Following a three-year pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic, JOM students once again attended the Native American Youth Leadership Day at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa.
The event drew nearly 100 students on July 19. Organizers said students from six tribal nations, including the Iowa, Kaw, Pawnee, Ponca, and Tonkawa, attended the event designed to prepare students for college and future career paths, emphasizing culture, leadership, and academic achievement.
Participants toured the college campus, learned about NOC programs and also listened to discussions about scholarships and college classes. The Osage Nation Education Department staff led a discussion on financial literacy, emphasizing the importance of budgeting, saving, and financial goals.
Altogether, the ONED brought 19 JOM students, grades 7-12.
According to a press release, four leaders emerged from the Osage Nation and JOM program during the event. Aubree Lookout represented the Hominy JOM program, Madison Bighorse represented the Pawhuska JOM program, and Jeanetta Martinez represented the Skiatook JOM Program. These three princesses introduced themselves and greeted the crowd. Henry Pratt, an Osage student from Pawhuska, received the student leadership award from the ONED for outstanding participation in culture, academic, and leadership positions.
For 10 years, tribal representatives have collaborated with staff from NOC to host a Native American Leadership Day for area youth. The conference theme, “Culture, Leadership, Academics of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” focused on college and career goals. Other highlights of the day included a stickball demonstration by Jake Roberts and a comedic performance by Kasey Nicholson.