Kiowa elder moves home to continue his Native American teachings

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 7:39 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Cody knew of his Kiowa heritage at a young age, as he grew up next to Cache creek, near the town of Carnegie.

”Back in the day, my father and mother, we didn’t have running water and electricity at my grandmother’s house,” Cody said. “My father would wake me up in the morning when I was 3 or 4. and take me hunting for breakfast. Rabbit, squirrel, we would make gravy, biscuits. “

Cody said it was a culture shock, when he and his family moved to Lawton.

”Because I was raised in a traditional Kiowa household, where everybody spoke Kiowa, and now I’m suddenly thrusted into living in a society that I’m not able to live in comfortably with,” Cody said.

At the age of 22, Cody said he went to his elders, and began learning about the depths of their culture.

One being the late artist Doc Tate Nevaquaya, who taught him many things, only asking in return that Cody teach the younger generation.

”He spent an entire afternoon, teaching me how to take leggings for my first dance,” Cody said. “And I brought my skins to him, my elk skins, and we started working together. We spent the entire day, and at the end of the day, I tried to give him money and he said no. He said some day Spencer, younger Indian people will come to you and ask you for your help.”

After living out of the state for a several years, Cody recently returned home, spending his time creating art and speaking at schools and churches.

”My hope is that I can reintroduce or help young people, young Indian people, or young white people or any people, the desire to learn a better way of life,” Cody said. “To be able to help them in that.”

Also showing them his artistry in creating traditional Native American regalia, and hoping it encourages them to step into the arena.

”In what I hope to do, is that to inspire people,” Cody said. “In my work, everything that I do, a creation. I don’t make it for profit. It comes out of my spirit. I wake up in the morning, and I go an I build that and do that. And use all the years of my study.”

Cody said each piece, from the moccasins to the breast plate, has a meaning in the color choice and images throughout.

In the future, Cody hopes to start a business in Medicine Park, where local Native Americans can showcase their work.

”What we want to do is we want to provide a place, where we can give access to Indian’s artisans in southwest Oklahoma,” Cody said. “Bead workers, shirt makers, moccasin makers, of any different tribe, who would like to put their expertise in a cabinet or a display of their own, or to be able to bring in and sell their work.”

If you want to reach out to the Kiowa elder about his teachings or apprenticeships, you can message him on his Facebook page, @spencercody.

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