March 4th Celebration
at Chilocco by the Five Tribes upon receiving the Historical
Words cannot express
how happy I am to see this kind of gathering for the first time since
Chilocco was closed. There have been other small events but nothing
as productive and positive as this one.
Margaret Husted, a
former employee's child, told me she saw Parish Williams there. He is
the oldest Ponca still living. She said he had his oxygen tank with
him and was attended by a number of his granddaughters and great
In the pictures Dan
Jones, my brother and chairman of the Ponca tribe, is the one with the
braids in the second and third picture.
Notes shared with me by
Bret Carter. I couldn't go. Mother was just over the pneumonia and
still very weak.
I do wish you could
have been there. To see the 300 or so people there in celebration, and
to see the 5 chairmen of the 5 tribes on the dias along with the
president of the National Alumni, sharing a common vision of the
restoration and reuse of the school was historic in its self. In
addition to the Chilocco alumni and former employees - and their
children - there was a large number of people who have no connection
to Chilocco at the event. They were interested in the school and will
be part of it's future - to bring together the tribes, the alumni, the
former employees, the preservationists, and those from the area who
want to see the school preserved - what a powerful set of
Your brother Dan so eloquently spoke of taking this
school, planned as a way to destroy the native culture, and using it
in the future to preserve those cultures. Exactly what I have been
saying - it is so good to see someone of such intellect coming to the
same conclusion that I with my lesser reasoning skills also arrived
at! Dan will be an important part of the leadership towards the
preservation of the school.
On such a beautiful sunny day, with just a hint of
coolnesss in the wind, sitting assembled in the center of the oval
surrounded by the tattered but yet majestic buildings and hearing the
chairmen of each of the tribes express their commitment to the
preservation and reuse of every building of that historic place -
Donna, it is thanks to you and the other alumni
and their persistance and heart-felt love of Chilocco that has driven
the efforts to this point. The friendships that have developed between
the alumni and those would could get things done (Heather Siefert of
Preservation OKlahoma and Jim Gabbert and Melvena Heisch of the State
Historic Preservation Office along with Lisa Otipoby) has inspired
people to attain this first small step, and will hopefully sustain us
all to even greater things!
Thanks to Bert Carter for the pictures.