The statistics are frightening, but amid all the hopelessness, there are reasons to celebrate. That’s what this page is all about: triumphs, truths, lessons, inspiration, help … and most of all, hope. Take a look at some of the stories below – and if you know someone who should be a feature, let us know!


Alexis Tanyan is 18 years old and resides in Oklahoma City. She is a member of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma and of the Eagle Clan. She is also Absentee Shawnee, Seminole, Osage and Blackfeet. She is the daughter of Tracy and Leslie Tanyan and has one brother, TJ Tanyan. Alexis is very active in her Native American culture. She is a Southern Cloth and Buckskin dancer. Alexis has been dancing since she could walk and was brought into the dance arena by her Great Uncle Frank McClellan Sr. During her years of dancing, Alexis has been an ambassador for the youth, her tribe and Oklahoma City. She has held the title of Iowa Tiny-Tot Princess, Jr. Miss Iowa Tribal Princess, Miss Iowa Tribal Princess and most recently she just gave up her title as the 2015 Miss Indian Oklahoma City. It has been an honor and a blessing for Alexis to hold such prestigious titles. She has been able to mentor native youth and be a role model for many girls hoping to hold a title someday.

In addition, Alexis has excelled academically throughout her time in high school. She is a senior at West Moore High School where she will graduate in May 2016. She is a member of the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society. She is the President of the West Moore Native American Club and has earned her 4 x 4 distinction. Alexis started in 8th grade to obtain her 4 x 4 distinction so she could start college classes during her senior year. As a result of her hard work, she is concurrently enrolled at Oklahoma City Community College where she is taking her general elective classes toward a degree. Alexis was accepted into the University of Oklahoma (OU) and awarded a partial academic scholarship by OU for her outstanding academic excellence. She will attend OU in the Fall of 2016 majoring in Pre-Medicine.

Alexis lives by the motto “Never Be Satisfied” and her favorite scripture is Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”.   


Evan Wahpekeche is 16 years old and resides in Little Axe, Oklahoma. He is a sophomore at Little Axe High School. He is an active traditional member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma and Absentee Shawnee ceremonial grounds, and is an enrolled member of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe. Evan is the son of JR and Brandi Wahpekeche. Some of Evan’s hobbies include playing baseball, waterfowl hunting, and competitive bass fishing. 

Some of his many achievements include 2015 Oklahoma BASS Nation State Champion, 2015 National Qualifier (42nd place), numerous victories in Oklahoma BASS High School fishing tournaments and Oklahoma City Junior BASSmasters, and he was the 2015 Oklahoma City Junior BASSmasters Angler of the Year. In 2015, Evan was asked to travel to the Smithsonian Museum where he was a cultural presenter. Evan plans on joining the military after high school.   


Dacoda McDowell-Wahpekeche is member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma and is also Absentee Shawnee. He is 15 years old and is a freshman at Little Axe High School. 

His parents are Marguerite Wahpekeche and James Labrada of Little Axe, Oklahoma, 

and Kiley McDowell who is enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Dacoda has most recently been part of the Little Axe High School academic team which had the honor in traveling to Chicago to compete at the national level. Dacoda has also been a starter on the high school cross country team and qualified to run in the state competition, he was also a starter for the varsity basketball team and ended the season as the team’s point guard.   Dacoda has also participated in the high school’s show choir for two years and has most recently traveled to Winter Park, Colorado for competition where they won “Best In Class” honors. Along with all of his activities, he has maintained a 3.75 GPA and was recently inducted into the Little Axe High School Honor Society.

 Dacoda’s future high school plans are to win state in Cross Country and Basketball and to graduate with honors. Upon graduating, he would like to attend the college who provides him the best scholarship opportunity to play basketball, sing or run cross country. He plans on pursing a degree in music and would like to come back to Little Axe to teach music.

Dacoda’s favorite quote is “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it.”