Opening Ceremonies for C-A Tribal College Held at SWOSU
A day of celebration was held Friday, August 25, to celebrate the opening ceremonies of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was a $211,828 check presentation made from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes to SWOSU for the operation of the tribal college. SWOSU President John Hays accepted the check from Lawrence Hart of Clinton who served as master of ceremonies for the ceremony and is the president of the tribal college board of directors.
Ryan Wilson, president of the National Indian Education Association from Seattle, Wash., was the keynote speaker at the ceremony attended by 125 people. Wilson, considered a national spokesperson for Indian education, praised the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and SWOSU for their bold move in opening the tribal college. He gave a brief history of tribal colleges and the hardships that various people encountered to start the tribal college movement in the United States.
He encouraged the Cheyenne and Arapaho members to continue their fight for important issues to them and all Oklahoma Indians.
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Governor Darryl Flyingman said the establishment of the tribal college is a historic moment for the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. He thanked C & A Tribal College interim President Henrietta Mann, C & A Education Director Quinton Roman Nose and Dr. Hays for spearheading the effort.
Various individuals participated in the ceremony which included lunch on the SWOSU campus. Members of the Darlington Cultural Club, dressed in native attire, provided entertainment. Moses Starr, Jr., sang the Arapaho and Cheyenne flag songs and Alfrich Heap-of-Birds performed the traditional blessing ceremony. Pauline Harjo performed the traditional closing blessing.
Mann and Kim Winkelman, interim chair of the Oklahoma Tribal Consortium and representative of the Comanche Tribal College, also gave brief presentations.
The tribal college is in the process of hiring an assistant dean. The college is in the beginning stages and hopes to build from the current American Indian Studies and other programs currently being offered by SWOSU. Classes are being offered this fall.
The CATC is a two-year college that is in the process of applying for membership to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.