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Two Osages honored by Oklahoma Council on Indian Education at annual conference

Paula Martinez and Lee Bowman were honored at the Oklahoma Council on Indian Education’s 38th annual conference, held at the Choctaw Resort and Casino in Durant on Dec. 5.

Martinez was honored as the 2017 OCIE Teacher of the Year and Lee Bowman was honored as the 2017 OCIE High School Student of the Year. Both Martinez and Bowman are from Fairfax and the Grayhorse District where Martinez serves as a Grayhorse Committee Cook and Bowman dances.

The OCIE was established in 1983 to “advocate for educational excellence and equal opportunity for American Indian students in the state of Oklahoma” and for “full participation of parents of Indian students and tribes in the retention, maintenance, and preservation of tribal cultures and languages,” according to a resolution passed at this year’s conference.

Martinez has taught Health and Physical Education at Woodland Public Schools for 27 years. She has taught Elementary P.E., has coached junior high and high school girls and boys track for 23 years, cross country for 15 years and basketball for eight years. It is well known within the Osage community that Martinez was an Oklahoma record holder for decades in the 800 meter and 1600 meter runs, she was nominated for the prestigious Jim Thorpe Award and she attended Oklahoma State University on a full athletic scholarship and ran for OSU. She graduated a student athlete and earned her Bachelor of Science degree.

While coaching at Woodland, the girl’s track team took the State Class 2A runner up title in 2002, 2003 and 2005. The high school boys’ cross country team took the Class 2A academic champions title in 2009, and the high school girls were the academic state track and field champions in 2012. She was the region 6 Class 2A track Coach of the Year in 2005, Cross country region 6 Coach of the Year in 2016, as well as the Woodland Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2002 where she incorporates the Osage language.

“It is a great honor to be nominated for the OCIE Education Teacher of the year award,” she said. “I am very thankful for the award. I am very honored to have loving parents who always supported my brother Bruce, and sister Terry, in all of our endeavors because they helped us reach our highest potentials in life.”

Martinez is Osage, Creek, Seminole, Pawnee and Rose Bud Sioux. She and her husband Ray are the parents of three grown children and the grandparents of five grandchildren, three of which attend the Osage Language Immersion School. She is the daughter of Judy Tiger and the late Jim Tiger.

Bowman is a senior at Woodland High School where he has already completed 18 hours of college credit and will graduate with honors in May.

“The school district added a special math course for him, because they recognize that he wants and needs to have a strong background in math to be a successful Pre-Med student,” said Teresa Holloway Bledsoe, one of his teachers at Woodland.

Bowman was a member of the first class of interns for the Osage Nation’s Health Career Summer Scholarship program where he interned for four weeks at the Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center in August of last year. At the time of his internship he said:

“The best thing about this program is seeing what it takes to make a clinic run and go smoothly and properly. After I graduate I want to go into the medical field to become a pediatrician. One of the things that I’ve learned from this program is that knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have about anything really, business or medical field, and whatever it really takes. It’s best to know as much as possible.”

He is a regular volunteer at his church and school, he is a natural leader in the class and on the athletic field, he helps his family on their ranch, is an older brother and is a continuous help to family and friends, Bledsoe said.

He was unable to accept the award in person due to a “devastating sports injury” and had to have multiple surgeries.

“He has been taught to Wash-kon, or to do your best, and has proven that he can battle through adversity. Many Native youth in our community see him as someone they strive to be. Someone they could seek out in a time of need. He has found his path,” she said.


Shannon Shaw Duty

Original Publish Date: 2018-01-09 00:00:00


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.

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