CHILOCCO — The Chilocco National Alumni Association will be hosting a powwow in June at the former school campus in northern Oklahoma.
The event will feature several dances at a nearby casino and a reunion of those who graduated from Chilocco Indian School.
“It’s something we have every year,” said Lucy Kent, who is a graduate of the now-closed school.
“Everybody’s welcome to come, if they want to dance, they can,” she said in an interview May 16.
The reunion starts May 31, but it will last from June 1 through June 3. Activities during this time are free and open to the public.
During the event, there will be opportunities to tour the old school grounds, but the buildings themselves are off limits for safety reasons.
Some of those who will lead the dances will be in traditional costume, according to Kent.
The dances will take place at the 7 Clans First Council Casino and Hotel events center.
Children are able to attend, but they will have to enter the events center through a specific set of doors.
The main events are scheduled for June 1, beginning with a gourd dance early in the afternoon.
This dance will begin at 2 p.m., but there will be a break at 5:30 for supper.
There will be another gourd dance at 6:30 p.m., followed by more activities.
Event organizer Garland Kent Sr. said the day’s events could wrap up as late as 11 p.m.
“All you have to do is come and be here,” he said to anyone who is interested in the activities.
There will be arts and crafts vendors at the event as well as a raffle and many guest performers.
For more information, call the Kents at (580) 762-5112.
Chilocco Indian School was one of the original Native American boarding schools. It had numerous other firsts throughout its 96-year history, and with its comprehensive programs, it exemplified a school that was ahead of its time, according to the Chilocco Alumni website.
While the school was open, there were 124 tribes who had more than 8,500 students graduate from Chilocco, which included more than 5,500 high school graduates and 3,000 receiving special diplomas or vocational certificates.