Once a month, Higbee family members gather at a Citizen Potawatomi
Nation-owned restaurant to discuss their heritage, Potawatomi culture
and build camaraderie.
We call the group the cousins because were
all cousins, said the head of the Higbee family, John Dragoo.
After the October 2019 Higbee cousins meeting, they gathered at
the Cultural Heritage Center where Dragoo unveiled a quilt handed
down through the family for decades that features an in-depth Higbee
We have a history of togetherness with the Tribe through
common culture and history, and I dont mind reliving it and
restoring it and taking care of it, Dragoo said.
Although the Higbees once met around the Noble, Oklahoma, area
for family reunions, it has become harder over the years to organize
annual gatherings. After receiving the title as head of the Higbees,
Dragoo began looking for ways to get everyone together on a regular
basis. Since several Higbees reside in the Tribes Father Joe
Murphey housing, meeting near CPN headquarters makes it easier for
elders to participate.
Its something that weve enjoyed a great deal.
And for me, it just put me on a course of learning, or trying to
learn, more about our family history, he added
after its creation, the Higbee quilt offers a unique look
into the familys past.
CPN member Gladys Moellers lifetime of research helped the
Higbees develop their family tree, which Elwanda Higbee Moyer used
to create the quilt more than 40 years ago.
They worked on it several years at family reunions when we
were holding them down at Purcell Lake, Dragoo explained.
Theres a community building down there that we had a
lot of family reunions. Elwanda would come down, and they would
work on it with new people as they came in and tried to fill in
and update what they had. That was back in the mid-70s.
To raise funds for get-togethers, the Higbees auctioned the quilt
and other hand-crafted items every year. Organizing the annual family
reunion became too difficult, and the quilts whereabouts were
unknown until recently. Today, they are able to use it as a reference
Seeing a physical piece of my family history was absolutely
breathtaking, said Ragan Marsee, Higbee descendant and CPN
language aid. I was able to point out my father and many other
relatives on the quilt. That was so powerful to me.
The quilt also serves as a reflection of the Higbees dedication
to maintaining relationships with one another.
As for my family and I, we have always been very close. I
actually live on a farm with a large majority of my family, all
of them Higbees as well, Marsee explained. We all bring
different talents and blessings to each other, and every day I am
reminded of how proud I am to be a Higbee.
The Higbees will display the quilt during Family Reunion Festival
2020. As an honored family, they will also have a meeting during
Festival to build connections and fellowship.
We plan to show the quilt as well as some of the other things
that weve been working on. The family bought me a new walking
stick, and weve got several family members that are working
on shawls and different things, Dragoo said. We want
to see what people have done.
Organizers plan to post specifics on the Higbee meeting during
Festival to their family Facebook group at cpn.news/higbee. For
more information on Family Reunion Festival 2020, visit cpn.news/festival.