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AARP Oklahoma recognizes Charles Lookout and Julia Wilson

Osage elders Charles Lookout and Julia Wilson were among the 50 elders recognized at the 5th annual AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors.

The annual banquet and ceremony took plact at the National Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oct. 1. The event is the largest celebration of older Native Americans in the state.

“Though they come from different backgrounds and cultures, we see in tonight’s honorees, the common bond they share – respect, dignity and service to their fellow man,” said AARP Oklahoma State President Marjorie Lyons. “Tonight, we add these names to the distinguished list of past honorees. We say ‘thank you’ and we give thanks for the ways they have touched so many lives in their families, communities and in our state.”

In the past five years, AARP has honored 250 Indian Elders from all 39-federally recognized tribes and nations headquartered in Oklahoma, she said. 

Charles Lookout, 90, a tribal leader and veteran, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946 where he served on the CV-3 U.S. Saratoga, the largest aircraft carrier in the American fleet at the time.  He earned six battle campaign medals as well as the Navy/Marine Core Combat metal.  Following his service, he earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree from Oklahoma State University and was employed by the Tulsa City County library for 20 years.  He has served as VFW Post Commander and Past Alumni President for the Theta Chi Fraternity. Lookout is a native of Pawhuska and a long-time committee member on the Pawhuska In-Lon-Schka Dance Committee.

Julia Wilson is an active community volunteer and role model in Pawhuska. She is a volunteer not only in her tribe, but also in the community and her church. As a breast cancer survivor, Wilson is an inspiration to others and is actively involved in walks and other activities that help fund breast cancer research and awareness.

AARP Oklahoma State President Marjorie Lyons said this event, which has grown into the largest celebration of older Native Americans in the state, is a tribute to the venerated position of honor and respect tribal nations give to their elders.

“Though they come from different backgrounds and cultures, we see in tonight’s honorees, the common bond they share – respect, dignity and service to their fellow man,” she said. “Tonight, we add these names to the distinguished list of past honorees. We say ‘thank you’ and we give thanks for the ways they have touched so many lives in their families, communities and in our state.”

Other honorees this year included a nationally known chef who cooks healthy recipes inspired by indigenous food, a world-record powerlifting champion, spiritual and cultural leaders, dancers and veterans, according to a prepared release.

Other notable AARP projects include: a comprehensive survey of the needs and wants of Native Americans in Oklahoma, healthy cooking seminars, food security programs and health care law education for Native Americans, according to a prepared release.

    The AARP also has an Oklahoma Inter-Tribal Community Group. The community group, which is open to all 50+ Native Americans in Oklahoma, is working on cultural, health and transportation issues that affect Indian Country. To find more about this group, email ok@aarp.org or call 1-866-295-7277.