By: Susan Erler | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: May 2013
The Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club. Image courtesy of Oak Tree Photography.
Many traditions come and go these days. In fact, traditions seem to last only a short time before they fall to the wayside due to lack of interest or lack of support. One local organization is the exception to this rule. Founded in 1899, the Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club is continuing with one of their most cherished traditions.
The group was originally founded as a club focused on creating social activities for local females desiring to get together while they were on summer break from seminary. Actually, men and women were invited to these gatherings, and Will Rogers was even a member of the club. The group has historical writings documenting the many picnics and other social activities enjoyed by them. Even though decades have passed, the initial premise remains basically the same: bring people together in an atmosphere of food, fun and family and raise awareness of the traditions enjoyed by the Cherokee people. The group has over 150 members from all across the United States, with 40 of them over the age of 80.
This year, the Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club will be hosting an their annual Old Fashioned Picnic at Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch located on the shores of Lake Oologah, one mile north of Oologah and two miles east of Highway 169 (9501 E. 380 Rd.).
The picnic is set for Saturday, May 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This will be the seventh year that they have held the picnic at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch. Ollie Starr is past president of the group and is excited to invite everyone to join them for a day filled with “traditional hog fry” food cooked over an open fire in black kettles, live music, and traditional Cherokee games and storytelling. The entire event will be topped off with several desserts sure to please your palate. Members of the club will be wearing traditional Cherokee dresses. A hog fry typically consists of cubes of hog meat cooked in its own juices, beans, fried potato wedges, fry bread, and shortcake or cobblers. “No one will leave here hungry,” laughs Ollie. “We can guarantee that!”
Cost for the picnic is simply a donation to the cause. Registration for blue card memberships will be done that day too, and Chief Bill John Baker will be in attendance as well. A live and a silent auction will be a part of the day’s fun. Monies raised by the group will go towards their scholarship program.
Graduating seniors from all surrounding schools are encouraged to apply for one of the ten $600 scholarships they offer on a yearly basis. Debra West, president of the Pocahontas Club, is extremely proud of the work that they do encouraging young women to follow their dream of education. “We offer these scholarships each year to local students, and we are one of the few that gives the money directly to the student, not to the college,” she explains. “This allows them to use the money for transportation costs or books or whatever their need is.” Applications will be available at the picnic or you can contact Ruth Ann Weaver at (918) 535-2683 and she will be happy to send one to you. The scholarship applications will be considered on a first come, first served basis for full-time students.
This amazing group has events scheduled throughout the entire year. For more information please call Debra West at (918) 760-0813 or Ollie Starr at (918) 760-7499.