The University of Oklahoma Libraries will open Native Voices Over the Airwaves: The Indians for Indians Hour Radio Show Nov. 14 in Bizzell Memorial Library, 401 W. Brooks St. Opening events include a reception at 2:30 p.m. in the library, followed by a 7 p.m. performance inspired by the radio show at Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St., as a part of the OU School of Music’s Ruggles Native American Music Series.
Broadcast over OU’s WNAD radio station, the Indians for Indians program aired from 1941 through the mid-1970s. The show was created and originally hosted by Don Whistler, chief of the Sac and Fox tribe, and continued by OU’s Sequoyah Indian Club.
“The Indians for Indians Hour was a vibrant blend of Native music and speech on an incredible array of topics, including community life, military service, religion, education and advocacy for Native rights,” exhibit curator Lina Ortega said. “It represents an incredible snapshot of U.S. history as told through Native American experience. This exhibition is a way to bring together campus and statewide communities to explore Oklahoma and U.S. history through Native voices and to promote this collection as a resource for scholarship and cultural revitalization.”
The reception at 2:30 p.m. will include remarks by Sac and Fox Principal Chief Justin F. Wood as well as by Donna Williams, who is a granddaughter of Chief Whistler. The 7 p.m. performance will be an intertribal tribute to the Indians for Indians show, with most of the performers being descendants of participants on the radio show.
“The diversity of music and tribes represented ties in well with the OU School of Music’s Ruggles Native American Music series, which highlights Native American music and dance,” Ortega said.
The exhibition’s opening events are co-sponsored by OU Libraries, the School of Music in the OU Weitzenhoffer College of Fine Arts, the Native American Studies Department in the OU College of Arts and Sciences and the Native Nations Center.
The CLIR Recordings at Risk preservation grant enabled OU Libraries to preserve these important recordings and to make them available online, with much improved audio quality through the expert digitization by the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
These files will be accessible through the libraries website at repository.ou.edu by Nov. 14. A related exhibition, The Indians for Indians Radio Show: Sports and Recreation, is on display now through Jan. 30, 2020, in the Western History Collections Reading Room
Native Voices over the Airwaves will remain on display in Bizzell through Aug. 3, 2020.