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Donna's Journal
August 13, 2006

Here is a short article in the Ponca City News about Joy Tibbits who spoke to the Ponca tribe about the historical research she has completed. I have to say I am not Morman but do have respect for the great amount of extensive research Mrs. Michael (Joy) Tibbits has done in preserving  the history of the Ponca Tribe.


Brother Dan Jones spoke and introduced the small group of Mormon officials with the words, "It is in our ethics to care for people who are persecuted and he added that Joy Tibbet's work as a historian  was valuable in helping us to know our past so that we might cherish the future.. This time in August of 2006 makes the gift of the records particularly valuable because of the time capsule being buried which will be opened in 130 years."

Joy briefly spoke and outlined her work. In 1840, she told, the Mormons were forced out of Illinois to Iowa. An advanced party then moved on west to Nebraska. Winter was coming so eight Ponca Chiefs wanted them to stay there with them through the cold months. The Momons did stay on the Ponca TribalLands. Twenty-three of them died during the winter.

When studying genealogy Joy learned of this and began to become interested to know about the Mormon people who were buried at Niobrara. She researched a collections of journals kept by members of Morman families. As she began to realize what the Ponca people had done for them she felt a great appreciation toward the tribe and wanted to do something in the way of keeping a record of these acts so that they might not be lost.

Her historyical recordings are of: The Poncas own trail of tears and their removal to Oklahoma, annuity records, census records, records from the archives. This is the first book with dates from 1860 to 1906.  The second book is of individual Ponca records.

Comments from my own reporting on this meeting:

From before the time I studied History of Religion in college it has been my role, often to speak with total strangers about my Christian faith. The teacher I had at that time, Mr. Maag, gave us a lifelong assignment and it so strange how I have enjoyed it.  He said, "Make an effort to learn about the religions of many peoples,"  and this  wasn't just those of the Christian faith. Over the fifty years since I was in school I have been able to do that and have witnessed the beliefs of many different faiths. This assignment Mr. Maag gave did not weaken my own beliefs but just as he said, somehow it has strengthened my own faith. Of course, we never really know the total workings of a religion but it is the deep, underlying convictions of the people as they strive to stay faithful and do good works that can inspire us to continue in our struggle to stay true to our own. In any event, no matter how wide the differences are in beliefs,  the initial goodness of a people came out through  the the Poncas offering humane treatment to a suffering people and surely these are the things our Creator observes.  On the other hand, the goodness of Joy Tibbits in doing this ardurous research and writing is to be commended and respected,  as well.

Joy did tell me she goes to my page at Electric Scotland often, so we are of a kindred spirit in that way.

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