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O K L A H O M A I N D I A N N AT I O N S C U LT U R E + E V E N T S

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..... 5 Gatherings.............. 6 Original Tribal Names

The Boarding School Experience

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R i v e R s p i R i t t u l s a .c o m Cover: M Renee Alexander (Sac & Fox/Otoe/Pawnee) and this page, photographs by John Jernigan

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ORIGINAL TRIBAL NAMES

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G AT H E R I N G S BINGER

GIVING THANKS

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NORMAN Kiowa Language Class Thursdays, 6 to 7:30 pm, Jacobson House Facilitated by Carole Willis and Dane Poolaw Jacobson Art House, 609 Chautauqua Ave 405-366-1667, jacobsonhouse@gmail.com http://www. jacobsonhouse.com

OKLAHOMA CITY American Indian Chamber of Commerce Second Wednesdays, 11:30 am Meinders School of Business/OCU NW 26th St & McKinley Buffet Luncheon, $20 Holiday Mixer at Riverwind on Thursday, December 9 Information/RSVP: heidi_offutt@cox.net

Red Earth Museum & Gallery 6 Santa Fe Plaza, downtown http://www.redearth.org; 405-427-5228 Coming in November: The Urban 5

Saturday, November 20 Petroleum Club, Downtown Auctions and of art and merchandise, food and music. Red attire is encouraged $100 per person. Tickets by information: [405] 570-8332, rita.w@okcic.com

DUR ANT Choctaw Traditional Potters’ Expo Saturday, November 27, 10 am to 8 pm Choctaw RV Park (East of Event Center) Demontsrations and work for sale. For more information, contact the Choctaw Nation Historic Preservation Office 800-522-6170 x2216

ANADARKO Southern Plains Indian Museum Current Exhibition: Shan Goshorn (Eastern Cherokee) 715 E Central Blvd The museum features richly varied arts of western Oklahoma tribal peoples. spim@netride.net, 405-247-6221

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THE

An exhibition of photographs and memorabilia of the life and times of the Fort Sill Indian School

BOARDING SCHOOL E XPE R I E NCE

Photographs courtesy Comanche Nation Museum and Cultural Center

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he Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center celebrates the history and legacy of an Oklahoma historical institution with the opening of a new exhibition titled Fort Sill Indian School–The Boarding School Experience. The exhibit was conceived, developed and organized by Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center staff and consists of photographs and memorabilia documenting the life and times of the school. The exhibit will be on display at the museum through April 30, 2011. Fort Sill Indian School was opened on February 20, 1871 by Ohio preacher, Reverend Josiah Butler, his wife, Elizabeth, and members of a Quaker organization called the Society of Friends. Its first class consisted of just 7 American Indian children but over the next 109 years, thousands were educated there. Initially, FSIS provided instruction through only the 8th grade with additional grades added throughout the 1930s. The first graduating class received their high school diplomas in 1939. Fort Sill Indian School operated with a traditional curriculum until 1936-37 when emphasis was placed on vocational subjects devoted mainly to farming and homemaking. Students attended class a half day and worked the other half. Work details involved dairy farming, engineering, laundry work, kitchen work and anything else that needed to be done around the school. Many of the students remained on campus eleven months of the year in order to care for student projects such as field crops and farm animals. Until the mid-1940s, Fort Sill Indian School only accepted students from 7 Oklahoma tribes: Comanche, Kiowa, Caddo, Delaware, Wichita, Apache and Kiowa-Apache. Enrollment dropped drastically by the end of World War II. The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs then changed policy and allowed Navajo students from Arizona and New Mexico to be admitted. Other tribes soon followed. Students from as many as 14 states and 64 different tribes received their education at FSIS. In 1960, the school’s program changed from vocational to academic and basic core courses were required for graduation. During the 1970s, thee school faced a decline in the number of local students and by this

time, most of its students came from out of state. Fort Sill Indian School wasn’t alone; the same scenario was also being played out at other Indian schools across the country. The government stepped in to assess the situation and concluded that it was in its best interest to close a number of off-reservation boarding schools. Fort Sill Indian School was one of the schools forced to close. The school graduated its last class in the spring of 1980. Many of the old buildings still stand today. The campus is largely closed to the public but special events are occasionally held on site, including powwows and a yearly gathering of school alumni.

T h e B oa r d i ng S c h o o l E x p e r i e nc e In the late 1800s, policy makers assumed the Indians would change if they were kept away from their traditional ways. Reformers convinced the leaders of Congress that with the proper education and treatment, Indians could become just like other citizens. “The early boarding school era was not pleasurable by any means for the first American Indian students who experienced it,” says Phyllis Wahahrockah-Tasi, Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center Executive Director. Students had their hair cut short and their traditional clothing was replaced with uniforms. The children were immediately taught English and use of native language was strictly forbidden. Wahahrockah-Tasi adds, “our ancestors endured a lot. This exhibit pays tribute them and every student who rose from the unpleasantness to make the school into a proud institution of learning for American Indians from all across the country.” Fort Sill Indian School, The Boarding School Experience On display through April 2011 Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center 701 NW Ferris Ave, Lawton Admission is free; tour groups are welcome. http://www.comanchemuseum.com 580-353-0404

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GIVING THANKS By Storm Brave

I love my culture and all it brings with it… the rich texture of the broadcloth… the beautiful beadwork… the importance of family and community. My name is Storm Brave and I am a fifteen year old sophomore at Shidler High School. My grandpa gave me my Kaw Indian name, Mi Omba Mi, which means Moonlight Woman.

My culture and traditions are the greatest and I wouldn’t trade being Native for anything. I study language with the Kaw Nation to help keep my native tongue alive. I work in the Kaa ze Language Department with my teacher of eight years, doing recordings and editing. Right now we are making a graded reader book and a CD to go along with it.

I am Kaw, Osage, Cherokee and Citizen Potawatomi. Last summer I traveled way up into Kansas to participate in the Council Grove Washunga Days Pow-Wow, where I was Princess. My duties included representing the event at other Pow-Wows, and giving speeches about my culture and my plans for my future. I passed my banner to the next Princess, so now I will focus on my school and basketball.

For the last year I have been learning and practicing songs–mostly Ponca, Osage and Kaw. Finally, I have the honor of being able to be put around the drum by Henry Collins as a lady singer. I first sang with the Night Hawks Drum. I think I have a lot going for me now but it is a big responsibility, too. This is how I have really learned that life has costs and rewards.

I love to dance. Every June, I get to go to the Osage Il’lon-ska dances and see my friends and extended family, and most of all DANCE! The Pawhuska District dances are always packed and I always get excited to see the dancers, the regalia and the pretty ribbon work skirts. I also love going to Pow-Wows, except when it is blistering hot and I am wearing all of my wool clothes! I love the surroundings and spiritual feeling of the Kaw ceremonial dances, where my family takes part.

On Thanksgiving Day I plan to attend a dance at Washunga Bay near Kaw City. Everyone is welcome and there is a Thanksgiving meal at 4 pm, with the dance starting at 7 pm. The head staff will all be young Natives who are learning to keep and carry on our traditions. I know this day will be special and fun! I am thankful for who I am. I hope other people feel as great about their heritage as I do mine and give thanks for their blessings.

Opposite: Storm Brave at the Kaw Il’loska dances last summer. Dreamcatcher Images

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The Red Earth Museum was featured prominently during the Oklahoma Classics races held at Oklahoma City’s Remington Park Racing Casino. The evening was the richest racing program for Oklahoma-bred Thoroughbreds with more than $1 million in purse money on the line. The Oklahoma Classics program has been presented every year at Remington Park since its inception in 1993. This is the first year the series has been worth more than $1 million in total stakes money. Entertainment provided by Red Earth included Native American art, music, dancing, Native American art booths and original art from the Red Earth Museum & Gallery. —Eric Oesch

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Back cover and this page: Dreamcatcher Images


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Dreamcatcher 014 Nov 2010  

Gatherings: OU vs UT, American Indian Chamber of Commerce, Choctaw Expo, Indian Summer at Bartlesville; The Boarding School Experience; Givi...

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