Native American Program

This showcase honors the indigenous culture of the Americas.

The Native American Project provides a showcase for the sharing of the Native American culture and history to the Lawton-Fort Sill Community.  The sharing of cultural traditions fosters an understanding and appreciation for the culture/heritage of indigenous American peoples.  This program honors the accomplishments and cultures of American Indians and Alaska Natives and recognizes their ongoing contributions.  There are over thirty different tribal nations in Oklahoma and five-hundred and sixty-seven in the United States.    

Past events have included arts education programming such as film making (included business aspects), Comanche bead workshops, Cherokee basket weaving workshops as well as an Inter-Tribal Actors Workshop with Reader's Theatre presentation. In addition, there have been Historic Site Field Sketching & Creative Expression Studio events, Contemporary & Traditional Musical Concerts, Pow Wow Etiquette , and more!   

"The strength of our community comes from its people.  As the early inhabitants of this great land, the American Indians and Alaska Natives played a unique role in the shaping of our Nation's history and culture. These American Indians and Alaska Natives have made remarkable contributions to our national, state, and local identity. Their unique spiritual, artistic, and literary contributions, together with their vibrant customs and celebrations, enliven and enrich the Lawton-Fort Sill Community. 

I do hereby urge all residents of the Lawton-Fort Sill community to learn more about the rich heritage of the American Indians and Alaska Natives and the role they have played in building and sustaining our Nation and to commemorate this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.”,   Mayor John P. Purcell, Jr., 2004 Native American Indian Heritage Month Proclamation 


Past Programming

“Ghost Dance”

By Annette Arkeketa

A Reader's Theatre Presented by the Lawton Arts & Humanities Council and the City of Lawton

Ghost Dance Poster 

This program was more than just the play. The cast had the opportunity to have acting classes within the rehearsal schedule. For many actors, this was the first time for them to be involved a theatre production in any capacity.




GHOST DANCE is a story of attorney Hokte Buffalo, and how she finds her way home to her family and tribe to get help for her emotional needs and healing.  Upon her return she reluctantly is drawn into her tribal community’s spiritual and legal issues regarding the repatriation of their ancestral human remains and cultural patrimony items. Once she sees the injustice of what is happening to her family and tribe, she begins to heal emotionally and regain her strength by helping her ancestors.  It is a story with ancient roots and a contemporary beat that weaves a tragic drama into an ending with hope for our future.



Annette Arkeketa, Playwright
Juanita Pahdopony, Advisor
Sharon Cheatwood, Producer
Jan Woomavoyah, Director
Sounds Impossible, Scott & Peg Hofmann, Light & Sound Design
Holly Hare, Stage Manager
Harry Mithlo, Grandpa
Georgia Morrow, Narrator
Guy Narcomy*, Larry
Carlotta Nowell, Alcohol Spirit
Brianna Del Ceillo, Narrator
Lucinda Poahway, Grandma
Hickory Star Jr., Senator James
Lebert Taunah**, Locust & Nee
Jur-Nee Faith Toahty, Girl & Plume
Brandon M. Tortalita, Boy
Kenneth Wahkinney, Johnathan
**Tracy Woody, Sherlock
Eva Yeahquo Williams, Senator Turner

* Guy has gone on to work in film as both actor and filmmaker

** Lebert and Tracy continued in community theatre appearing in "Out to Pasture"

Music graciously provided by Grammy Award winner Bill Miller and Brent Micheal David (Mohican)

Project materials such as Stage Manager book, lighting plot, photographs, and other documentation are now in the archive collection at the Musuem of the Great Plains


GHOST DANCE - Rehearsal and Classes hosted by Comanche Nation College

 From Jan, the Director - "We know that you are busy and this show will require a considerable amount of your time.  We will do our best to schedule around your individual conflicts, but can only do that if we know in advance what those are.   Rehearsals are generally scheduled Monday through Friday, 7 PM – 10 PM and will begin as soon as the show is cast.  Also, the workshops may be on Saturdays."

March 6: First meeting with cast, set rehearsal schedules, & first read thru at CNC

March 8 & 9: Character Development Workshop and rehearsals with Jan Woomavoyah, CNC

March 10: 10 am-3 pm, Workshop Voice & Diction / Memorization with Dr. David Fennema, CNC

March 12 - 16: Rehearsals at CNC

March 17-24: Spring Break- No rehearsals

March 26-30: Rehearsals, CNC

April 2-5: Rehearsals, CNC

April 7: No Rehearsals due to Easter weekend.

April 9-13: Rehearsals at CNC

April 14: Workshop Stage Movement with Jan

April 16 & 17: Rehearsals at CNC

April 18: Rehearsal/Dress/Tech at MGP

April 19 & 20: Show MGP followed by discussion on Repatriation with Jimmy Arterberry and Annette Akeketa




From Lawton review, "Lights go up in the intimate setting of the auditorium of Lawton’s Museum of the Great Plains, located at 601 NW Ferris, Thursday April 19 and Friday April 20 at 7:30 p.m. both nights.

This production has a number of entities involved in getting it on stage, from the Lawton Arts & Humanities Council and Comanche Nation Funeral Home to the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra and National Endowment for the Arts, among others.

A largely American Indian effort, music comes courtesy of Grammy Award winner Bill Miller (Mohican). Direction is by Jan Woomavoyah (Comanche). The 15 member cast includes Carolyn Balliet (Kiowa, Comanche, Fort Sill Apache), Brianna Di Cello (Choctaw), Harry Mithlo (Chiricahua Apache, Comanche) and Lucinda Poahway (Kiowa).

Light and sound doesn’t get any better than with Scott and Peg Hofmann of Sounds Impossible. Keeping it all together, as producer is Sharon Cheatwood, Arts Coordinator for the Arts & Humanities Division, City of Lawton.

Advance tickets are only $2 and can be picked up at the Arts & Humanities Division’s
office, McMahon Memorial Auditorium, 801 NW Ferris (entry is on the west side), during city business hours. Call (580) 581-3470.

Students with ID and children get in free. My own thoughts are that this could be an interesting personalized history lesson for junior high age on up. But, the topic, and for that matter the reader’s theater staging, may leave younger ones a bit antsy in their seats.  

A theatrical production about an American Indian concern, and a theatrical production of mostly tribal members is not that common in our area, even given the local numbers. The City of Lawton’s Arts & Humanities Division is to be commended. For theater patrons and those interested in both historical and contemporary American Indian issues, “Ghost Dance” is a must-see."


2003 Community Arts Project, “A Historical Presentation”


Objective: To allow students an opportunity to interview Elders and write about their experience. This can be done from an angle of historical presentation, artistic presentation, chronological presentation, etc. Theme to be determine with Artist. This will also include photography. Participants included representation from each of the area tribes maximum of 14 participants. Two each from the Tribes; Apache, Caddo, Comanche, Kiowa, Delaware, Wichita and Fort Sill Apache were approached.

Lead Artist was Charlie Clark. Other artists included were Jolene Schonchin & from the Lawton Constitution, photographer Jeff Dixon. The project was a 6-week project. Project includingthe final copy of the book must be done prior to May 1st.


Session 1. Monday, March 31, 4 – 5 PM 1 HrIntroductions & Registration - Students & Arts Coordinator, & Artist met in the McMahon Auditorium East Gallery. At this time the requirements for completion and expectations were reviewed. Agreement letters will be signed. The students select the person they would like to interview.

Session 2. Tuesday, April 1, 4 – 5:30 PM 1.5 HrsInterviewing, Listening, & Note Taking - Students & Artist met in the McMahon Auditorium East Gallery. During this time the Artist reviewed skills needed to conduct the interview. Also, at this time the artist explained Native American History and Culture.

Session 3. Thursday, April 3, Review of Native American History & Culture, 5 – 6:30 1.5 Hrs - Students, Arts Coordinator & 2 Artists met in the McMahon Auditorium East Gallery. During this session artists explained Native American History & Culture and point out protocol to the students. The students were announced the name of the person they will be interviewing along with a short write up of why this person was chosen.

Sessions 4 Saturday, April 5, 9 AM – Noon 3 Hrs Photography Session - Students, Arts Coordinator, Photographer, & 2 Artists met at the Lawton Constitution’s building downtown. The first part of the session was a review of the notes taken from their interviews. The second part was a photography class. There were taught the different types of cameras that can be used, the process for taking good pictures and a demonstration. 

Sessions 5 Saturday, April 12, 9-Noon Oral Presentation and Individual Instructions 3 Hrs Students & 2 Artists met in the McMahon Auditorium East Gallery.  During this session, students read their information to the group and receive group critique as well as individual instructions from the artist on how to formulate the information. Before the next session, the student will need to review the presentation with the elder for content & accuracy. Elders signed the project notes saying they reviewed the information and is in complete agreement with its contents. Cameras were turned in so film could be developed and photographs included in the final presentation.

Session 6 A & B Monday, April 14 & Tuesday, April 15, 4-5:30 Written Presentation for Review 1.5 Hrs - Students & 2 Artist met in McMahon Auditorium East Gallery. During this session, the artists reviews each student’s presentation. Photographs were  reviewed to select those that will be used in the final copy of the student’s presentation. 

Session 7 Tuesday, April 22 Final Draft Submitted 4 – 5 PM 1 Hr - Students, Arts Coordinator & Artist met in the McMahon Memorial Auditorium East Gallery. Students were to bring the following:

  • A hard copy of their project
  • A copy on the disk
  • The remaining photos labeled on the back with their name, the name of the subject and a brief description
  • A short bio of themselves explaining why they participated in the project & what did they gain
  • Tape recorder

Criteria for Students Selected to Participate in Program

  1. Students must be dependable and willing to commit to the entire project.
  2. Students should have a definite interest in the project and in Journalism.
  3. Students should have a desire to gain knowledge from an Elder.
  4. Students will need to do outside work in between meetings in order to complete the project.
  5. Student must be able to work alone unsupervised.
  6. Students will need to sign an agreement with the Arts & Humanities Division stating that they will complete the project.
  7. Students must be able to work within the set schedule of the project.
  8. Students will need to obtain in writing, permission from the Elder to interview them and at the end of the project, a release of information indicating that the information is accurate as printed.

Understanding of Financial Obligations

  1. The City of Lawton, the Arts & Humanities Council and the Oklahoma Arts Council are the financial sponsors for this project.
  2. The student and the Elder will not be required to pay anything for participating. Supplies will be provided at the first meeting.
  3. The students and Elders that are participating will not be paid for their participation.
  4. The Arts Coordinator and the Artist will be contacting the Comanche College and Cameron University to try to arrange for the students to receive some type of grade for their participating. The decision to give a grade will be solely that of the staff at the Comanche College and Cameron University. Students will have to meet the requirements of the colleges in order to receive a grade.
  5. In the event there are participants from other high schools, the coordinator will contact the English departments to inquire whether or not extra credit can be given on the final copy.

Artists' Selection Process

  1. Artists will need to submit a resume showing qualifications for this type of workshop.
  2. Artist will also need to submit a black & white photograph.
  3. Artist will need to submit a one-page write up on their experience during this workshop to be included in the book. Artists will not be paid for this information.

The Finished Product - The final book will be the property of the City of Lawton Arts & Humanities Division. Copies will be distributed to the students, Elders and Artists. Two copies will be donated to the Lawton Public Library and to the Library at the Comanche College, Cameron University and each of the High Schools involved with the project. Copies may be available for purchase to the public.

Reception - Staff will make necessary arrangements for the reception. The date, time and place will be announced later.



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