By Jason Herrera, Staff Writer
Plans to build a garden around a donated sculpture are in negotiation by administration.
The sculpture, donated by Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation governor, depicts a Chickasaw warrior preparing for battle. Enoch Kelly Haney, artist/OCU alumnus, designed the statue.
“The sculpture invokes an indomitable will, an unconquerable will,” President Robert Henry said. “The Chickasaw nation is one of the most forward thinking, prosperous tribes in the world.”
Though the sculpture is a donation, the garden area around it would cost $34,000, said Brian Holland, chief financial officer.
Officials are looking for ways to fund the garden.
“The statue is free and we could set it in a little concrete, but we don’t want to,” Holland said. “An important donor wants to give it to us, so we are finding a great spot to put it in.”
The sculpture and garden will be located where a nematode-infected pine tree was cut down, south of the Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center.
“That is where the most traffic is so it’s in the perfect location,” said Ciera Terry, design/production junior.
While some students think the location of the statue makes sense, others do not.
“It seems kind of like a random location,” said Josiah Robinson, music theater freshman.
The location of the sculpture and garden would be valuable and has purpose, Henry said.
“It will be a place of reflection and a place to honor the first people of this nation,” he said. “It’s beautiful. Maybe it is necessary because beauty is necessary.”
More public art is a good thing for OCU, Holland said.
“It enhances our campus and adds beauty,” he said.
Some students think the statue will bring culture to campus.
“We have a lot of Native American students here and the only other statue of a Native American is in a real inconspicuous place,” Terry said.
“We don’t really normally see that here.”
Some students think the sculpture isn’t needed and doesn’t do much for campus.
“I like that the statue represents the Native American culture and it looks good,” Robinson said. “I mean, it’s not an eyesore. I wouldn’t say its necessary, but it wouldn’t detract anything from campus.”
The garden will utilize natural elements and will be a green project. Native stone and plants surrounding the sculpture are meant to signify the importance of the environment, Henry said.
While there is no set completion date for the project, Henry said he hopes to finish it within the next few months.
“We’re probably going to put it in in phases,” he said.