Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Native November celebration opens with a performance of “To Us It Wasn’t Code.”
The play, a collaboration between Southeastern and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, debuted last summer at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as part of Choctaw Days.
The production covers the history of the Choctaw Code Talkers and the vital role they played in the war.
The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Fine Arts Little Theater on campus.
Rotary Club of Durant got a sneak preview of the performance’s theme when Rotarian Lana Sleeper, Choctaw Nation employee, presented a slide show about the earlier World War I code talkers at the club meeting on Tuesday.
Sleeper said the “first code talkers” performed these duties from 1914-1918 before the Navajos bravely repeated the effort in World War II. Choctaw servicemen were recruited from across the new state of Oklahoma by Captain Walter Veach, including men from Armstrong Academy in Bryan County.
They served in an all-Indian Army regiment, some of whom were later chosen as code talkers. The secret program played a major role in covert communications as the Germans were previously deciphering all sorts of Allied encoded communications.
Other “Native November” events at Southeastern are scheduled throughout the month and all are free and open to the public.
Nov. 3 – Recognition of Native American Scholarships (Harvey and Parsons Scholars) between the third and fourth quarters of the Southeastern-Harding football game.
Nov. 6 – Professional Development: Chickasaw Department of Homeland Affairs (2-4 p.m., Russell Building Room 300). The presentation will be an overview of Chickasaw history, in particular, some recent discoveries in the tribal Homelands of current day Mississippi. The Chickasaw Nation Department of Homeland Affairs is responsible for consulting with federal agencies when they take actions that might cause impacts to sacred sites and culturally significant historic sites in the homeland states of Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi under the National Historic Preservation Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Nov. 7 – SE Live and Native American Student Visitation (9 a.m.-3 p.m. , Montgomery Auditorium). This is an event in which Native American students are invited to learn more about campus.
Nov. 17 – Chickasaw Cultural Center field trip to Sulphur (8:15 a.m.-3p.m.) Visit Traditional Village; see demonstration of the “Stomp Dance;” view 17-minute film “Behind the Scenes” on 40-foot by 60-foot screen; lunch at noon; Chickasaw Poya Exhibit Hall tour; explore the CCC campus, visit Honor Garden, Gallery and Gift Shop.
Nov. 26 – Mini-Choctaw Days on campus as Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will present dancing, artists and other cultural demonstrations.