It’s hard to imagine the serene fields and forests of today's Oklahoma as places of frantic, even desperate, activity: Native American tribes forced to relocate; land-crazed settlers rushing to claim a piece of ground; Dust Bowl farmers escaping a state that was blowing away. Perhaps all that agitation made Oklahomans long for some quiet and relaxation, because that's what we find there today. Even the large cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City seem uncrowded and unhurried, and Oklahomans everywhere in the state seem more than happy to engage visitors in some leisurely conversation.

The state has plenty of attractions for tranquil sightseeing, many of them related to the state's past, turbulent and otherwise. There are museums about cowboys, about cowboy philosophers (Will Rogers) and about the white settlers who moved into the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There are majestic tallgrass prairies that show the way the region looked before the cowboys and pioneers got there. Where Oklahoma really stands out, though, is in its wealth of Native American museums, historic sites and cultural gatherings. Once known as the Indian Territory, it still has the largest Native American population of any U.S. state, numbering more than 500,000.

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