Practicing respectful tourism with Killers of the Flower Moon

November 02, 2023

Following the release of Killers of the Flower Moon on Oct. 20, the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (OTRD) is encouraging responsible, respectful tourism and travel to the region where the movie was filmed. With a massively successful opening weekend including $44 million worldwide, the state anticipates increased visitation to the area.

“Since the release of the bestselling book Killers of the Flower Moon, the historical account of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma has garnered national attention and increased visitation to the area steadily each year,” said Executive Director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department Shelley Zumwalt. “As we welcome visitors to Osage County to learn more about this history, it’s important to remind everyone of how they can be respectful to the land, the people and the historic sites.”

Local tourism has been on the rise since Killers of the Flower Moon was published. Since the book’s publication in 2016, direct visitor spending in Osage County has jumped from $88.6 million to $161.3 million in 2021.

The following are tips and reminders from OTRD and the Osage Nation for being courteous and responsible tourists:

Honor the Victims: Visitors are asked to not visit the cemetery where the victims of the Reign of Terror are buried.

Respect Private Property: Do not trespass. Respect any restrictions or guidelines provided.

Research the Destination: Before visiting, take the time to research and understand the Osage Nation’s history and values.

Support Local Businesses: Opt for local accommodations, restaurants and tour operators. Intentional spending can positively impact the local economy and community.

Osage County is home to many of the sites mentioned in the book and film. Places to visit in the region include:

Osage Nation Museum (Pawhuska): Located at the heart of the Osage Nation since 1938, the Osage Nation Museum is a place of gathering, community and sharing the enduring story of the Osage. It is the oldest tribally-governed museum in the United States, and was championed by Osage Tribal Councilman and writer John Joseph Mathews in an effort to create a central repository for the art, artifacts and material culture related to the history of the Osage. The museum is open daily Tuesday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking and admission are free.

Osage Nation Visitors Center (Pawhuska): The mission of the Osage Nation Visitors Center is to promote Osage culture, Osage Nation services and Osage-owned artists and businesses. It provides an accurate history of the Osage tribe from an Osage perspective, using technology and literature for an enhanced experience. The center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (Pawhuska): This preserve is the largest protected piece of tallgrass prairie left on earth. Spanning over 14 states, this site offers visitors many opportunities to watch diverse wildlife while enjoying the breathtaking scenery. The preserve is open seven days a week during daylight hours.

John Joseph Mathews Historic Cabin (Pawhuska): Located in the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, this cabin was home to renowned Osage author and historian, John Joseph Mathews. The last tour for this year will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Click here to register for a tour of John Joseph Mathews’ historic home.

Big Rain Gallery (Pawhuska): The Big Rain Gallery is a Native-owned and woman-owned art gallery that features a wide variety of art, jewelry, silverwork, accessories and clothing made by Native Osage artists. This small business is a great way to support Native artists and see their beautiful work. The Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment.

Tall Chief Theater (Fairfax): This theater was originally built by Alex Tall Chief, whose daughter went on to become America’s first prima ballerina. The Tall Chief Theater is mentioned in the book and movie and there is a small memorial inside honoring the victims. Tall Chief Theater offers small in-person tours that take you through the town of Fairfax, providing insider information on locations mentioned in the book. Tours are $25 per person and are about an hour long. Visit com/take-action for more information on how to book a tour.

White Hair Memorial (Ralston): The White Hair Memorial and Osage Learning Resource Center is an important resource for anyone interested in Osage Indian history. Located less than a mile from Highway 20 between Hominy and Fairfax, the White Hair Memorial houses numerous Osage artifacts and documents as well as resources such as maps, annuity rolls, oral histories and photographs. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment on Saturdays.

Water Bird Gallery (Pawhuska): The Water Bird Gallery in Pawhuska is a Native store located in the heart of downtown Pawhuska. This unique shop carries native-made goods and art, including beautiful turquoise and sterling silver jewelry, gift products, both new and vintage clothing items and so much more. It is open Monday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Osage Hills State Park (Pawhuska): Located in the heart of the Osage Nation in northeast Oklahoma, Osage Hills State Park is a prime example of Oklahoma's natural beauty. With lush forests, rocky bluffs and serene waters, the park boasts 1,100 acres of scenery. A visit to Osage Hills State Park in the fall will inspire visitors, as the foliage transforms from green to vivid shades of yellow, orange and red.