Dorothy Sunrise Lorentino

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Dorothy Sunrise Lorentino (Tabbyyetchy)

Also Known As: "Tab-By-Yetchee", "Parker Lorentino", "Parker Tab-By-Yetchee Lorentino Sunrise"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Oklahoma, United States of America
Death: August 04, 2005 (96)
Greenville, Hunt County, Texas, Oklahoma, United States of America
Place of Burial: Post Oak Cemetery, Indiahoma, Comanche County, Oklahoma, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Charles Sunrise Tabbyyetchy and Esther Tabbyyetchy
Wife of William Wilson Lorentino, Sr.
Mother of William Wilson 'Bill' Lorentino, Jr.
Sister of Winona Sunrise Chase; Sgt. Morris Sunrise Tabbyyetchy, Comanche Code Talker, WW II; Forrest “Sunrise” Tabbyyetchy and Mabel Tabbyyetchy
Half sister of Richard Sunrise

Managed by: William Owen "Bill" Irwin
Last Updated:

About Dorothy Sunrise Lorentino

Granddaughter of Chief Quanah Parker
The Comanche Nation

Saturday, June 28, 1997
Honored teacher early victim of segregation
Last modified at 6:36 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1997
By KRISTEN L. HAYS
The Capital-Journal

EMPORIA -- Long before the historic Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka case was filed in 1951, 6-year-old Dorothy Sunrise Lorentino symbolized children who were forced to attend segregated schools because of their race.

A native Oklahoman and a Comanche Indian, Lorentino in the spring of 1918 attended Fort Sill Indian School near Lawton, Okla., because Native Americans weren't allowed to share public school classrooms with whites.

That fall, her mother dressed her up and her father took her to one of the "whites-only" elementary schools, enrolled her and left her there for the day. She attended a few more days until the principal notified her father than Lorentino wasn't allowed to attend that school.

That wasn't good enough for her parents, Esther and Charlie Sunrise, Lorentino said. They went to the Comanche County Courthouse in Lawton and sued the Lawton school district for wrongly shutting Native-American children out of public schools.

That lawsuit got Lorentino a ticket into Lawton public schools later that fall of 1918, and eventually was folded into the 1924 Citizenship Act, guaranteeing public school access to Native Americans across the country.

Lorentino, now 88, is among five teachers to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia today. She spent 34 years teaching in a system that barred her access to learning until her parents challenged the status quo.

The other inductees are Dr. Larry Baran, special education and vocational education teacher, Flossmoor, Ill.; Robert Bruesch, sixth grade, Rosemead, Calif.; Tracey Fallon, seventh grade, Blackwood, N.J.; and Alan Haskvitz, social studies, Walnut, Calif.

The hall of fame was established in 1989 to honor kindergarten through 12th grade teachers through a recognition program, museum, and conference and resource center. Twenty-five teachers from 19 states have been inducted. "The idea was that public schools weren't for us," Lorentino recalled during her multi-day visit to Emporia for the induction ceremony.

Lorentino faced more barriers than race when she entered public schools. She didn't speak English -- she spoke only her native Comanche. Her mother spoke English and supplemented her language training at home. Even though she eventually learned to speak English fluently, she never mastered spelling -- and noted she remains a poor speller today.

Lorentino originally planned to be a nurse but was advised by nursing teachers that she ought to switch vocations because tuberculosis was common in Native Americans and that she would be a threat to patient safety.

She didn't get the same advice when she sought training to be a teacher, a profession she embraced from 1938 to her retirement in 1974.

Lorentino chose to specialize in special education when children with disabilities were completely separated from regular education peers, she recalled. Because of her own background, she harbored a special affinity for children who didn't speak English. And Oklahoma had its share of Native American and Mexican children who spoke only their native languages. "Since I spoke only Comanche when I started, I was special education," Lorentino said. "It took me a long time to learn to think and translate in English. But I wouldn't do anything else besides teaching if I had it to do over."

As always I bid you peace
Mae O'Neal
Contributor: May O'Neal - mayoneal65@gmail.com

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Dorothy Sunrise Lorentino's Timeline

1909
May 7, 1909
Oklahoma, United States of America
1942
September 11, 1942
Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma, USA
2005
August 4, 2005
Age 96
Greenville, Hunt County, Texas, Oklahoma, United States of America
????
Post Oak Cemetery, Indiahoma, Comanche County, Oklahoma, USA