MHS hosts Native American history panel

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The MacArthur High School Native History class welcomed a Native American panel to speak with students Thursday, ahead of Indigenous people’s day on Monday.

The panel consisted of representatives from several local tribes, to include the Apache, Comanche Nation and the Kiowa tribe.

Students were able to talk directly with tribal leaders about the importance of preserving their cultural history as well as many current issues the tribes currently face.

”Today, what we’re talking about in the Native American/Indian studies group is boarding schools, current issues within Indian Country, Land bays within the reservations, boundaries, that kind of stuff,” District 4 Legislator of Kiowa Tribe Jessie Svitak said. “What we’re really trying to do is expose the kids to talk about their history.”

While the focus of the panel was to educate, some tribal leaders, like Svitak said their ability to accurately tell their history in schools is being challenged.

“Because right now, in the state and across the Nation, there are movements that are whitewashing our history, and taking things away. So that people aren’t educated enough to understand what’s going on,” he said. “And what we have is children who are able to talk about these things today, and can carry it on as they’re adults, and they can pass it on to their children. So that way, understanding that Native Americans are not dead. We’re still thriving, we’re still alive and we’re still relevant.”

Another panel is expected at Lawton High School in the coming weeks.

A date has not yet been set.

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