oklahoma Tribal Links . 


Please rember that tribal membership requirements vary from tribe to tribe. Potential members must perfom extensive genealogical research and have documentation of lineage before applying for tribal membership.  

American Indian Population

The American Indian population from the 2010 Census:


United States

5,220,579 – alone and in combination

2,932,248 – alone (claiming only 1 race)

2,288,331 – in combination (claiming more than 1 race)



482,760 – alone and in combination

321,687– alone (claiming only 1 race)

161,073– in combination (claiming more than 1 race) 


Tulsa County

97,204– alone and in combination

36,392– alone (claiming only 1 race)

60,812– in combination (claiming more than 1 race) 


City of Tulsa

35,990– alone and in combination

20,817– alone (claiming only 1 race)

15173 in combination (claiming more than 1 race)

Federally Recognized Tribes

Federally recognized tribes are those with a government-to-government relationship with the United States. 

  • There are 566 federally recognized tribes in the United States.
  • There are 38 federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma.

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