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The Will to Live

by Enoch Kelly Haney

Commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. Through the support of the Tulsa Tribune Foundation, 2001.
Dimensions: 33 diameter
Dedicated March 12, 2001

The Will to Live by Enoch Kelly Haney

The Artwork

Enoch Kelly Haney was commissioned to create two sets of bronze roundels to be placed high above the entrances to both the House and Senate chambers, sponsored by the Tulsa Tribune Foundation the sets represent the Eastern and Western Tribes of Oklahoma.

The tribes of Western Oklahoma are depicted in the two roundels on either side of the House of Representatives' entrance.
The Will to Live depicts a young warrior, and in the background of the relief is a buffalo, a native symbol of endurance. At one time, the buffalo was nearly extinct, but ultimately not only survived, but thrived. Likewise, the people of Oklahoma have faced many tragedies and challenges, but ultimately overcame them all. Opposite it is The Spirit of Heritage.

The Artist

Enoch Kelly Haney
Enoch Kelly Haney

Truly a modern-day renaissance man, Enoch Kelly Haney’s talents span two separate spheres - namely politics and art. Born on November 12, 1940 to William Woodrow and Hattie Louise Haney, Enoch grew up in Seminole, Oklahoma. The son of a full-blood Seminole and Creek Indian, Haney’s own grandfather was chief of the Seminole Tribe in the 1940s.

Haney’s interest in Indian people is evident in his art, as he puts a great amount of energy into the research and documentation of Native American culture and traditions. His work is exacting in its detail and representation of native peoples. Haney received his Associate of Arts degree from Bacone College, and his Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Oklahoma City University.

In 1962, Haney was honored with the Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship at the University of Arizona. Haney was designated as the Master Artist of the Five Civilized Tribes in 1975; he also was awarded a Governor’s Art Award, Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Indian Heritage Award. Along with his work as an artist, Haney has served terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, as well as the Senate.

Haney’s colossal statue
The Guardian stands prominently atop the Oklahoma State Capitol dome where it was lifted on June 7, 2002.