The Duncan Banner

April 27, 2014

We know we belong to the land...

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — The spirit of the Oklahoma land run was alive and well with the third-graders of Horace Mann and Plato elementary schools.

The land runs, held on each school’s playground,  were in honor of the five land runs that took place before Oklahoma became a state. The first state land run took place April 22, 1889.

Prior to having land runs at the schools, students studied Oklahoma history, including the land runs.

Tag Ensey, Plato third-grader, said he learned that the land taken during the land runs previously belonged to the Seminole tribe and how people running for the land often jumped from trains to be first to a specific location.

Many of the students at both schools dressed in their best early-Oklahoma wear, from cowboy hats to bonnets.

At Horace Mann, part of the festivities included singing and dancing. Toward the end of the program, the third-graders were joined by other students, parents and teachers as they all sang “Oklahom!” in recognition of statehood, which happened in 1907.

Cheryl Johnson, music teacher at Horace Mann, said the land run is a well-established tradition at the school.

“It was a small celebration at first,” Johnson said. “It was grown to what it is today.”

Plato students not only ran to establish their land, they also played various frontier games, such as stick horse races and panning for gold.

Plato’s land run officially kicked off at noon Friday, in recognition of the start time of the first land run. Students lined up with their wagons ready to run, waiting for the signal to seek their pre-marked land.

“I enjoyed getting out here and having fun with my friends,” Ensey said.