Long-awaited Native American museum in Oklahoma has new name

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The long-awaited American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City is getting a new name.

City and tribal officials announced Thursday the facility will be called the First Americans Museum. Museum officials say the old name was unwieldy and that the term "Indians" is historically inaccurate.

Construction on the 173,000-square-foot facility began in 2006 but was delayed for years after the project ran out of money and the Legislature refused to allocate more funds. An agreement was ultimately reached in 2016 between the city, state and tribal nations to finish construction.

The museum will be located along the bank of the Oklahoma River just south of downtown Oklahoma City, and aims to be a world-class showcase for Oklahoma's American Indian heritage and will house artifacts the tell the history of the 39 federally recognized tribes located in the state.

The museum is expected to open in 2021.


Oklahoma court upholds convictions in deaths of 2 children

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday upheld the separate murder convictions and life prison sentences of two people in the deaths of two young girls.

The court rejected appeals by Michael Andrew Nordbye, 33, of Vera and Melissa Clark, 49, of Noble. Attorneys for Nordbye and Clark did not immediately return phone calls for comment.

Nordbye was convicted in Washington County of the 2015 death of his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter. Court records show the girl, identified only by the initials J.H., died of multiple blunt force injuries.

Clark was convicted in Cleveland County of the 2016 death of a 4-month-old girl, identified as B.Z., at her home daycare in Noble. Authorities say the baby died of blunt force trauma to the head.


Inmate charged in riots leading to Oklahoma prison lockdowns

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) — Charges were filed this week against an Oklahoma state prison inmate in connection with prison fights that led to a statewide lockdown of the facilities.

Court documents show former Lawton Correctional Facility inmate Justin Hill was charged Monday with conspiracy, participating in a riot, assault and battery and taking part in gang-related crime.

The documents do not list an attorney for Hill. State Department of Correction spokesman Matt Elliott said Hill was serving a five-year sentence for grand larceny and transferred to another prison days after the fights.

Prison officials have said race-based gang tension led to coordinated violence among inmates at various prisons starting Sept. 14. One inmate died and dozens were injured. The lockdowns were lifted gradually until all were removed in late October.