January 23, 2017

Oldest living Comanche hits century mark

Special celebration planned for Josephine Myers-Wapp’s 100th Birthday

(February 1, 2012) LAWTON, OK – When Josephine Myers-Wapp was born in Apache, Oklahoma, on February 10, 1912, the Sooner State was just 4 years old.  One hundred years later, family and friends will gather to celebrate the life of this accomplished artist and beloved teacher.  A very special birthday gathering is being held at the Comanche Nation Elderly Center on February 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm. A special invitation is being extended to Mrs. Wapp’s family, friends and her former Indian school students.  The center is located at 1107 SW H Avenue in Lawton.

Mrs. Wapp, an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, grew up on her parent’s ranch south of Apache.  She attended school at St. Patrick’s Mission in Anadarko and continued her education at Haskell University in Lawrence, Kansas.  The turning point in her life came when the Bureau of Indian Affairs established an art education program at the Santa Fe Indian School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, a curriculum was designed to educate American Indians as art teachers and place them in American Indian boarding schools.  Mrs. Wapp entered the program, choosing fiber and traditional arts as her major areas of study.  After completing her education, she taught arts and crafts at Chilocco (Oklahoma) Indian School.  In 1963, she joined the faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, where she taught American Indian traditional arts and culture.  Mrs. Wapp was involved in all aspects of arts including native dance.  She helped coordinate a dance exhibition at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City featuring IAIA students.  She retired from teaching in 1973 to focus on creating traditional and contemporary Finger Weaving.  Her creative work has been exhibited throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and the Middle East.  She has received many awards for her artwork and teaching and has influenced thousands of people with her extraordinary talent.

Historical Facts:

·        William Howard Taft was president the year Mrs. Wapp was born.

·        18 U.S. Presidents have taken office in her lifetime.

·        She lived through the Great Depression and the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of 1930.

·        The United States has participated in 7 wars since she was born.