OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oct. 10 is Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2022 and the First Americans Museum commemorated the 39 tribes in Oklahoma as Native Americans reflected on their successes and challenges.

“We’re not just a historical people and our cultures are thriving. We contribute to the economic and cultural well-being of our state,” said Adrienne Lalli Hillis, with the First Americans Museum.

The celebration included music, dancing, sports and art.

“We have a giant chalk mural that one of our native artists has designed, that the community is welcome to come and fill in,” said Lalli Hillis.

“Indigenous people are strong contributors to modern Oklahoma City and we value the many contributions made to the community,” said OKC Mayor David Holt, as he read from a proclamation.

Over the years, there has been a transformation in the way those tribes operate in Oklahoma, including new challenges from the McGirt ruling, which overhauled their own justice system.

“Since that time, there has been increased attacks on the native community, on our tribal sovereignty, because there’s just not a good understanding in my opinion,” said Amy Warne, a panel speaker on sovereignty.

The tribes also answered the call during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering solutions to all Oklahomans.

“Our nations were involved in providing vaccines to the public and other health care related items,” said Lalli Hillis. “I know mine in particular, the Wyandot nation, was able to provide vaccines to folks up in the northeast corner of Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma tribes have also been taking on a more political role. Just last week, several tribes called on state lawmakers to repeal House Bill 1775, which bans the so-called Critical Race Theory in Oklahoma classrooms.

They claim the law derails any progress tribes have made to provide a more accurate history of the US and it’s relationship with Native Americans.

“Many of our tribal groups across the country continue to feel the long lasting impacts of forced removal from our homelands. Laws that prohibit the use and teaching of our languages and the forced assimilation of our parents, grandparents and family members at federal Indian boarding schools,” said Shelley Lowe, chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Despite their voices, more challenges still lie ahead.

Warne held a panel about how reservations still have little access to grocery stores, healthy foods, and public transportation.

“We do have our own languages, cultures, court systems,” said Warne. “And I don’t think that that there should be any kind of fight for that.”