These are not the total
number of buildings on campus but these are showing the variety.
The very large stone buildings were built with stone quarried not too
far from the school. They were massive but they were never
uncomfortable. The power plant provided steam heat. The
pipes ran under the side walks and kept them free of ice in the winter.
The stone was heavy enough to keep them cool in the warm season.
The cottages called the
practice cottages were for the teaching of Home Economics. There
was a period of time a small group of girls were assigned to these
buildings to actually live there. The purpose was to give a more
complete understanding of home living, European style. Table setting,
preparation of meals, enjoying invited guests, cleaning of the home, and
in general all training surrounding the care one gives a family.
Child care was also included with the employees children coming for one
half a day.
These cottages were the
style of the homes where the employees lived also. There were
cottages surrounding the outside perimeters of the school.
Not enough can be said as to
the marvel of the success of the putting together of these schools.
Whatever criticism there is one must admit it certainly was a better way
than warfare. Quite frankly without the design and carrying out of
these more kind methods there may still to this day be a more unsettled
and difficult time with relations. Because not only did the American
Indian learn the White man's way, but the White man by association
learned about the intelligence, willingness to cooperate, and strong
values of the Native. So many of the Natives values have contributed to
the strength of their educators and the total population too.
Dr. Leon Wall as he was
struggling to hold on to the school wrote a book called, "Tomahawks
Over Chilocco." In the book he outlines the many ways the
attacks were made to close the school. After all these years since the
closing more understanding was granted to me as to what really happened.
The student at the upper
left hand corner of the picture of the annual staff is my mother's
brother, Edward Pensoneau. During his life time Uncle Ed was
successful in the work he did with the Ponca tribe. He did very
much writing which was necessary to help with governmental projects. He
lost his wife before his family was completely grown and he finished
raising his children alone. The comment was made, "Truly this
man was most devoted to his children and on to their children."
His family was his greatest focus. His children are well educated and
The Chilocco Band and
Orchestra. Counting four from the right, first row, seated is my
Mother, Velma Pensoneau Jones. She is the girl in the light coat holding
a violin. Velma was an officer in the military school rank of captain.
Her vocation was home economics and she worked as a seamstress in the
sewing room. Her skills in sewing have contributed to many of her
tribe learning the craft for making their regalia, the total outfit, but
mainly the lovely patterns and designs of ribbon work.
She attended classes at
Oklahoma University when she was working with O.I.O., Oklahoma for
Indian's Opportunity. At this time she was instrumental in the
setting up of many programs that are in action today in the local school
system. These all had to do with Native American students sharing their
culture with the local citizens through their children in the school.
There has been a greater understanding between the races as a result.
Today there are what are
called "Hobbyists". They take on the duties and
responsibilities of learning the accurate culture of the tribe after
being adopted by a member of the tribe. With their knowledge
carefully outlined to them they are able to take a part in all aspects
of the tribal functions, except, of course, the government. This
allows only card holding tribal members.
Velma has contributed her
time to the educating of numbers of people in this area. The
Hobbyists are of no blood descent but it is difficult to tell that they
are not totally Native American.
In this way and other ways
she has completely and totally dedicated her life to the culture
of her forefathers and to helping others which she so loves. Before the
changing of their lifestyle this sort of dedication was what freed
the Native people from having some who were impoverished or hungry. This
interchange kept them physically and emotionally balanced. Unless one
has experienced this it is hard to explain.