Native American Oral History Resources: Chilocco Indian Agricultural School Collection
About the Collection
The Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, located in north central Oklahoma, operated from 1884-1980 as one of a handful of federal off-reservation Indian boarding schools in the United States. Thousands of students passed through the school's iconic entryway arch during its nearly century-long existence. Even today, Chilocco continues to be a powerful site for memory for its remaining alumni from over 127 tribes, as well as the Native people, directly or indirectly impacted by its history and scholars and students throughout the world who seek to understand its role within the larger context of U.S. Indian boarding schools.
The oral history collection represents a two year collaborative project between the Chilocco National Alumni Association (CNAA) and the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program (OOHRP) at the Oklahoma State University Library. It started as a request from the CNAA Veterans Project Committee to document the first-person stories of their numerous veteran alumni through oral history interviews. However, with additional funding help from the Tom J. and Edna M. Carson Foundation, this project quickly grew into a more ambitious undertaking.
The CNAA identified and OOHRP conducted oral history interviews with more than 40 Chilocco veterans and other alumni and held two scanning events for alumni at the annual Chilocco Homecoming. This collection contains over 1,100 images of campus facilities, students and staff, activities, and events.
Through these resources, we seek to increase knowledge and understanding of the legacy of Chilocco Indian Agricultural School while also facilitating efforts to tell the stories of the many thousands of students who attended.
You can view the materials for the oral history collection here. If you are interested in the photo collection, follow the link here to view that collection.
Arapaho heritage, Boarding school employees, Board school students, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Charlie Company, Cherokee heritage, Cheyenne heritage, Chickasaw heritage, Chilocco Indian Agricultural School--Alumni and alumnae, Choctaw heritage, Creek heritage, Culture, Education, Family, Friendship, Indian actors, Indian Health Service, Korean War, Metalsmithing, Military experience, Occupations, Off-reservation boarding schools, Otoe heritage, Paratroopers, Ponca heritage, Psychological stress, Race prejudice, Religious beliefs, Sexual assault, Social service, Substance abuse, Tohono O'odham heritage, Tonkawa heritage, Tribal diversity, Tribal student programs, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. National Guard, U.S. Navy, Veterans, Veteran groups, Vietnam War, Vocational teachers, Yakama Indian Reservation
Interviews featured in a podcast
Opened in 1884, Chilocco Indian School was one of the largest federally-funded boarding schools for Native American youth in the country. Located twenty miles north of Ponca City, Oklahoma, the school offered a half academic / half vocational curriculum, focused on assimilating Native students into the dominant culture. Like most boarding schools, Chilocco went through different phases of development, reflecting changes in the federal policy towards Native Americans. These changes were often prompted by the efforts of Native educators, community workers and activists, and shifting attitudes within the larger society. Throughout these shifts, however, the school’s status as a National Guard center as well as boarding school made it unique. In this episode of Amplified Oklahoma, we're focusing on military veterans who attended the school. We’ll hear interview excerpts with Wes Studi and Charles LeClair from the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program's archives. Later, former superintendent Jim Baker shares more about his involvement with alumni, especially in preserving the history of the school.