Tonkawa Tribal students attend NOC Native American Youth Leadership Day

Over 100 Native American youth attended the Native American Youth Leadership Day on July 11 at the Northern Oklahoma College campus in Tonkawa.

The one-day event brought Native American middle school and high school students from the Tonkawa, Ponca, Pawnee, Osage, Otoe-Missouria, Kaw and Iowa tribes together for a day of fun and learning.

The keynote speaker was 2019-2020 Miss Indian OU Sadie Littlecreek, a freshman at the University of Oklahoma studying International Business and Pre-Law.

The second speaker in the morning session was Woody McClellan, Jr. McClellan, a student at Northern Oklahoma College, is the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Youth Council Chairman and UNITY 25 Under 25 Youth Leader.

In the afternoon session, students in Grades 7-8 participated in a Scholarship Portfolio
Workshop led by Regina Riley while students in Grades 9-12 did the College Hustle led by Cedric Sunray.

Native American Students then participated in a science experiment demonstrated by Jennifer Holding and Timothy Weigant.

Avis Ballard taught students how to make a “Selfie Collage.

Students then took a 30 minute tour of Northern Oklahoma College. Campus tours were provided by Blair Turney and Renee Lee.

Oliver Littlecook then demonstrated the “Hand Game” to students. Littlecook was Native American Club President at NOC in 1980-81 and brought the first Pow Wow to NOC.

The group was welcomed by NOC President Dr. Cheryl Evans. She welcomed the students to the Tonkawa campus explaining the opportunities for Native American students at NOC citing the school’s Cultural Engagement Center (CEC).

The day was emceed by Cedric Sunray, who has taught, counseled, coached, administrated and recruited at the pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle school, high school, and collegiate levels.

Gina Conneywerdy, NOC Native American advisor and recruiter, and fellow Leadership Committee members, coordinated the Leadership Day. Committee members in addition to Conneywerdy include Regina Riley, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma; November Allen, Tonkawa Tribe; Sarah Nelsen and Reagan Cole, Ponca Tribe; Avis Ballard and Coley Streater, Osage Nation; Kathy Alward and Karen Howe and Teyonna Weaselbear, Kaw Nation; Jamie Nelson, Alex Harjo, and Dorna Battese, Pawnee Nation; Gloree Tah and Dani DeRoin, Otoe-Missouria Tribe.

The event was funded in part by a Project AAIMS grant through the Osage County Interlocal Cooperative (OCIC). Northern partners with OCIC to present programs geared toward assisting the next generation of Native American leaders in gaining valuable skills for today’s competitive workforce. Jacque Canaday, OCIC executive director and director of Project AAIMS, acts as liaison with Northern.

 Northern Oklahoma College, the state’s first community college, is a multi-campus, land-grant institution that provides high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services which create life-changing experiences and develop students as effective learners and leaders within their communities in a connected, ever changing world.