The Osage Nation Johnson O’Malley Program (JOM) promoted cultural awareness across the reservation as students celebrated Native American Month with events for their school and communities. The JOM parent committees at Pawhuska, Skiatook and Hominy sponsored these annual events for their students to enjoy and take pride in their Native heritage. Native American students need to be proud of their culture and feel confident in order to succeed in all aspects of their lives.
Students from every school in Pawhuska filled the Oren Terrill Fieldhouse stands to listen to the guest speaker, Litefoot, talk about his entertainment career. He is known as the first Native American rapper and has won several Native American music awards, including “Artist of the Year”. Litefoot also appeared in several movies and television shows including: Indian in the Cupboard (1995), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Song of Hiawatha (1997) and C.S.I: Miami. He discussed the determination he felt to succeed and how this helped him to overcome negativity within his own community. Afterwards, he signed autographs and posed for photos to the delight of the students.
Young Osage girls, dressed in their traditional clothes, filled the Wakon Iron to participate in the JOM honor dance for the crowning of the new princesses. Ciera Cheshewalla, Allison Jones and Jaycie Bighorse accepted the honor of serving as the new 2009-10 Pawhuska JOM princesses. The outgoing tiny tot princess, Eva Harden, sponsored a junior girl’s cloth contest and awarded trophies to the winners. The Pawhuska JOM parents felt pleased to host this event for their students and happy that it went so well.
The following weekend brought many visitors to the Skiatook community for the 6th annual Skiatook JOM powwow. This event featured an afternoon gourd dance, Indian taco dinner and competition dancing. The Skiatook JOM parents also use this event to honor their graduating seniors with gifts and recognition. This annual tradition is important to the Skiatook JOM program and attendance grows every year.
The Hominy JOM committee also celebrated Native American month by sponsoring the annual heritage day event. The program began at the elementary in the morning and finished at the high school in the afternoon. The students participated in hand games, intertribal dancing and fun activities throughout the day. This event usually happens in May; however, the parent committee felt the need to celebrate Native American month and hosted this event for that purpose.
The Osage JOM community celebrated November as Native American month with events that showcased Native American culture and heritage. These special occasions are important to the Osage students that may feel outnumbered or insignificant in mainstream society. It helps them to feel confident and proud of their identity as Native Americans. Please contact Avis Ballard at 918-287-5545 for more information about the Osage Nation Johnson O’Malley Program.