By Bridget Nash Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The Enid area possesses a club that not only brings together American Indian tribes, but also educates community members about the American Indian culture.
Established in the 1960s, Enid Intertribal Indian Club represents more than 20 tribes. The club has three objectives: to maintain continuity of American Indian cultural heritage, to provide opportunities for active participation in cultural events, and to act as a resource to the community for education of American Indian issues.
The club draws in community members, but it also does its part to reach out. Each year, Enid Intertribal Indian Club gives a scholarship to an American Indian youth to help with the cost of higher education. The mission behind the scholarship is one of encouragement. Not only does the club provide the scholarship to help students achieve their goals, it also hosts an annual picnic to recognize students and honor them for their scholastic achievements.
The annual scholarship is partially funded by the club’s popular Indian taco booth held each fall on the Garfield County Court House lawn.
The Enid Intertribal Indian Club gladly presents any cultural information to schools and organizations who request such information. Club members strive to be actively involved in their communities, serving on many boards and participating in many organizations with the goal of helping enrich the Enid community.
A series of community events will be held Nov. 4-6 and Nov. 10 in Enid as part of Enid Intertribal Indian Club’s Native American Awareness Week.
The events include food tasting, American Indian crafts, a book reading and a traditional gourd dance honoring military veterans.
“The events of the week help educate our community about American Indian heritage — especially their influence in Oklahoma’s history,” said Bob Phillips, a club member who also is a member of the Seminole and Creek tribes. “People tend to forget the importance of the Native American in the early days. Even before statehood.”
The public is invited to attend all of the following events:
American Indian Crafts
2-3:30 p.m. Nov. 4
Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse, 200 E. Maple
The series of events hosted by Enid Intertribal Indian Club will kick off with a session of learning about American Indian crafts. Finger weaving, basket weaving, dream catcher making, fringing, Indian dye making and Indian hand games will be among the crafts and activities available.
“This celebration is always fun for entire families,” said Jana Rader, club member and member of the Otoe/Missouria tribe. “Some of the events the kids really love, like the Indian craft demonstrations.”
Admission for this event is $7 for ages 3-65 and $6 for seniors.
4:30 p.m. Nov. 5
Public Library of Enid and Garfield County
Osage tribe member LeAnn Shiplet will deliver a reading of the book, “How Great Thou Art.” The book is written by Linda Bolen, who is a member of the Cherokee tribe and also is a former Enid resident. The library also will have a display of American Indian artifacts.
6:30 p.m. Nov. 6
Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid
Enid Intertribal Indian Club will host its traditional “tasting party” for the public. A large selection of American Indian foods will be served for any community member who wishes to come and have a taste. This event has proven to be a community favorite over the past several years.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to learn the history of how the tribe actually lived in the past,” said Janet Camp, club member and member of the Chehalis tribe. “The tasting party will demonstrate how the Native American’s diet consisted of whatever was available in their area. The natives always adapted to their circumstances.”
2 p.m. until late evening Nov. 10
Hoover Building, 305 E. Oxford
The conclusion of Enid Intertribal Indian Club’s celebratory events will be the Gourd Dance. Visitors will be able to see dancers from many parts of the state participate in this popular event. The dance begins at 2 p.m. and an evening meal will be served at 6:30 p.m.
After the evening meal, the Grand Entry will lead the event, followed by the evening session of the Gourd Dance. The dance will honor military veterans in honor of Veterans Day.
The Gourd Dance, a tradition which began with the Kiowa tribe, is done with great pride and dignity. It is a men’s dance, but women participate by dancing behind the men, outside the perimeter formed by the men.
Dancers carry shakers of all varieties, but the original, historical shakers were made of gourds. Objects now used to make shakers include turtle shells, aluminum cans and many other objects. Dancers each carry a shaker and a fan and are clad in sashes, moccasins and red and blue blankets.