There was such a smooth
transition between the speakers it was fascinating to watch. It was as if
they had been on this panel for all their lives. Dee was impressed with
the very pleasant way these elder people went about speaking to the
youthful group in front of them. For the most part there were only a
few, who yawned, squirmed in their chairs, or whispered to each other.
For the most part they were very attentive and Dee felt this was
It was obvious the children
were of all tribes, mixed as they were. The facial characteristics and
their physical bodies were very different. Having experienced the years at
Chilocco Dee could almost know the tribes of the children, but not
completely, since there had been such an intermarriage which gave these
individuals traits from all tribes.
The third speaker
introduced herself. Good morning. I was born in 1929,
She was honest and not
afraid to admit her age. Why should she be? She was youthful in
appearance. Her hair was gray, but this was the only thing to speak of her
age. Otherwise, she stood tall and with dignity. She wasn't over
weight. Her attractive knit sweater she wore revealed a very well put
It's good to be here. I
consider it a privilege to hear these elders speak. I agree we all did
go through some rough times. My grandchildren will say, 'Grandmother,
were you living during those dust storms in Oklahoma?
Yes, I tell them. We did
go through some rough times then. Plus the fact that we had no running
water. We had to pump or water. The only good thing about that was it
seemed like the longer we pumped the colder the water became. It sure
tasted good. Otherwise, if we wanted cold water we had to buy a block of
ice in town and bring it home.
In the mornings we pumped
the water and put it into tubs which sat outside. By the end of the day
the sun made the water warm enough for our bath.
We walked every day to
school. It was a school house like the one you see on Little House on the
Prairie. There were two rooms. The little room was for the children in
grades one through four. The big room was for children five through eight
grades. There was an outside bathroom. I walked to that school house for
eight years and then graduated.
When my folks decided to
move to town that was hard too. We were rather like the Beverly
Hillbillies, not knowing how to adjust to town life.
East was where I went
for the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. I was getting ready to go to Po
High (Ponca City High School) by taking summer school. A neighbor worked
at Conoco and they gave me a ride in their car for that far. The rest of
the way I jogged from Conoco to Po High (minimum of two and one half
"At the end of this summer
my mother called me to her. You must go to Chilocco. I have you
enrolled. The paper work is done.
Oh, I can tell you I
didn't want to go. I was so afraid. But, it was what my mother said I
must do. She said I could not jog every day to school through the cold,
rain and bad weather. So, Chilocco sent a bus and I went.
There were six dormitories
at the time, three for boys and three for girls. I had to stay at home
three. It was big and old. It was so scarey. But, the longer I stayed the
more I liked it. Mother told me, 'these are the best years of your
I graduated in 1948.
Today I am a member of the National Alumni Society for Chilocco. I enjoy
so much going to the meetings.
Those days at Chilocco were a time when they were really strict with us.
We were taught to respect our elders.
As to the relationship of
our people, our Native people, we too were taught respect. Don't call them
by their names. They are your relatives, know their relationship to you
and call them by that.
Always remember who you
are and where you came from.