Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ponca Tribal Youth Program

Ponca Tribal Youth Program receives regional recognition and national praise.

Ponca City, Oklahoma, July 19, 2007
Last June the Department of Justice sent a Technical Advisor to White Eagle to review and assess the tribes’ efforts with a $300,000.00 grant. In their subsequent report to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in Washington DC they sited with praise, some rather cutting edge approaches to the program. So much so, Tribal Youth Program’s Director, Dwight Howe was selected to do a presentation on the development of the youth program at the next Dept. of Justice mandatory training conference in Phoenix Arizona. Training will take place the end of this month and tribes from CA, NV, AZ, UT, CO, NM and OK will all be in attendance. Rebecca Murdock, Tribal Justice Programs Manager went on to say in her report “The tribal youth program plans to develop a culturally sensitive delinquency prevention program that will address two components of the community: Supervised activities for all tribal youth and Intervention activities for court involved or family referred youth to include mental health assessments, mentoring, community services, recreational activities and cultural immersion projects. Dwight has done an excellent job of explaining the program and its goals to FVTC and OJJDP and has brought together the necessary members of the advisory board to assure a successful program”.

Howe has also been approached by to consider blogging weekly about the youth project that starts in October. This high profile, on-line magazine has national exposure and will undoubtedly put the Ponca Tribe’s efforts on the forefront in the field of education. It all seems to be falling into place and for that we are excited and thankful. Here are two concepts TYP plans’ on implementing;

IPod Podcasting Project, where the kids can make their own video/podcast. We want to promote 21st century technology using multimedia tools to engage the Ponca Indian youth in positive, constructive behaviors which develop academic, social and workplace skills while enhancing their own cultural awareness. This project is being headed up by Susan Powell, a TYP Advisory Board Member who works for the Ponca City School District, she says the school district will help as much as possible in any effort that keeps Ponca Indian kids in school. At the end of each cycle, every student that completes all the requirements of the program will receive a free IPod of their own. Apple Computers representative Orlando Aguilar, met with the program leaders and was excited to learn about the efforts being made and is earnestly looking at ways and means for Apple to actively be involved with the programs endeavors as well.

FIRST Lego League (FLL) is an approach the Ponca Tribe is planning to utilize in an effort at turning kids on to technology, science and math. Websites like and http://www.legoeducation/ are just two resources used in developing this project. A Lego’s team consists of three to ten kids’ ages 9-14 and at least one adult coach. The Ponca Tribe is currently networking closely with Po-Hi Robotics Coach, Tonya Scott, in the development of this project. FLL is designed to put children in control, teams mix curiosity and imagination with LEGO bricks, sensors, motors and gears to invent unique, autonomous robots capable of completing various missions. Howe says, “If we can just get them interested and build their self-confidence to try new things, maybe set new standards in their own lives, then we feel it is well worth the effort. Our goal is to have them graduate from high school, stay out of trouble and hopefully continue their educations. The Ponca Tribes overall view is; if our young people can succeed and be happy in their lives, then we as a nation succeed as well”. Dwight can be reached at

ADVISORY BOARD members gather outside the freshly rehabilitated activity building for the Ponca Tribal Youth Program after a recent planning session. Called "We Thi Pi" (meaning "To Change") in the Ponca language, the program for at-risk youth is in the first (planning) year of a four-year, $300,000 grant funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice. From left, are board members: Ed Henderson, Boy Scouts; Susan Powell, Ponca City School District; Ruslyn Hermanson, AmeriCorps United Way; Vearl Caid, Northern Oklahoma Youth Services; technical advisor Rebecca Murdock, Fox Valley Technical College of Neenah, Wis.; Marilyn Epley, Ponca Tribe; Dwight Howe, Program Director; James LeClair, Police Chief, White Eagle Police Dept.; and, Clayton Johnson, Police Chief, Ponca City Police Dept. (News Photo by Rolf Clements)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ponca Elder Food Project 2003 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Indian Elders Food Project

2005 Food Program
Now the goals of this Indian Elders Food Project are disparate to say the least. We want to honor the elders but in doing so we want the different organizations and individual volunteers to work together, getting to know each other as well. We feel that in any community living together, should know a little bit about its neighbors. It is our sincere hope that tolerance and acceptance be the fruit of our labor in this endeavor. The more one person knows about another, there is less likely the opportunity of pre-conceived ideals to be prevalent. Racism and prejudice are rooted in misunderstanding and ignorance. We firmly believe those things can be dispelled through education and exposure. We also believe that if we look hard enough and long enough we will inevitability see that we are more alike than we are different.
So we want to provide food for Indian elders, food that is that is fresh and meets their special dietary needs as many are diabetic and/or have high blood pressure issues. We know too that many live in the extended family setting and some may be even the sole provider for those families. Receiving $100.00 worth of groceries at this time of the year just before the holidays is greatly appreciated by all. Getting people to come together who are from different walks in life with different perspectives is a blessing into itself. If you want to know more about our project or who we are, please feel free to go to our website at I do hope to hear from you.
In 2003 we delivered to fifty elders, we had maybe fifteen volunteers each came back with a story of their encounters. Each volunteer felt rewarded in some way and wanted to do it again. We encouraged each individual volunteer to not just drop off the basket but ask to come inside and take a few minutes to visit and we encouraged each of them to offer a prayer. Not one volunteer came back saying the Indian elder turned down prayer and/or the fellowship. Many were quite moved at the brief meeting with such personable, kind people as the Indian elder.