Hello, my name is MaryAnn (Guoladdle-Davilla) Parker! I am from Anadarko, Oklahoma, but more specifically I grew up in Hog Creek just outside of Anadarko. I currently live in Oklahoma City with my husband Dallas and our girls. I graduated from Oklahoma City University with my bachelor of art degree in American history. I am the new circulations manager here at FAAM. I also work at the First Americans Museum as the curatorial administrative assistant. I have previously worked at the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic as a mentor.
FAAM: You served as Kiowa Tribal Princess and Miss Indian Oklahoma City University, which involves meeting a wide range of people from the Oklahoma Native community. What are some of the challenges that the community expressed to you, and what did you experience that inspired you?
As Kiowa princess, I got to know my Kiowa language and history even more. I spent almost every weekend dancing at various powwows, our tribal ceremonies, and other events throughout Oklahoma. I enjoyed being that positive role model for the younger generations. I loved having the little girls come up and dance by me, said hello, and would have little conversations with me. The younger generation is what motivates me to be and do better. Being Miss Indian OCU helped me give a voice to the Native community on and off campus.
FAAM: What advice do you have for young women who might want to seek leadership roles?
I would tell her to take the leadership role. We have so many Native women who are in these different types of leadership roles to look up to. We have Native women who are U.S. Congresswomen, CEOs, museum directors, actors, and artists who all take the world by storm. Fear is something that has been taught and something that we as women need to overcome and prove to ourselves that we are worth it. I would also tell them that they have this community of strong women to back them up, encourage, and uplift when they stop believing in themselves.
FAAM: What are some of the positive impacts that museums can have on Native communities?
Museums could impact communities in a positive way by engaging the Native communities and going to them for advice and to gain knowledge about the artifacts that are being displayed in these museums. They could view these as a way of preserving these artifacts in a manner that is respectful to these Native communities. This is also a way for the younger generations to learn more about themselves and where they come from.
FAAM: What would you most like non-Native people to understand about Native people today?
I would want people to know that we are just like anybody else. I would want them to know how beautiful, vast, and rich our Native cultures are, and that not every tribe is a Plains tribe because we have our Woodland, Coastal, Arctic, Plains, and Southwestern communities just to name a few. I would encourage them to go to a powwow, talk to a Native person, or attend a Native-sponsored event. I would also want them to understand that we take care of our communities, families, and people.
FAAM: During this time of sheltering-in-place what are some things you’ve discovered to make the experience more pleasant? The little things to make the day better?
While the shelter in place has been a struggle, and it has taken some time to get used to, I found that since my husband and I recently got married this past January 2020, we have had time to spend together and get to know one another on a different level. I found that cooking and baking new things have helped me, because I get to learn something new, and my husband and girls usually like the new things I cook—and sometimes they don’t. We also have started to sew more as a way to wind down and shake off the stress of work. We started to create different things such as makeup bags, wrap bags for makeup brushes, earrings, lanyards, wristlets, and even little coin purses. I am getting to learn how to make men’s moccasins, women’s leggings, and dresses for myself and my girls, so that once it is safe for us to go to ceremonies and powwows, we are ready with our new sets that we put together ourselves.