Tribal Leaders, Clinton School Officials Issue Joint Statement Saying Initial Claims Are Inaccurate


Saturday, September 4th 2021, 10:26 pm
By: Clayton Cummins


CLINTON, Oklahoma -

UPDATE: The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and Clinton Public Schools released a joint statement regarding the alleged incident that occurred earlier this week.

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Leaders from the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribe met with officials from Clinton Public Schools Friday afternoon. 

The meeting comes three days after Cheyenne & Arapaho 5th grader Dominique Lonebear said two students held him down and cut his hair in a school bathroom.

The incident happened Tuesday inside a bathroom at Washington Elementary School.

Read: Native American Family Outraged After They Say Clinton 5th Grader Was Held Down, Had Hair Cut By 2 Students

Reggie Wassana, governor of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribe, said a meeting was necessary after learning of the allegations.

“We want to help the kids., we want to help them grow, we want to help them learn and we want to help them embrace our tribal culture,” Wassana said. “Today I think they understood that a little more.”

Everything from counselors and mental health behaviors, Wassana said, were discussed. Tribe leaders said making sure students have someone to turn to is important.

“We take the safety and the security of our students and all of the people that are under our care on a daily basis extremely serious,” Clinton Public Schools Superintendent Tyler Bridges said. “Those types of allegations when they are made, they are investigated.”

The district’s investigation, now involving Clinton police, revealed through hallway cameras that just one student entered the bathroom at Washington Elementary while Lonebear was inside.

Investigators interviewed that student -- although it’s unclear what the student said.

“Hopefully something good will come out of this, about bullying, about Native American cultures, to educate people, Laquita Lonebear, Dominique’s grandmother, said. “Things that matter to us because we are part of this community.”

Tribal leaders hope the message will be heard nationwide.

“All of the educational institutions need to be more aware of people being different,” Wassana said. “Whether you’re short, tall, slim, big, dark, brown, white, you need to except people’s diversity.”

News 9 reached out to Clinton Police Chief Paul Rinkel but did not hear back Friday.

The American Indian Movement (AIM) said they are planning a rally in support of Native American culture in Clinton next Friday.