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Portal:Oklahoma

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Oklahoma (/ˌkləˈhmə/ (About this soundlisten)) is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by the state of Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. Located partially in the western extreme of the Upland South, it is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the 50 United States. Its residents are known as Oklahomans (or colloquially, "Okies"), and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907.

With ancient mountain ranges, prairie, mesas, and eastern forests, most of Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains, Cross Timbers, and the U.S. Interior Highlands, all regions prone to severe weather. Oklahoma is on a confluence of three major American cultural regions and historically served as a route for cattle drives, a destination for Southern settlers, and a government-sanctioned territory for Native Americans. Twenty-five Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma.

A major producer of natural gas, oil, and agricultural products, Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and biotechnology. Oklahoma City and Tulsa serve as Oklahoma's primary economic anchors, with nearly two-thirds of Oklahomans living within their metropolitan statistical areas. These cities, collectively known as the Oklahoma Metropolitan Corridor, are included in the Texas Triangle megaregion.

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Flag of the Comanche Nation.svg

The Comanche are a Native American group whose historical range (the Comancheria) consisted of present-day Eastern New Mexico, Southern Colorado, Southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of Northern and Southern Texas. There might once have been as many as 20,000 Comanches. Today, the Comanche Nation consists of approximately 10,000 members, about half of whom live in Oklahoma (centered at Lawton), with the remainder concentrated in Texas, California, and New Mexico.

There are various accounts of the origin of the name Comanche. Perhaps the most widely accepted is that it derives from Komantcia, a Spanish corruption of "Kohmahts", the Ute name for the people. "Kohmahts" is variously translated as "enemy", "those who want to fight (us)", "those who are against us", or "strangers". Alternatively the name may come from the Spanish camino ancho, meaning "wide trail". Early French and American explorers knew the Comanche as Padouca (or Paducah), their Siouan name. The Comanches' own preferred name is Numunuu, meaning "the People". (Read more...)

Spotlight city

Pottawatomie county oklahoma courthouse.jpg

Shawnee is a city in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 29,857 at the 2010 census. The city is part of the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area; it is also the county seat of Pottawatomie County and the principal city of the Shawnee Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Shawnee is the home of St. Gregory's University, a Benedictine Catholic institution founded in 1875, and Oklahoma Baptist University, founded in 1906. The city was chosen by the founders of OBU in part because two Baptist Conventions (one in Indian Territory and one in Oklahoma Territory) had earlier merged. So, the city of Shawnee was neutral territory (Shawnee had been neither in Indian Territory nor Oklahoma Territory, but the Potawatomi Nation).

The Heart of Oklahoma Exhibition Center, opened in 1981, now boasts 152,400 square feet (14,160 m2) of exhibit space, a 19,200-square-foot (1,780 m2) indoor arena that seats 1,000, an outdoor arena seating 7,500, and an RV park, all on 72 acres (290,000 m2). Since 1993, the O.E. Center has been the host of the International Finals Youth Rodeo (IFYR), the "richest youth rodeo in the world," with a total prize payout of over $2.6 million; over 1,100 young riders register for the event each year.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the ninth largest Native American tribe in the United States with 26,000 members, is headquartered between Shawnee and Tecumseh. Their Firelake Casino features over 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) of gaming space and employs 1,800 people. (Read more...)

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Did you know...

Oklahoma State Highway 66.svg
  • ...that Tulsa is often considered the birthplace of U.S. Route 66?
  • ...that Oklahoma has the longest drivable stretch of Route 66 in the nation?
  • ...that in 1927, Oklahoma businessman Cyrus Avery, known the "Father of Route 66," proposed using an existing stretch of highway from Amarillo, Texas to Tulsa for the original portion of Highway 66?
  • ...that Oklahoman Cyrus Avery spearheaded the creation of the U.S. Highway 66 Association, the organization that oversaw the planning and creation of Route 66, and he placed the organization's headquarters in Tulsa?

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The Scissortail Flycatcher, Oklahoma's state bird

Selected biography

Alfre Woodard.jpg

Alfre Ette Woodard, born November 8, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is an American film, stage, and television actress. She has been nominated once for an Academy Award and Grammy Awards, 17 times for Emmy Awards (winning four), and has also won a Golden Globe and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Woodard has made numerous appearances in television series and motion pictures. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1983 film Cross Creek. In 1993 she starred in the film Passion Fish for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She also appeared in the films Heart and Souls, Crooklyn, How to Make an American Quilt, Primal Fear, in Down in the Delta as a single alcoholic mother from Chicago forced to spend a summer with her uncle in Mississippi, and as Lily Sloane, Zefram Cochrane's assistant in Star Trek: First Contact.

In 1997 she starred in the HBO film Miss Evers' Boys, for which she won an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a CableACE Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Satellite Awards. (Read more...)

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