MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

October 22, 2013

School embraces Cherokee culture

Wildcat is district’s only adjunct instructor

With sugar cane reeds at their lips, Victor Wildcat’s students blow some darts barely wider than pencil leads toward foam cup targets.

Most darts land in the ground, and Wildcat has them step closer to the targets and try again.

The blow darts, which each student crafted earlier that hour, are part of a Fort Gibson High School class in Cherokee language and culture.

 Wildcat has taught the class for four years and has seen it develop.

“This year is a very outstanding class,” Wildcat said. He said the more advanced classes go beyond learning the language.

“They do things like blow guns, ball sticks,” he said. “We’d do baskets and do a marble game.”

Wildcat teaches the Cherokee language and culture class as an adjunct instructor. Superintendent Derald Glover said Wildcat is the district’s only adjunct instructor.

“The state allows you to hire someone with expertise for one hour a day as an adjunct teacher,” Glover said.

Wildcat spends the rest of the school day working with elementary kids and other students through the district’s Title VII Indian education program.

“He’s worked with the vo-ag kids on bow making,” Glover said. “He’s extremely talented.”

During the two-trimester high school Cherokee language course, students are required to converse with Wildcat in Cherokee.

“I’m very pleased with the group, they’re very exceptional,” Wildcat said. “Some are tribal members. Some are not.”

Freshman Amber Ward said she is taking the class because her grandfather is full-blood Cherokee.

“So, I’ve been learning it my whole life,” Amber said. She said that through the class, “I’m learning more about Cherokee history and culture — how they live and how they hunt.”

Freshman Shawn Robbins said Cherokee is an easy language to learn compared to Spanish.

“It’s pretty much syllables and symbols,” Shawn said.

Glover said the district hopes to hire more adjunct teachers for its capstone classes.

Those are career-oriented classes geared to be relevant to what students are learning in life, Glover said.

Glover said he would like to hire adjunct instructors for a health care capstone class and an engineering capstone class.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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