“Rez Dogs” filming location holds rich culture

SANDS SPRINGS, Oklahoma – On the surface, Meadow Lake Ranch is a tucked away location with a beautiful scenery and hospitality to match. When patrons pass through the “Meadowlake Ranch” welded gate, two gravel roads give options to travelers, to the right will take them to the beautiful sites and amenities that has gained a reputation in the area. By taking the left leading into the woods, visitors take a journey of the land and history of the ranch.

Owned by Chickasaw citizen Suzy Warren and her husband Tom, the 260-acre property is part of what once was a Muscogee (Creek) allotment.

According to Tom, this property belonged to a Muscogee (Creek) named Taylor Postoak.

That was his “white name” as his son Lincoln Postoak called it in a 1937 interview with Tulsa World journalist by the name of Effie S. Jackson.

His name was Nokose Yahola, and in Cherokee it was Choskoyoha, according to the article.

Postoak was a Civil War Veteran and settled in this area near the Euchee River, just a mile away from Sand Springs, where he built a home for his family.

The home is gone now but close to where the house is believed to be located is a 40-foot deep well that Postoak dug himself for water for the home, Tom explained.

In Tom’s personal research, he spoke with Postoak family members to learn about the original inhabitant of the land and what he did while he lived on the resourceful land.

“You know he had a big heart,” he said of Postoak.

The Postoak family history presence is strong on the land. The Warren’s property even contains a small family cemetery, “Postoak Cemetery.”

The first person to be buried in the cemetery was Postoak’s 15-year-old daughter, Phoebe.

Warren told the story of Postoak and how during a time of racism and discrimination, he offered a white man a spot to bury his young daughter who died while traveling; she is the second person buried in the cemetery.

“He told him, ‘you can bury her beside my daughter,'” Tom said.

Tom has found similarities between himself and the original landowner. As Postoak himself built his home by hand, he also built all the structures across the ranch himself as well. Tom spoke of Postoak almost as if he knew him personally, but the catch is Tom himself has no Native American descent.

He and his family respect the Native American culture, even refusing to enter the cemetery.

“I just don’t feel right going in there because I’m not Creek,” he said.

The cemetery holds 143 marked graves along with several unmarked.

Warren has allowed other members of the tribe to visit and allows volunteers from a Muscogee (Creek) church to care for it.

The Warren’s bought the property almost a quarter century ago, for what was intended to be for family activity purposes with their two young children at the time. Now they live on and host the property as a bed and breakfast and event venue and share the experience with their eight grandchildren.

Located in the most northeastern part of the Muscogee Reservation, the property has it all; spring fed bodies of water, creeks, grasslands, woods, hills, lodging and entertainment along with added hiking trails and cultural activities. That’s what attracted the Warrens here.

“I wanted the meadow; he wanted the lake,” Suzy said.

And that’s where the name came from. The large body of natural water that cuts out a large hill that gives a very mountainous feels for being in the plains, but once you turn around from looking down you see land for miles.

The scenery even attracted the FX Series “Reservation Dogs” co-created by Muscogee/Seminole Sterlin Harjo.

Tom is a huge fan of the show, “Sterlin Harjo is a genius,” he said.

Tom believes that the scenes filmed in the woods of his property are in episodes five, six, and seven.

After touring the scenery on the back of the property in wooded area and taking a new road that was built specifically for the Reservation Dogs staff, it is clear that the Warrens were very accommodating to the production crews that come along.

Meadowlake Ranch was a primary location for the Oscar-winning “Minari” and other independent films like “The Rock-n-Roll Dreams of Christopher Duncan” along with several national commercials, documentary and made for TV commercials, according to Tom.

The ranch’s first claim to fame may have been in 2008 when Paul McCartney spent his 66th birthday at the bed and breakfast.

Meadowlake Ranch has grown beyond the Warren’s intention becoming a new hotspot for film makers, while hosting special ceremonies like weddings, celebrations of life, the Dude Ranch, hiking trails, cabins, barns, lodge, gun range, calf practice roping, tomahawk and axe throwing, swimming, and really any outdoor activity to be thought can be accommodated by Tom himself.

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