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Oklahoma Arts CouncilOklahoma Arts Council

The Guardian

by Enoch Kelly Haney

Commissioned by the State Capitol Preservation Commission
Dedicated on June 7, 2002
Capitol Dome (9ft edition located on the second floor)

The Guardian by Enoch Kelly Haney
Left: The Guardian atop the Oklahoma State Capitol. Right: A detail of the nine-foot edition of The Guardian on the second floor of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Dedication Speech by the Artist

I am the Guardian?my journey began in the 1830s with the passage of the Indian Removal Act. Thousands and thousands of us were marched halfway across this country; thousands died along the way. But we rebuilt our lives, our families and our nations here. Through the years we were joined by others; their ancestors came from every corner of the world; but they came here and joined as we all worked to build a new life in this land of red earth.

The years to come were not easy; there were wars pitting brother against brother, tribe against tribe, and ultimately nations against nations. Throughout the years, thousands of Oklahomans have given their lives defending this country. They died in Europe, in Asia and in mountains and deserts thousands of miles away, but they all died so that we could live free. They fought for their fellow Oklahomans. They fought for America. I will guard their memory always.

Our young state has faced many adversities; for some it was too much, and they moved on. But for most of us, this red earth was now our home, even when the very earth itself seemed to turn against us. We refused to be moved; we survived the Dust Bowl?we have survived floods and storms, and in 1999 one of the worst tornadoes ever recorded on the face of the planet. But we survived, and we reached out our hands and helped one another and we stood our ground. When hate and evil struck our state in 1995 at the Murrah Federal Building; we proved to the world how strong our spirit was; and we showed that good is always stronger than evil. We stood our ground.

Soon I will be raised to the top of this Capitol building. Inside are many guardians of this state. Our Governor, our legislators, our judges ? they all are charged with a very sacred task of being the guardians of Oklahoma, a state that is nearing its first centennial. I will stand guard here, over our great state, over our majestic land, over our values. My lance pierces my leggings and is planted in the ground. I will not be moved. I will stand strong and be proud of Oklahoma, our home. ? June 7, 2002