By Debbie Robinson
MIAMI, Okla. — Jill Biden is the stuff of dreams.
The wife of Vice President Joe Biden will soon receive about 100 dream catchers, with the idea being to lure her to speak at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; College in Miami. Students, staff members and faculty have been building the dream catchers, which are a traditional American Indian craft made of willow and sinew.
Jill Biden, who has a doctorate in education, teaches at Delaware Technical and Community College, a two-year institution with campuses around that state. She also has been a strong proponent of the role of community colleges.
Linda Wilson, director of student support services at NEO, said Biden’s philosophy mirrors that held by NEO faculty and staff members: that students at two-year colleges can value education while also enjoying campus life.
“We hope to attract Dr. Biden with our ingenuity,” Wilson said. “The reason we want her is not political. She has the heart of a Norseman.” The Miami school’s sports teams are the Golden Norsemen.
Each dream catcher will come with a dream or goal of students and former students that NEO will help or has helped students fulfill.
Wilson said that because of Oklahoma’s American Indian tradition and the presence of nine tribes in the Miami area, the gift of the dream catchers helps to define the history of the community.
About 20 people worked Tuesday in the NEO library constructing dream catchers. Crafters included members from the Seneca-Cayuga, Quapaw, Cherokee, Miami and Eastern Shawnee tribes.
TeNona Kuhn, a member of the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, instructed the group.
Dream catchers traditionally were placed on newborns’ cradle boards to trap bad dreams in their web and allow good dreams to come through to the babies.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Jared Dopp, a former NEO student who constructed a dream catcher for the group.
Dopp, who plans to attend Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, this fall, said NEO prepared him for his future at a larger university. He said the NEO faculty and staff were accessible for discussions about course work and life.
Sonya Howard, 30, of Wyandotte, also helped create the dream catchers on Tuesday.
An NEO nursing student, she said her experience at the college has provided her with a connection to others.
“It has been a lifesaver for me,” Howard said. “Basically, it’s a community within a community.”
On the Net
To learn more about Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; College in Miami, people may go to www.neo.edu.
By Debbie Robinson
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