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Chilocco - Today and Yesterday
March 4th Celebration at Chilocco by the Five Tribes

March 4th Celebration at Chilocco by the Five Tribes upon receiving the Historical Preservation Plaques

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 granddaughters.

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 partnerships!

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 - awesome!

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.

Return to Donna's Journal Index Page


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