Skip to main content

Oklahoma Indian Rights Association Collection

Identifier: WHC-M-1232

Scope and Contents


Correspondence, publications, reports and business records of the Oklahoma Indian Rights Association, regarding its advocacy of Indian civil rights and its involvement with various Oklahoma Indian tribes. Oklahoma Indian Rights Association Photograph Collection also in repository.


  • Creation: 1941-1981

Restrictions on Access

Available for public access.

Biographical / Historical

About the organization: In May of 1970, a three-day seminar was held at the University of Oklahoma, sponsored jointly by the Indian Education Department of the University of Oklahoma and the two Area Offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for Oklahoma. At this meeting, Indian leaders from Oklahoma's 34 tribes and four from Kansas indicated a strong interest in the problem of legal rights. In November of 1970, a one-day seminar was held dealing solely with questions of Indian Rights. Out of this seminar was born the Oklahoma Indian Rights Association, incorporated under the laws of the State of Oklahoma on 16 December 1970, and given IRS Number 73-093-8479. The purpose of OIRA, as stated in the Articles of Incorporation, is: "The Oklahoma Indian Rights Association is organized for the purpose of aiding, financially and otherwise, by any lawful means, any individual Indian, Indian band, tribe or nation, in the securing of any and all legal rights guaranteed by the laws and constitution of the United States of America or the State of Oklahoma, and by aiding, financially or otherwise, in the furnishing of legal services furthering the purpose of securing such legal rights, and to engage in any project beneficial to legal rights of Indians in civil or criminal matters." Unique, in that the idea originated with Indians to fill a statewide need, Oklahoma Indian Rights Association has been developed entirely by Oklahoma Indians; the board of directors is entirely Indian; the program is being conducted by Indians, to serve all Indians who need help. Oklahoma Indian Rights Association is governed by a ten-member board of directors, two from each of the four quadrants of the State and one member each from the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas. A chairman is elected by the board of directors from outside their numbers. In addition to the board of directors, there is an advisory board made up of the principle officer (or his designated representative) from each of the organized tribes in Oklahoma. Membership is open to anyone, but only persons of Indian descent, 18 years of age or older, may vote or hold office. The office is located at 555 East Constitution, Norman, Oklahoma. Since inception, OIRA has handled over 2,200 cases of violation of rights. These cases include both civil and criminal cases, and violations have been found in all parts of the state. OIRA has also sponsored a number of seminars, workshops, and training programs on legal and consumer rights for Indians, recruited, trained and placed seven Indian legal investigators with six tribes and one urban center. During 1976-77 OIRA provided legal education and training programs for Bureau of Indian Affairs schools and public schools in Oklahoma. This included on-site programs and workshops for students and faculty. OIRA does not take any case of Indian against Indian, nor does in involve itself in intratribal matters. OIRA seeks to preserve to our Indian people the rights guaranteed under the constitution.


11 Cubic Feet (11 ft.)

Language of Materials


Ownership and Custodial History

Gift of Boyce Timmons.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Records: Source of acquisition--Timmons, Boyce. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1985.

Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Western History Collections Repository

630 Parrington Oval
Room 300
Norman Oklahoma 73019 United States