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A LOOK AT THE CHILOCCO INDIAN SCHOOL

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CHILOCCO-INDIAN-SCHOOL

By Crystal Douglas
Kanza Museum Director

Over the years we receive numerous requests from individuals requesting information and to visit the Chilocco Indian School. Here is a little history about Chilocco Indian School:
 
On Jan. 22, 2004, the Preservation Oklahoma Board announced that Chilocco had been placed on Oklahoma’s most Endangered Historic Properties list for 2004. This announcement gave top priority for grants and other endowments to help the campus.

In 1965, Chilocco was big on preparing for the future. Lincoln Morris was the drive behind the printing press; this was one of the classes you could take. You could prepare for the future in shop class. If shop was your area of interest, you could work with body and fenders or go straight into auto mechanics. The school provided for lots of areas of study such as drafting, carpentry, sheet metal, welding, painting, dry cleaning, leather craft, shoe repair and electricity. However, Chilocco began in agriculture and provided all the skills for service in the world of today. If you were a female, you could take the homemakers of tomorrow class, pre-nursing, cosmetology, food service and culinary arts.

We have to remember for all the good days at Chilocco, it was a boarding school and the students who attended came from all over the United States. They had the Navajo from Arizona, to the Muckleshoot from the Washington, D.C. area, and every tribe living in Oklahoma. You could make long-time friends or wish every day that you were home with your families.

For whatever reason you were there, it was an experience most students will never forget. Good or bad, it was what it was, and most students kept it to themselves.

 “Chilocco, We’re Orphans Again”

We all came to our campus with trembling anticipation
What others suffered, it’s not known their deprivation.
For myself a youth of so much grief,
With parents divorcing, misery, tears, and no relief.

Walked into Chilocco and the arms of instant friends,
Who asked no questions or wanted nothing more than grins.
Popcorn was scattered like snow all over the room,
It’s a party, “come on, for laughter, not gloom!”

All of us have our own memories so gold,
Though some, it’s true, have grown old.
We can’t help wonder why the destruction,
Why couldn’t our school continue, no interruption.
I watch the mighty buildings shudder and fall,
They couldn’t stand against the wrecker’s ball.

They worked like a maddened angry beast,
Tearing, hungrily slurping, as at grim feast.
All was trashed given to the dump there,
Looms, sewing machines, everything gone where,
Sledge hammers beat these to rubble,
Assuring no use or claiming for useful bubble.
 
The last alumni meeting was held on the grounds,
Where we lastly, and loyally stood within bounds.
We once called this girl our friend,
“Well! Blast!” she said, “Orphans again.”

Author of poem unknown

  

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