Garland Kent is the president
of the local Chilocco Alumni Association. His daughter, Janie, and wife,
Lucy, wait here for arriving guests to come through the door so they can put
them on our sign-in sheet. I was so proud of Garland for having his whole
family at this gathering. This is one of the things we want to accomplish.
Soon the old graduating alumni will be no more and it is our hopes that we
can involve our children and their children in an associates membership so
that the memory of Chilocco and what the school did for our families can be
James Edwards, last year's
president of the National Chapter, and his wife, Jeannie, sit quietly to
listen to the program. Draped over the back of their chairs are the jackets
to identify them with Chilocco.
One of the descendants of a
Chilocco family enjoys one of the sweet treats here. There was a lavish
presentation of food in a pot luck meal. Baskets of fried chicken, every
vegetable dish, numbers of cakes and a wonderful blackberry pit of which I
had one blackberry, (drat).
Betty Durkee, who is an
executive from the Kaw Nation spoke. Her presentation was information and
positive. She spoke of some of the future goals being considered for the
development of Chilocco at this present day, by the Kaw tribe, 2005. One of
their first wishes is to consider a wind farm on their segment of land. This
would do two things. l. Bring in revenue. 2 Provide energy at a low cost
for the maintenance of the buildings which is too great for any other power
company at the time. Chilocco at one time had their own power plant. Betty
pointed out that the restoring of the building would be costly because of
their having been built with asbestos. The regulations on removing that are
stringent (and we lived in those buildings?)
If anyone can achieve this monumental task it would be Betty and the Kaw
tribe. Betty Durkee was one of the first grant writers for the Standing Bear
Park which is so successful today.
Chilocco grads and associates
sit and listen intently to the speaker. Some of these are: Elizabeth
Pensoneau Primeaux, Ponca City; Clyde Otipoby, Ponca City; Mrs. King,
Newkirk; Bret Carter, Ponca City, Ken Ellis, Tulsa; Freida Homaratha,
Bret Carter tells us where
the status of the work his group did with recording evidence of Chilocco in
its present condition. He did say that since there is so much to be
documented that it will take some time before it is presented to the
National Historical Society. However, he did say that the work was being
done and is going forward. The writing of the material will be akin to
writing a book, he said. He has the photographs but isn't ready yet, to
present them. There are over some 300 and will have to be mounted in albums
for display. Chilocco is a valuable part of our history he pointed out, and
will, no doubt, be recognized as such.
James Edwards, Tulsa, is last
year's Alumni president. He is a strong leader and has an important job this
year with the National Association. Jim is a strong leader and in this role
he is concerned with each and every Chilocco graduate and associate. Efforts
by men like these are what have kept the memory of the school alive.
Ken Ellis speaks here,
briefly. He is the one who designs web pages for a living. His page of
http://chiloccoalumni.com/ is visited daily by a great audience from
all over the nation.
Jeannie Edwards, Mrs. James
Edwards, speaks here about the up coming National meeting of the alumni. I
didn't take notes so I can't tell you all that she said. However, she did
cover each day of the agenda for the meeting. It sounded very interested.
One of the things planned is a sign language presentation. These are
undoubtedly the most beautiful things anyone can see. She said there would
be a performance by a Cherokee choir. A fashion show by someone from each
tribe will be given. This alone will be worth the attendance.
My whole thought of working toward some part of the Chilocco campus for a
meeting place was to give people who are not able to spend the great amount
of money to meet with their old classmates that is necessary with this
National program. Jeannie did say they would provide one person, who could
not, otherwise attend, with a ticket. This will be held at the Sheraton
Hotel in Tulsa for next year.
Jim Baker's picture, for some reason, did not come out. He is this year's
president. He was a student at Chilocco, graduated in 1960, and then became
superintendant during the turbulent times before its closing. I know what a
hard role that was for him to play. Nevertheless, he managed to go through
it in a dignified way. I believe he will do a great job as president this