WILSON, Oklahoma – The Wilson Indian Community Center hosted a Cultural Day for Wilson Public School students March 29 at the community center. The Cultural Day brought Muscogee culture and history to roughly 300 students.
Community members in the past saw a need for a cultural day but there was never a follow through to put one on. This year, new Wilson Indian Community member Kim Morrison took the initiative to coordinate the event.
“I started reaching out to Claudia McHenry, former Mvskoke Royalty, my coworkers, I talked to my boss about it,” said Kim Morrison. “I met with the committee here, and they said that would be a good idea.”
Morrison continued, “It is hard to get it out if there is no support system or if the school lacks services, so I feel like it’s important for the community centers to be able to provide a cultural day to all of the schools.”
The elementary students participated in the morning, middle school and high school students attended in the afternoon. Students were split into groups by grades. They learned how to make corn husk dolls, watched a fry bread demonstration (and tried it), listened to storytelling, learned about beading and learned about Mvskoke Royalty.
“I am helping explain the importance and differences of fry bread, and also talking about my reign, who I am and a little bit about Mvskoke Royalty,” said Jr. Miss Muscogee Nation Chenoa Barnett. “It’s really cool to people from maybe different tribes or who are non-Native that come to learn, see how our Nation runs and what we offer to Mvskoke students.”
The event was available for all students, Muscogee citizens, other tribal citizens, and non-Natives.
“I think whether they’re Native or not they need to know the culture of this area,” said Andrea James, Wilson Public School Superintendent. “They need to understand that they’re living in the middle of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and at least know the history behind some of it.”
“We appreciate their time, we appreciate everything they’ve done for us,” James continued. “We’ve enjoyed it, it’s been good.”
According to McHenry the only way to continue traditions and keep the Mvskoke language alive is by passing it on and teaching it to the next generation.
“It’s important to inform youth about who we are as a people and to let them know that if they don’t learn these things, then it’ll go away,” said Claudia McHenry, 2021-2022 Miss Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Morrison hopes to work with Henryetta and Schulter Public Schools to put on future cultural days. These schools also fall within the Wilson Indian Community’s boundaries.
If any other communities and/or schools are interested in hosting a cultural day for their students, they can reach out to Morrison at 918-758-1930.