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Press Release

Oklahoma Humanities Receives Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

November 9, 2023

(Oklahoma City—November 9, 2023)—Oklahoma Humanities (OH) is proud to announce it has received a $30,000 Chair’s Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support and promote programs that increase public knowledge of the history of federal Native American boarding schools in Oklahoma. It is part of the NEH’s ongoing interagency partnership with the Department of the Interior (DOI) to fund projects related to the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative that seeks to examine the impact of school policies on tribal communities. Between 1819 and 1969, more than 400 federal boarding schools operated across the country, including 76 in Oklahoma. 

OH will utilize this grant to support Oklahoma’s National History Day (NHD), a research and presentation program that encourages middle and high school students to think critically about historical topics. Each year, more than 750,000 students participate nationally, presenting history projects, exhibitions, performances, and essays based on their research.  

The grant will be used at NHD to: increase tribal representation through outreach to tribal schools and partners; increase the diversity of judges including recruiting judges from tribal communities; develop and host teacher workshops; create educational materials; sponsor a special research category encouraging primary research on boarding schools.

Additionally, the grant will also help fund free issues of Oklahoma Humanities magazine that will feature content on the history of Chilocco Boarding School and the diversity of student experience.

“We are grateful to NEH Chair Shelly Lowe (Navajo) for her thoughtful leadership in guiding the NEH and State Councils toward greater tribal collaboration and representation,” said Caroline Lowery, OH Executive Director. “We look forward to using this grant to help raise awareness about the history of boarding schools in our state and their enduring effects.”

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