Teaching Art & Culture in Oklahoma – Choctaw Rev. Jim Kee Rees

April 29, 2013
By: 
Jim Kee-Rees

My name is Jim Kee-Rees, and I am the Native American Missioner for the Diocese of Oklahoma and Vicar of Whirlwind Mission of the Holy Family in Watonga, Oklahoma.  Whirlwind Mission was founded by The Rev. David Pendleton Oakerhater, and is named after members of the Whirlwind family, that donated land for the first mission.

The Mission is on twelve acres and was designed by Hans Butzer who along with his wife Torrey Butzer created the Oklahoma City National Memorial.  Our Church building represents a Mesa rising up from the plains and a traditional lodge.  A part of our mission is to support the art and culture of Native American Youth in western Oklahoma.

For my presentation at Wintertalk, I focused on our annual Oakerhater Art Camp for Native American Youth.  The camp is sponsored by The University of Oklahoma School of Art and Art History and Whirlwind Mission.  We receive funding through private donations and a local foundation.  We only have so much money, so we have to limit the number of participants to fourteen.

The purpose of the Art Camp is to provide direct experience of Native American Art and Artist, help the youth develop art skills in a non-competitive and supportive environment, and foster group cooperation.  Following this design the O.U. School of Art sends Native American Artists to work with the teenagers.  Over a three day period they learn about drawing, painting, pottery and photography.  The youth also tour Native American art exhibits at museums around the state and attend a class at O.U. on the history of Native American Art. 

The Oakerhater Art Camp gives kids a chance to play, learn about art and discover gifts our Creator has given them.  I’m proud of this annual event and so thankful for the members of Whirlwind Mission who volunteer to help each year.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me, cell 405-974-0024 or jkeerees@epiok.org.

Blessings and Peace,
The Rev. Jim Kee-Rees