Jennie Stockle: Include Native history in Oklahoma curriculum

Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry

Jennie Stockle of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry calls for Oklahoma to include more Native history in the public school curriculum:
Political relationships have always been strained in Oklahoma between Native American Tribal Nations and the Oklahoma state government. However, as many people point out constantly, it's 2014 and it is time to build lasting good relationships with all the governments here and not just the Oklahoma settler-based city and county governments. Our Tribal Nations are leading by example when they donate millions of dollars to education and other community projects that benefit everyone, both Native and non-Native. In contrast, the state mostly teaches the history of the white settlers and has little to offer in communicating with Native American leaders in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma public schools re-enact "Free Land Runs" and so do the adults. Native American children are taught to "claim their land" like the other students. The truth is Native Americans were already here in Oklahoma. The land they inhabit to this very day was not free. Our nations and ancestors had been forced to give up everything and come to Oklahoma. The only thing that was kept in some cases, besides the clothes on their back, was their citizenship in their Tribal Nations. The trust land we have today we protect for our children, just like our ancestors did for us. My Creek-Cherokee ancestor "Old" Beaver told the Indian agent by translator, "No Sir, I have never filed upon any land. I am opposed to the allotment of land among the Indians. If my name appears upon either the Creek or Cherokee Roll, I am hedged about with corner stones..." and if he had been given a choice, he stated he would rather his name be stricken from the rolls, but he like many other Natives were forced to have an allotment.

Unlike the Land-run settlers that came to Oklahoma in 1889, my ancestor, like Jennie Bearpaw, had already been born in Georgia and died in Indian Territory, later Oklahoma, during the course of the Civil War. When Oklahomans start the history here by their standards alone and ignore these people that are my family, it is a discrimination. Oklahomans that claim it is equal and fair here are ignoring the "salient" members of Oklahoma society that act otherwise.

Get the Story:
Jennie Stockle: Oklahoma Needs Better Native History Curriculum (Indian Country Today 6/12)

Join the Conversation