October 09, 2010

Will Rogers State Park

Partnership keeps Will Rogers Ranch open

By Will ChavezTwo years after the California government proposed closing the Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades due to a budget deficit, it remains open thanks to friends of the park raising funds.

Those private friends have partnered with the state to keep the 186-acre park open. The Will Rogers Ranch Foundation, which formed in January 2008, petitioned the state to allow it to run the park as it continues to raise money for the park.

Rogers, a Cherokee actor, humorist and author, once lived at the site and his home is a tourist attraction.
Will Rogers Days are Nov. 3-6 in Claremore and OologahHe took his rope tricks from Rogers County to the Vaudeville stage to the big screen, wrote thousands of syndicated columns, authored books and raised thousands of dollars for charities and drought and flood relief in the U.S. and abroad. He starred in 21 20th Century Fox movies and 50 silent films.

On Nov. 4, a wreath will be placed at the Rogers’ family tomb on the museum grounds. Will and Betty Rogers and three of their children and a daughter-in-law are interred in the tomb on land purchased by Rogers in 1911 as a future home site.

Other events will take place on Nov. 5-6 leading up to the annual Will Rogers Day Parade at 4 p.m. on Nov. 6 on Will Rogers Boulevard in Claremore.
Comment:  Will Rogers State Park is about 10 miles from me and I've heard about it many times. But it never occurred to me that it was named after an Indian.

This is how the brainwashing process works: Indians are the guys in feathers and leathers. Anyone else can't be an Indian. So when we think of Will Rogers, we think of him as a humorist, a cowboy, or an Oklahoman. He doesn't fit our mental map of what an Indian is.

Something similar must happen hundreds of times each day. We use products invented by Indians. We meet people who are part Indian. We live in places with Indian names. But we don't think about the vast Native tapestry around us. Metaphorically speaking, there's an Indian in the living room, but we don't see it.

For more on the subject, see Will Rogers's 130th Birthday and Museum Explores Rogers's Roots.

Below:  "Will Rogers’ former home is now part of a state park in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The park was in danger of closing two years ago but remains open thanks to a private-public partnership."

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