5 Tribes Story Conference

October 7, 2010

This was a busy month for the Center for American Indians and Bacone College as they collaboratively hosted the 5 Tribes Story Conference with the Five Civilized Tribes Museum of Muskogee, OK who sponsored the Conference on Friday, September 24, 2010 through Saturday, September 25, 2010. “The purpose of the Five Civilized Tribes Museum shall be to preserve the history, culture and traditions of the Five Civilized Tribes; Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole, through the acquisition and preservation of works of art, artifacts, documents, books, correspondence and other materials pertaining to appreciation of tribal heritage through exhibits, tours, programs, writings and other media to all people.” Similarly, “Bacone College, an independent institution related to the American Baptist Churches, USA, maintains its commitment to serving American Indians within a culturally diverse community. The college, through its baccalaureate and associate degree programs, challenges students to develop intellectual and social skills, spiritual values and healthy lifestyles by providing quality education in a nurturing Christian environment.”

The opening day of the 5 Tribes Story Conference consisted of a welcome, blessing, and opening keynote by Mr. Tim Tingle of the Choctaw Nation and one of the organizers of the Conference. Sessions consisted of Fictional Depictions of Removal, Boarding Schools, and Land Thefts; Stories for Cultural Preservation and Awareness; and How the Oral Tradition Informs Contemporary Native Fiction. Later that evening, A Cultural Dinner (hog fry); a Music Performance by T & O Express; and a Storytelling Concert were provided and enjoyed by the participants.

The second day of the Conference consisted of Stories and Language Preservation; Hands-On, Cedar Smoked Writers Workshop; The Future of American Literature; Hands-On Cedar Smoked Writers Workshop; and a luncheon with Favorite Books and Authors. Later that evening, authors from the Five Tribes were present to sell and sign their books. A session was also held on Blood Brothers in the Indian Narrative: The Spoken and the Written. A Storytelling Concert concluded the Conference.

American Indian students representing the University of Oklahoma, Bacone College, Connors State College, East Central Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and the University of Arkansas participated in the Conference. High school American Indian students from Byng Public Schools, Tulsa Public Schools, and Tuttle Public Schools participated in the Conference as well. The Camp Gruber Training Center was also represented. Nine states were represented including Arkansas, California, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin. 216 participants registered before the Conference with the number of walk-ins unavailable. Therefore, it was a tremendous and successful collaborative effort! Thanks to Ms. Constance Falleaf and the Center for American Indians staff and students for their participation. Above all, it was an enjoyable effort!

The 5 Tribes Story Conference is an example of the commitment Bacone College and the Center for American Indians have for its mission of service to American Indians. The 5 Tribes Story Conference was sponsored by the Five Civilized Tribes Museum of Muskogee and hosted by Bacone College and the Center for American Indians. For further information about the 5 Tribes Story Conference or the Center for American Indians, feel free to visit me at the Center or contact me by email at coserp@bacone.edu. Mvto!

Pete G. Coser, PhD
Assistant Vice President
Center for American Indians