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Dancing to the top

Meris Miller, Osage, cheering on the OU Pom Squad at the Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in front of 86,000 fans. Courtesy Photo/Nick Smith

To most in the Osage Nation dancing is already second nature, and to Meris Miller, dancing is life. Miller is an Osage tribal member and after 17 years of dancing, Miller made her dream come true as a teammate on the OU Pom Squad for the University of Oklahoma.

“Being able to represent Osage Nation at the University of Oklahoma is an honor. I could not have achieved my dreams without the support from my family and the tribe,” Miller said.

If you’ve seen Miller represent the Sooners on Fox Gameday’s Big Noon Kickoff or ESPN’s College Gameday, you know that she makes dancing look effortless. Yet, to get to where she’s at took a tremendous amount of effort.

Since the age of three, Miller knew she had a passion for dance. Now, at age 20, Miller is able to look back at 13 years of competitive dancing, six years pomming at Enid Public Schools, three years performing in the Osage Ballet, and countless dance conventions, summer camps, and private lessons.

“The commitment and requirement it takes being on the pom squad can be overwhelming but extremely rewarding,” she said. “We practice three days a week for three and a half hours during the fall semester in order to prepare for football and basketball season. After the fall semester is over, while most students go home, we stay on campus over Christmas break to prepare to compete at nationals. We are required to attend football, basketball, and wrestling events, take part in community service in the Norman and Oklahoma City area, and host pom clinics for potential new team members.”

The OU Pom Squad, according to soonersports.com, believes deeply in their role as ambassadors of the University and represent OU at a variety of alumni, civic, and charitable events and are committed to displaying a positive and collegiate image at all times that reflects the values and traditions of the University of Oklahoma. The OU Pom Squad consists of 24 members and also performs jazz and hip-hop at university functions and athletic contests.

On top of her pom commitments, Miller also tackles the most time-consuming task of all: being a full-time college student. Currently, Miller is a sophomore with a major in marketing and a minor in management, and although it may seem difficult to tackle the projects and tests alongside the pom commitments, Miller makes that seem effortless as well.

“I managed to get a 4.0 GPA last spring, so with good time management and commitment you really can do it all,” she said.

Miller’s Osage name is 𐓀𐓘͘𐓮𐓣𐓲𐓟𐓸𐓣 (Mahn-see-tseh-xee) Sacred Arrow Shaft. She belongs to the 𐓊𐓣𐓻𐓪 𐓷𐓘𐓯𐓰𐓘𐓤𐓟 (Tsee-zhoh wah-shdah-keh) Clan and the 𐓒𐓘͘𐓺𐓪𐓧𐓣͘ Hominy District. She is the daughter of Jocelyn and Matt Miller; the granddaughter of Jox and Janis Carpenter of Tulsa, and Dr. Gary and Mary Miller of Enid; the great-granddaughter of John A. and Lenora Matin Fields and George and Louise Ridge Carpenter and the great-great-granddaughter of Original Allottees Walter and Helen Pratt Matin and Rhoda Wheeler Ridge.

Miller describes herself as Sooner born and Sooner bred, and that she feels incredibly fortunate to have all her dreams come to fruition. As for what’s next, stay tuned, this won’t be the last you’ve heard of this dancing queen.

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Natasha Lovato
Natasha is a Colorado native born with a passion for the natural world. When she’s not hiking, paddle boarding or cycling you’ll find her curled up with a good book and her cats.
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