First modern ceremonials

The modern original Kiowa Black Leggings at a prior ceremonial: left to right: WWII Veterans and members of the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society George Tahbone, Navy; Allen Quetone, Air Force; Gus Palmer Sr., Air Force; Dixon Palmer, Army.

ANADARKO — The time-honored ceremonial for the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society, Ton Kon Gau in the tribal tongue, will take place Saturday and Sunday at Indian City, south of Anadarko.

Ceremonials will begin with a meal at 11 a.m. and ceremonial activities will begin at 1 p.m. both days, according to Randall K. Jake, organization information officer.

“The public is invited to enjoy the society’s historic songs and dances, and observe the time-honored traditions of the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society,” he said.

Retired Army Sgt. Major Richard Rocha III will be initiated into the revered warrior society Saturday afternoon.

Rocha, whose family name is Dautobi, was born at Fort Sill in 1954. In 1972 he enlisted in the Army. Rocha III retired in 2002 after more than 28 years of distinguished service, Jake said.

Later, Parker Emhoolah will receive a South Korean Peace Medal and Orville Paukei will be recognized by his family for his service in the Vietnam War. Paukei served in the Army as Specialist 4th Class of the 5th Special Forces Group.

At 7 p.m., the O-Ho-Mah Lodge will conduct a program of social and war dancing, Jake said.

Sunday’s events will begin with more honoring ceremonies.

“Along with the customary ceremonial proceedings, Dr. Everett Rhoades will be honored for his years of dedicated service to the Society and Frank O. Palmer, Chief Aviation Boatsman’s Mate (Equipment) Aviation/Surface Warfare, U.S. Navy (retired) will be honored by his family,” Jake said.

Along with a military and professional career, Rhoades is also a member of the Kiowa Black Leggings.

“In 1982 he was appointed the first Indian Director of the U.S. Indian Health Service and Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service,” Jake said. “Dr. Rhoades now serves as Professor Emeritus of Medicine in the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.”

Frank O. Palmer, Chief Aviation Boatsman’s Mate (Equipment) Aviation/Surface Warfare, the son of Lyndreth “Tugger” Palmer and Theresa A. Palmer (deceased), will be honored by his family on Sunday afternoon, Jake said.

“His paternal grandparents are Gus Sr. and Alice (Tendadoah) Palmer,” he said. “Gus and six of his brothers were World War II veterans and another was a Korean War Veteran.

Frankie, as he is known by his family, is a graduate of Anadarko High School, and retired in 2022 from the Navy after a distinguished 20-year and 10-month military career, Jake said. He resides in Bakersfield, Calif., with his two children.

Things culminate in later in the afternoon. Jake said it connects to the Kiowa warrior tradition in a way dating back centuries.

“Later in the afternoon, the last and perhaps most symbolic and historical of the Society’s dances will take place,” he said. “The Turn Around or Reverse Dance, known in Kiowa as ‘Xakoigacunga.’ portrays the story of counterattack and is also known as the Encountering the Enemy Dance.”

The evening will conclude with the O-Ho-Mah Lodge conducting a program of war and social dancing.

Written by Scott Rains: scott.rains@swoknews.com.