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The Spirit of Heritage

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 Spirit of Heritage 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 represents 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 Spirit of Heritage depicts an Indian mother carrying her infant in a cradle-board. The imagery is representative of the rich culture and traditions which strengthen and enrich not just the western tribes, but all of Oklahoma. This rich heritage has influenced and shaped the many Oklahomans who have gone on to further enrich our state with their tremendous successes in education, arts, science, government and athletics. Opposite it is The Will to Live.

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.