Press Release by Roseanne McKee on behalf of Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club
On May 14, 2016, the Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club, the second oldest Indian women’s club in Oklahoma, held its installation of officers’ luncheon at Montana Mike’s. Carmen Ketcher, who has just completed a two-year term as club president, announced the newly elected Indian Women’s Club officers and committee chairs.
The new President is Sandra Jamison, who is Osage and Seneca-Cayuga. The First Vice President is Liz Nelson, who is Kickapoo; the Second Vice President is Paula Pechonick, former Chief of the Delaware Tribe; the Secretary is Mary Kirk, who is Delaware and Cherokee; the Treasurer is Connie Edwards, who is Potawatomi and Cherokee; and Historian is Jenifer Pechonick, who is Delaware.
Ketcher announced standing committee chairs: Annette Ketchum, Publicity Chair, Rose Carrier, Patriotism Chair, Sharon Armstrong, Auditing Chair, Joanne Littleaxe, Cultural Preservation Chair, Sharon Armstrong, Roberta Sanders Memorial Scholarship Fund Committee Chair. Members of this scholarship fund committee are: Phyllis Walker, Connie Edwards, Sharon Fouts and Carmen Ketcher.
Also, the following Style Show Committee members were announced: Joanne Littleaxe, Annette Ketchum, Carmen Ketcher and Cyndee Fuller, and style show advisors: Gerry Wright and Dee Theis.
After these announcements, each club member was given a candle. Ketcher lit her candle first and then shared her candle’s flame with Sandra Jamison. This process continued until all of the candles were lit.
Then Ketcher told Jamison: “We’re all different tribes, we’re different people but we’re all united under you. Good luck — two years of fun and good times!”
The luncheon was attended by several women who had been members for 30 or more years. Geraldine Wright, who is Kickapoo, has been a member for 58 years and Jenny Hague, who is Delaware and Cherokee, has been a member for 50 years. Joy White, who is Pawnee, estimates she has been a member for 45 years. Sisters, Paula Pechonick and Annette Ketchum, have been members for 32 years.
Founded in May 1935, membership in Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club is an opportunity for women from every tribe to come together to share their culture. One of the objectives of the club is to raise money for a college scholarship program to assist Native American students. This luncheon is an opportunity to celebrate all of the hard work the club does throughout the year.
“Some people may think it’s just a cultural club, but really it’s a service/cultural club,” Publicity Chairman Annette Ketchum said.
Treasurer Connie Edwards, a member for 25 years, who is Potawatomi and Cherokee, said, “the [educational] scholarships are awarded at $500 – $800 per year for four consecutive years. Students fill out a renewal form each year to continue the scholarship. On the renewal application, we require a passing grade and at least 15 college hours per semester. Right now we have 16 on scholarship, some of whom will graduate this year.”
To raise funds for their service projects, the club holds several fundraisers annually.
First, the sixty-fifth Wild Onion fundraiser dinner will be held in the spring at a location to be decided and date to be advertised.
Second, the club holds an Indian Taco Fundraiser at SunFest in Bartlesville, which requires a three-day commitment from club members.
Each year the Indian Women’s Club provides a meal at the Washington County Free Fair, which is held in September at the Dewey Fairgrounds.
The club also offers two types of style shows to groups for a fee. The style shows not only raise funds for service projects, the shows are ways of preserving tribal traditions, promoting continued growth, and awareness of Indian heritage, which are among the club’s written goals.
Outgoing President, Carmen Ketcher announced that this year the club will have a style show in early August for the Marine Corps Convention in Tulsa at the Osage Nation Casino.
“The club also offers a shorter format style show lasting 30 minutes. At this type of style show the models describe their clothing. This is a high-energy, fun show, mostly for bus tours and locals,” Ketcher said.
To book a style show for your group or event, contact the Indian Women’s Club Style Show Chairman Joanne Littleaxe at 918-336-3498.
The club also uses fundraiser proceeds to make contributions to various historical groups and community projects.
Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club membership dues are $20 annually and a CDIB card is required.
The club meets the second Thursday of the month at 11:30 a.m. The club does not have meetings during the summer. The club shares the building with several other clubs in Bartlesville known as the Women’s Club Building, located at 601 Shawnee Ave. in Bartlesville. Anyone needing a meeting place can call 918-335-1361 for rental of the building or other information.
To learn more about joining the Indian Women’s Club, contact Club President Sandra Jamison at 505-264-5411.