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Land Run mural causing controversy at UCO

EDMOND, Okla -  More than 20 years ago, Dr. Bob Palmer was asked to paint a mural of the 1889 Land Run on the University of Central Oklahoma campus.

“When I first did it, I got a lot of favorable compliments about it,” Palmer said.

Fast forward to today, and Palmer had no idea the painting was going to cause so much controversy.

He said the painting isn't supposed to depict any race, just images that remind people of the time.

“The images were really images that could be used for a Land Run, for instances horses, the buggies, the wagons, that kind of thing,” Palmer said.

A group of students on the campus are calling for the removal of the Land Run mural.

They said the painting is missing one key component to Oklahoma's history, and that's Native Americans.

“Like I said, it's a candy-coated version of the Land Run. It doesn't show any of the real things that happened. So, it's almost erasing that history, silencing that history,” said Mickayla Fisher.

But, to one student, it's personal.

“Because I'm Native American, my minor’s in Native American studies. It's something that uniquely affects me as an Oklahoman as well, because of the history of the Land Run and the way it needs to be depicted accurately."

While others see it as nothing more than history.

“Obviously, I'm not Native American, but I don't know why they are just now finding offense. That's been there forever, and that's part of our history. So, I would say leave it up,” said Ellerie West.

“It's a mural commemorating our history. And, we wouldn't be standing on a public university of the United States if that was not the case,” said Eli Koehn.

Palmer said he is open to suggestions.

“I would be open if they want to make some updates on it, that would be a possibility,” he said.

Students held a forum on the campus to discuss what should happen to the mural.

The meeting features panelists from the Native American Student Association, Oklahoma Historical Society and the Mass Communications Department.