American History May 14, 2005 Program
Cherokee Strip Museum
The small gathering at The
Cherokee Strip Museum was made up of senior citizens. They had come to hear
about The Old Chilocco School which was my job since I was the invited
speaker. Of course, the material is too extensive to allow anyone to cover
all there is to know. As the older people filed in with their spouses, I
handed them a potholder and a book mark as a gift of appreciation for having
come. Like children with a small Burger King toy the folks were grateful for
this small token.
The first thing on my
program was to pass around the picture that had been in my Grandmother's
things. The students shown in the very old photo going back to 1910 was of
boys who were photographed in their military uniform.
The photographs were passed around so everyone had an opportunity to look at
them up close. There were about ten different photographs.
It was my wish to point out how dedicated the teachers, instructors and
superintendent were and to show also how the school had been self-supporting
for many years up until the last decade.
After we went over each picture, the floor was opened to questions and some
of them were:
1. What about the discipline?
Reply: Work was the discipline all received for breaking rules.
2. How many students attended during one year:
Reply: Usually around a thousand, that is, until the last years when
3. Why did the children who are in the cemetery die? Was it an outbreak of
Reply: It may have been. I then told them about the typhoid shots we
took during flood stages
Of the Arkansas City River.
4. Was it true that the students were not allowed to speak their own
Reply: Yes this was true.
5. Was it true that harsh physical discipline was used?
Reply: I never knew of it, although some said it happened.
6. When was the military regimentation of uniforms, marching etc. dropped?
Reply: It was not a sudden thing to happen. Just one by one those
military practices were dropped. Even after there were no longer military
rules there were other things practiced that was similar. Grand parade
march in's at the parties was one thing.
7. Are there any hopes of the five owning tribes to use the old school?
Reply: Recent meeting again between the tribes is a beginning for
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