Osage Nation JOM Students Attend Leadership Day

JOM Group

OSAGE NATION RESERVATION, OKLA. (July 25, 2023) – After a three-year pandemic hiatus, students gathered for the Native American Youth Leadership Day at Northern Oklahoma College (NOC) in Tonkawa on July 19, 2023. The event was designed to prepare students for college and future career paths, emphasizing culture, leadership, and academic achievement. Participants toured the college campus, attended workshops, and met youth from other tribal nations.

Osage Nation Education Department (ONED) staff brought 19 JOM students, grades 7-12, to the intertribal summer event. They met youth from the Iowa, Kaw, Pawnee, Ponca, and Tonkawa tribal nations who also came to participate. The students walked around campus and learned about some of the programs offered at NOC while becoming more familiar with the school site. They also listened to discussions about scholarships, college classes, and financial literacy. ONED staff taught the financial literacy workshop emphasizing the importance of budgeting, saving, and financial goals.

Four leaders emerged from the Osage Nation and JOM program during the event. Aubree Lookout represented the Hominy JOM program, Madison Bighorse represented the Pawhuska JOM program, and Jeanetta Martinez represented the Skiatook JOM Program. These three princesses introduced themselves and greeted the crowd. Henry Pratt, an Osage student from Pawhuska, received the student leadership award from the ONED for outstanding participation in culture, academic, and leadership positions.

JOM Princesses
From left to right: Iowa Tribal Princess, Skiatook JOM Princess Jeanetta Martinez, Ponca Tribal JOM Princess, Pawhuska JOM Princess Madison Bighorse, and Hominy JOM Princess Aubree Lookout pose for a photo in front of a mural created by Osage artist Yatika Fields, during the Native American Youth Leadership Day at Northern Oklahoma College, in Tonkawa, on July 19, 2023.

For ten years, tribal representatives have collaborated with staff from NOC to host a Native American Leadership Day for area youth. Epidemic restrictions halted plans during the summers of 2020 – 2022. The revived event attracted almost one hundred students from six different tribal nations. The conference theme, “Culture, Leadership, Academics of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” focused on college and career goals. Other highlights of the day included a stickball demonstration by Jake Roberts and a comedic performance by Kasey Nicholson.