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Press Release

Release Date: June 29, 2018

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

ADA, Okla. – Family preservation is a priority for the Chickasaw Nation, according to Jay Keel, Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Family Services.

A series of classes combining nurturing parenting education and positive Indian parenting (PIP) is being offered by the Chickasaw Nation Parenting Education Program.

“Positive Indian parenting ties together traditional beliefs about family and the Chickasaw Nation with modern parenting. The goal is to embed the Chickasaw Nation core values within the family,” Keel said, adding that the classes are tied to the mission statement initiated by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby.

“Our mission is to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people,” Keel said. “Family services does that by attempting to strengthen families.”

He said the core values of the Chickasaw Nation like perseverance, selflessness, servant leadership, honesty and integrity and loyalty all come through in the elements of PIP.

The parenting education course teaches families nurturing behaviors and how these behaviors can work within each family’s unique environment while also teaching the PIP curriculum.

The nurturing parenting education program empowers parents and enhances self-worth, empathy and discipline.

PIP draws on the strength of historic Native American childrearing patterns while blending traditional values with modern skills.

“This type of education is important in order to preserve our nation because we believe that a nation is only as strong as the family units within that nation,” Keel said.

“We can’t lose our traditions. We stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us. Those values they held dear, the values they utilized within their lives, helped to preserve our ways. They helped to preserve our tribe.”

PIP has six values taught during its course including storytelling, cradleboards, harmony, lessons of nature, behavior management and use of praise. These all play a vital role in weaving Native American culture and traditional values into a modern household.


“Within the positive Indian parenting approach you find storytelling, which is a tradition of the Chickasaw Nation,” Keel commented.

“Those stories demonstrate for families the important role of communication with children, the parent’s role, helping children develop in the areas of making good choices, spending quality time with family and developing trust. It really ties in with all of the core values of the Chickasaw Nation.”


In the class, the use of cradleboards is discussed as well as wrapping, massaging and singing to encourage nurturing. Cradleboards were used to help with child development and understanding the importance of child development.


Harmony, balance and the relationships among all things are examined by parents as they look at ways Indian people traditionally maintained a harmonious living environment.

“Harmony, or unity, both with members of our family and also with people outside of the tribe is a big part of the teaching,” Keel said. “Harmony with everything that God has given us.”

The purpose of this lesson is to give parents an opportunity to learn how to structure their family life so that things can run smoothly.

Lessons of Nature

The purpose of this lesson is to help parents gain a sense of the ways in which cultural teachings in the past encouraged living skills. By applying these ideas to modern life, parents can help their children grow strong and at peace with the world around them.

Behavior Management

The major concept behind behavior management with PIP is that children need little discipline when they learn self-control early.

Children had role models for showing respect but were respected as well. Environment was also important. The environment was structured by parents and community, so that children could do little wrong and succeed at what they tried.

Use of Praise

The purpose of this lesson is to give parents the ability to encourage the behavior they like to see in their children. By relying on the cultural strengths exhibited in the traditional ways, parents can begin to be positive through the appropriate use of praise.


Parenting education classes will take place at 2:30 - 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from July 10 - Sept. 1, and 9 - 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays from July 11-Sept. 7 at the Chickasaw Nation Family Support office, 1401 Hoppe Blvd.

The parenting education program is taught by Shala Cubit, Chickasaw Nation parenting and community education manager. Cubit is a trained instructor certified in two curricula, nurturing parenting education and positive Indian parenting.

Attendees will be taught both the curricula throughout the series of classes.

Classes are open to the public at no charge. Registration is required. Attendance of all sessions is mandatory. Child care will not be provided.

For more information, or to register, contact the parent and community education department at 580-272-5550 or visit

Last Updated: 09/16/2016