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Home » Features, Journal

National Johnson- O’Malley Association Conference- Youth Section

Submitted by on April 18, 2018 – 1:38 pm

The College of the Muscogee Nation is the institution of higher education for the Muscogee Creek Nation, emphasizing native culture, values, language, and self-determination.

Stickball: The historical game played a huge role in the peace kept between tribes who played it. The game was not only used as a way to settle disputes and grievances among the many tribes but was also played to toughen young warriors for combat, for recreation, as part of festivals, and for the bets involved.

The National Johnson-O’Malley Association purpose is to maintain appropriate lines of communication and collaborative efforts with other public, private, tribal and federal educators and educational programs. Kylei Big Bow was selected by Mr. Wilson this year to attend the NJOMA alongside Jessie McDonald, the chairmen of Polson Indian Education Board. This year’s conference was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the Muskogee Creek Nation River Spirit Casino Resort. Over 100 students from Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Californa traveled to be part of the youth section.

During the conference, the youth learned about the Muscogee Creek and Cherokee Nations. The first day concluded with touring the Muscogee Creek Nation Tribal College, Vaso Museum, playing traditional native games, and the evening ended with a gala dinner together. We then traveled to the Cherokee Heritage Center, touring the Trail of Tear’s Museum and learned how to make corn husk dolls that the children used to play with. Every day we spent time getting to know new people, making connections through our cultures, even meeting a famous American Indian comedian, Tatanka Means.

A corn husk doll is a Native American toy, a doll made out of the dried leaves or “husk” of corn. Corn husk dolls do not have faces, and there are a number of traditional explanations for this. One legend is that the Spirit of Corn, one of the Three Sisters, made a doll out of her husks to entertain children. The doll had a beautiful face and began to spend less time with children and more time contemplating her own loveliness. As a result of her vanity, the doll’s face was taken away.


The Vaso Museum holds artifacts from Muscogee war heroes. Displaying hundreds of items from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Air Force. Housed within the center of the museum are memorial plaques honoring Muscogee warriors killed action from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Trail of Tears: During 1836-37, U.S. soldiers herded up about 14,000 “hostile,” mainly Upper Creek Indians in Alabama and Georgia, who refused to move to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). All were marched under hard conditions, following either water or land routes, resulting in the deaths of thousands of American Indians.