Community Youth Springs into Action at Oklahoma State Fair


Velia Moncada

Gila River Indian News


A night at the state fair turned deadly for 14-year-old Illah Miguel from District 1, who attended the Oklahoma State Fair on Sat, Sept. 23. Miguel is a student at Riverside Indian School and was granted permission to leave the school with his friends and their parents when the unthinkable happened. 


Miguel was at an ATM trying to pull out money for the evening when an argument broke out inside the Bennett Event Center. The ensuing conflict led to one person drawing a gun, leaving one person shot. “When I heard the shots, I didn’t think it was real at first,” said Miguel. As others ran from the scene, Miguel noticed the shooting victim bleeding out, and he felt a need to help him. After witnessing the victim in distress, “I was like, this is real life, and he really got hit,” Miguel said. 


A video captured by Miguel’s friend, Trisidy Gabehart, captures Miguel springing into action, attempting to keep a 22-year-old victim awake by waving his hands in front of their eyes, as another witness assisted him in placing a piece of clothing under the victim’s head. Miguel removed his sweatshirt to apply pressure to the gunshot wound to slow the bleeding. This approach to treating a gunshot victim was the right move, according to the American Osteopathic Association. 


“I’m proud of him,” said his mother, Claydene Miguel, District 1. She says that as tribal members, it is important to be good citizens and help people. She expresses that she was genuinely amazed by her son and that although they are apart, for now, they are always ready to support him. 


The 22-year-old victim is in recovery at home; the victim’s family reached out to Miguel’s mother, hoping to meet the 14-year-old hero in Nov. Miguel is unaware of this yet as his mother wants to surprise him. 


“I hope he’s doing good, and god bless him,” said Miguel. He didn’t think much of the courageous act and explained that he was trying to help someone who was hurt, and it didn’t really bother him. 


Miguel aspires to join the military after high school and become the second known Native American Sniper for the Marines. “I really want to put natives on the map,” he said.