Tribes and Tornadoes: How Native American tribes dealt with wild weather

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Living in Oklahoma, we can experience the wildest weather on Earth.

Wicked thunderstorms, flash floods, blizzards, devastating droughts and tornadoes are all a part of Oklahoma.

Fortunately, we have technology to help us forecast particularly dangerous weather. Long before Doppler Radar or computers, there were Native American tribes who lived in what would become the state of Oklahoma.

Jackie Tointigh is a renowned artist and tribal historian who grew up in southwest Oklahoma.

“We didn’t have KFOR back in the day, we didn’t have no radar. My grandmother was our weather woman,” he said. “She knew what was coming. We were like little soldiers when it was getting bad. We would go down into the cellar. My brother and I would go down and light the lamps.”

When a storm approached, there were certain rituals his family followed.

“My grandmother was like that. She would pray and put the knife in the ground. She would walk around the house, praying to protect the house. My sisters would follow her, walking with her grandma around the house and go inside the cellar, but it never has hit in Apache. It would go around to Lawton or Duncan or the other way around like by Fort Cobb, back to Binger toward Moore.”

The tribes in this part of the country certainly understood that the power of a tornado was a great force.

Tointigh travels the country, sharing his history and culture. He believes that Native American history should be a part of a good public education.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

More News

National News

More U.S. & World

Washington D.C.

More Washington

Your Local Election HQ

More Your Local Election HQ

Daily Oklahoma Coronavirus Data


Contact In Your Corner Team

Latest News

More News

KFOR Digital Originals

More Digital Original

Follow @KFOR on Twitter