Riverside Indian School Students Participate In Close Up Program
By Joshua Lavar Butler | 4/14/16
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Students from Riverside Indian School visited Capitol Hill in Washington to get “close up” to policy makers and decision makers during a recent trip in coordination with Close Up festivities held March 27 to April 1.
The Riverside Indian School delegation, located in Anadarko, Okla., sent seven students to D.C. to learn and observe the government process, to visit national historic sites, attend workshops addressing current affairs such as gun control and racial profiling, to visit their congressional leaders and to attend cultural functions.
Close Up has been inspiring, empowering and engaging students and educators for more than 40 years. The program’s mission is to empower young people to exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.
Students met with Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Lawrence Roberts, and Michael Black, director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and their staff. They all encouraged the students to continue their education and to seek out future opportunities with government, and to put their education and talents to work for their people.
The student participants included Tia Griggs, a junior at Riverside Indian School and daughter of Cline and Dorothea Griggs, from the White Mountain Apache Tribe in White River, Ariz. She is very active in student council and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Malia Pewo, a junior and daughter of Billy and Tracy Pewo of Anadarko, Okla., is a member of the Comanche Tribe. She is a champion Southern Cloth dancer. Patricia Chalepah, a senior and class valedictorian, is the daughter of Spencer Chalepah Jr. of Lawnton, Okla. Chalepah is a member of the Wichita Tribe of Oklahoma, and she has enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
Jose Whatoname, a junior and son of Merna Jackson, is a member of the Hualapai Tribe of Peach Springs, Ariz. He is a member of the varsity basketball team. Jezimay Calf Boss Ribs, a senior and class salutatorian, is the daughter of Jonelle Tail Feathers of Heart Butte, Mont. She is a member of the Blackfeet Nation and played varsity basketball and ran cross country.
Tristan Tofpi, a junior and son of Ty Mae-mah Tofpi of Carnegie, Okla., is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and he is a member of the National Honor Society and holds a regular part-time job on campus. Luz Carriago, a senior and daughter of Vanessa Carriaga of Black River Falls, Wis., is a member of the Ho-Chunk Tribe. Carriaga is involved with student council and is a member of the National Honor Society.
The chaperones and cosponsors of the trip were Timothy Yeahquo, acting principal, and Reading Teacher Sandra LeBeau.