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Historic Change: Celebrating Maria and Marjorie Tallchief
October 29 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Tulsa Historical Society & Museum (THSM) will unveil and rededicate the bronze statue of famed Osage ballerina, Marjorie Tallchief, Sunday, October 29 at 1:30pm in the Five Moons Sculpture Garden of the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, 2445 S. Peoria Avenue, Tulsa.
As part of the celebration, Magic City Books will publish TALLCHIEF by acclaimed Osage poet, Elise Paschen. This special release features new and collected works about the poet’s mother, legendary ballerina, Maria Tallchief including the poem “Wi’-gi-e,” which inspired the title for David Grann’s book and Martin Scorsese’s film, KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON.
The Osage Nation, in partnership with the United States Mint, the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, and the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, invite the community to celebrate Osage prima ballerina Maria Tallchief’s image and Osage name being featured on the 10th coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program.
Special guests include Elise Paschen (Maria’s daughter), Nathalie Skibine (Marjorie’s granddaughter), US Treasurer and chief of the Mohegan Nation, Lynn Malerba, Cali Martin, Head of Collections Care and Stewardship at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and Misty Copeland, former principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre.
The event is free and open to the public.
There will be no on-site parking available. Park at Cascia Hall and take a short shuttle ride to the museum grounds.
Cascia Hall Address: 2520 S Yorktown Ave
Parking is in the center and northwest side of the school’s campus. Enter the campus either from the east off Yorktown, or from the west off Utica, and then make your way to the parking on the west side, here’s a directional map.
Schedule of Events:
1:00: Grand Event Opening
1:15: Posting the Colors, Osage Veterans
1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30: Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina Story Time
1:45: Marjorie Tallchief sculpture unveiling at the 5 Moons circle
2:15 and 4:15: Tent performances by Daposka Ahnkodapi and the WahZhaZhe ballet
3:00: Program in the tent, Historic Change: Celebrating Prima Ballerina Maria Tallchief
4:15: Book Signing with Elise Pashen
5:00: Celebration Concludes
It was a shock to Tulsa and the nation when thieves in the night took off with the beloved bronze sculpture of celebrated Oklahoma ballerina Marjorie Tallchief in the spring of 2022.
Tallchief, who died in 2021 at the age of 95, was the first Native American to be named “première danseuse étoile” in the Paris Opera Ballet, the highest rank a dancer can achieve at the Ballet. She performed for Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and French President Charles de Gaulle. She later taught at the Dallas Ballet.
The theft made national news. “People were outraged when the artwork was found in pieces,” said Tulsa Historical Society Interim Executive Director, Cray Bauxmont-Flynn, a member of the Cherokee Nation. “The pieces had been sold at a scrap yard for a few hundred dollars.” The culprits were later apprehended and some of the pieces recovered. THSM has embarked on an upgrade project which includes greater security for Five Moons and the Museum as a whole. Osage Casinos has signed on as a lead sponsor for the effort.
The sculpture garden, first dedicated in 2007, features the Five Moons of American Ballet: Marjorie Tallchief, her elder sister Maria Tallchief (Osage), Moscelyne Larkin (Eastern Shawnee/Peoria), Rosella Hightower (Choctaw), and Yvonne Chouteau (Shawnee).
The statues were created by two local artists, Monte England and Gary Henson. England worked on two of the pieces before his death in 2005, and Henson completed the project. Gary Henson recrafted the bronze of Marjorie, incorporating the pieces that were recovered. He will help unveil the statue.
The unveiling will be part of a full afternoon of celebration as THSM welcomes the Osage Nation, the US Mint and the Smithsonian American Women’s Museum for “Historic Change,” a celebration of Marjorie’s sister, Maria Tallchief, and the release of a coin featuring Maria’s image.
The Grand Opening of the full event begins at 1pm with a flag presentation and continues through 5pm featuring Osage singers and dancers, remarks from Osage Chief Standing Bear, and a coin pour.