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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.

     Next I passed the very lovely photo of Mr. L.E. Correll who was the superintendent for so many years: (click on photo to enlarge).

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 enrollment dropped.

3. Why did the children who are in the cemetery die?  Was it an outbreak of some disease.
    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 language.
      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 negotiation

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