Chouteau-Mazie School hosts Native American Day
Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. speaks at Native American Day, held at Chouteau–Mazie Schools on Sept. 20 in Chouteau. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
CHOUTEAU – Cherokee Nation representatives took part in the first Chouteau-Mazie Public School Native American Day on Sept. 20.
CN leaders and department representatives traveled to the Mayes County school to meet with students and the public.
Visiting CN citizens were able to pick up photo identification cards from the CN Registration Department, apply for their free hunting/fishing licenses from CN Environmental Services or even register to vote in upcoming elections at the event.
Native American culture could be seen throughout the after school event. Colored sheets of Southeastern-design turtles colored by students lined the halls of the school building, and items such as miniature teepees and foot-high totem poles from other tribal cultures were assembled by students and on display in various classrooms.
Chouteau-Mazie School District Superintendent Lori Helton said they were thrilled to host the event, which was made possible through a portion of a grant the school received.
“Chouteau-Mazie received a grant from the American Indian Resource Center last year,” said Helton. “When I spoke to an AIRC representative recently she told me that we had not used our cultural money from the grant yet.”
Helton, a non-Indian who is married to a Cherokee Nation citizen, said she only had until Sept. 30 to use the money but wanted to make sure the school used the funds so that the children would actually be able to see “some of the cultural things within their heritage.”
“To bring factions of the Cherokee Nation to a school that believes in the importance of getting Native culture out into the communities, that’s just a winner, and we need to be out here supporting it,” said CN Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. of the event.
Superintendent Helton agreed with Hoskin’s assessment of the event.
“Not only is this important for the Native American students, but it’s important for every student at Chouteau-Mazie to be able to celebrate the diversity and culture of our school district,” she said.
Helton estimated 30 percent of her students are Native American.