Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

November 2010

USAO's New DVD Set Features Gonzales Teaching Kiowa

 

USAO Alecia Gonzales
Alecia Gonzales is featured in a new set of DVDs to accompany her Kiowa language primer.

Known for her lifelong devotion to teaching and preserving the Kiowa language, author and educator Alecia Keahbone Gonzales will be featured in a new DVD series published as a companion to the second printing of her Kiowa language primer.

The DVD set follows her groundbreaking 2001 book, entitled Thaun Khoiye Tdoen Gyah: Beginning Kiowa Language. With its release, the first of its kind in America, Gonzales may have secured the Kiowa language's future and created a veritable template for other Native American tribes to use for sustaining their own languages.

Gonzales teaches Kiowa language classes at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) in Chickasha, where she approaches the Kiowa language from a "bicultural" viewpoint using two distinctly different languages. She also teaches at Anadarko High School.

Beginning Kiowa Language was published by the USAO Foundation. Copies of the textbook are available at the USAO Campus Bookstore, 405-574-1304. Just in time for Christmas 2010, the new DVD set will be available at the USAO Bookstore as well.

Gonzales’ work has made her a celebrity of sorts for her knowledge and enthusiasm about Kiowa history. In fact, visitors to the new Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington hear Gonzales’ voice in recorded segments on an audio tour. Museum officials chose only one voice to represent each of five geographic areas in America. For the central United States, they chose Gonzales.

A 1965 graduate of the Oklahoma College for Women (now USAO), Gonzales was named to the USAO Alumni Hall of Fame in 2005.

Born in Ft. Cobb, the Kiowa-Apache author and educator was surrounded by a mixture of Kiowa and American cultures. She was Apache Tribal Princess as a young girl. In the 1950s, Gonzales presented "The Lord's Prayer" in Indian sign language on the first color television broadcast of "The Dave Garraway and Arlene Francis Show." In 1962, President John F. Kennedy presented her with a lifesaving award. She graduated from OCW with a bachelor of arts degree in 1965, then obtained her master of arts degree at Southwestern State College in 1974.

Gonzales has been a speech pathologist, a dean of student services, a guidance counselor, and always an educator. She has also been a member of various groups, such as the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women, the National Education Association, the Caddo County Education Association, and she was the 1993-94 recipient of the Indian Woman of the Year award.

In recent years, Gonzales has taken legendary Kiowa folk songs and is giving them life through children’s storybooks. Printed by USAO, these bilingual children’s books include “Little Red Buffalo Song,” “A Mother Bird’s Song,” “Grandma Spider’s Song,”

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