“What language family does the Kiowa language belong to?”

“What is the name of the Act that divided the lands belonging to the 5 Civilized Tribes into Allotments?”


The Lady Braves vs The GEDominators

These were just two of the questions asked during the Comanche Nation College’s 2nd Annual Indigenous Knowledge Bowl in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Modeled from the popular high school quiz bowls, the Indigenous Knowledge Bowl is a tournament in which teams compete against each other in fast-paced, head-to-head matches. Each match consists of 2 “tossup” rounds and 2 “lightning” rounds, in which contestants must answer questions regarding Native history, culture, art, treaties, politics, language, and music.

“We have a very rich and dynamic culture that is not taught in our school systems and the knowledge bowl provides a platform to celebrate the Native American people in a fun, interactive setting that hopefully empowers students”, said Johnny Poolaw, the Vice President of Student Affairs at the Comanche Nation College.

In its second year, the CNC Indigenous Knowledge Bowl had five teams competing: The Lady Braves, Comanche Girls, Bill Factors, GEDominators, and Thunderbirds. After several rounds of competition, the championship bout came down to the Lady Braves vs. the Bill Factors.

After the first “tossup” round, the Bill Factors led 10-0 and were given first choice in choosing what category they wanted to tackle in the second quarter “lightning” round. Their choices were Tribal Headquarters and Tribal Casinos. They chose to answer questions regarding the location of Tribal Headquarters which left the Lady Braves to determine what tribes owned what Casinos. The Bill Factors chose wisely and entered the third quarter “tossup” round with a considerable lead over the Lady Braves. Going into the final “lightning” round of the match, the score was 80-30.

Once more, the Bill Factors were given first choice in choosing between questions regarding Native Acronyms and Artists of the Southwest Region. They chose Native Acronyms and answered all but one question correctly. The Lady Braves struggled through the Artists of the Southwest Region, which proved to be an extremely difficult category as they were asked to identify the tribal affiliation of Native artists from the Southwest region of Oklahoma. At the end of the round, the Bill Factors were declared the champions of the Comanche Nation College’s 2nd Annual Indigenous Knowledge Bowl with a score of 120-40.


Champions of the 2nd Annual Comanche Nation College Indigenous Knowledge Bowl: The Bill Factors from Edmond Public Schools.


After a long and exciting day of competition, camaraderie, and food, the 2nd Annual Indigenous Knowledge Bowl came to a satisfying end for both the participating teams and the Comanche Nation College.

“The purpose of Indigenous Knowledge Bowls are to celebrate, educate, and acknowledge the contributions, history, culture, dance, and language of our Native Peoples”, said Poolaw. “I want every student to leave the knowledge bowl with a feeling of pride and excitement that their culture is just as important as everything else they are taught in their schools.”

And that they did.


About The Author

Johnnie Jae

Johnnie Jae is of the Otoe-Missouria and Choctaw tribes of Oklahoma. She is the managing partner of Native Max Magazine, founder of A Tribe Called Geek, and contributor to Native News Online. She is the manager and producer for the Success Native Style Radio Network, where she hosts the Indigenous Flame and A Tribe Called Geek radio shows. She is also a founding board member of Not Your Mascots. Known as the "Brown Ball of Fury," Jae seamlessly shifts from humor and pop culture to advocacy and digital media, which has made her a much-sought after speaker and commentator. Her work has been discussed in many media outlets, such as Indian Country Today, ATPN, CBC, USA Today, BBC, Global Post, Women’s E-News, Takepart.com and Upworthy. She has been a guest on several radio shows, including Native America Calling, Native Trailblazers, BBC World Have Your Say and ICI Radio.

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