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AARP Recognizes Oklahoma Indian Elders at Annual Honors Event;
Former Choctaw Chief Receives Inaugural Leadership Award
Native veterans, language preservationists, artists, a renowned female ceremonial dancer and a former Chief of the Choctaw Nation were among those recognized at the 6th Annual AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors recently held in Oklahoma City.
More than 600 family members, tribal leaders and honored guests from across the state attended the event which recognized elders from 30 Oklahoma tribes and nations. The AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors is the largest event of its kind bringing together all Oklahoma tribes and nations to recognize the contribution of elders to their tribes, communities, family and state, said AARP Oklahoma State President Marjorie Lyons.
Former Choctaw Chief Gregory E. Pyle was named the inaugural recipient of the Dr. John Edwards Memorial Leadership Award in recognition of more than 30 years of service to his people. The award is named after long-time AARP Oklahoma Executive Council Member John Edwards who passed away earlier this year. Edwards, a former Governor of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, was instrumental in AARP’s work with Native Americans in Oklahoma.
“Chief Pyle is a visionary leader whose service to all Native Americans will continue to be felt for generations to come,” Lyons said. “We are so happy to present him this award that bears the name of our beloved friend John Edwards who himself was such a great example of selfless service to all people.”
This year’s class of Indian Elder Honorees marks 300 elders who have received the recognition since AARP began the program in 2009.
“Since its inception, we have been so blessed to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of elders from all walks of life,” said Lyons. “Some have led high profile lives and others have quietly passed on their gentle wisdom and culture. Collectively, this year’s AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honorees represent what is best about Native American people in Oklahoma: love of family, dedication to culture and respect for all people.”
Lyons noted that AARP Oklahoma continues to expand its work on issues affecting Native Americans in the state, particularly working to address health disparities, transportation needs and cultural preservation. She invites anyone interested to join the AARP Oklahoma Inter-Tribal Community Group by sending an e-mail to: email@example.com.
Col. Louis (Buddy) Bedoka -Caddo- has served his country, state & the Caddo people. He served as Commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, Battery B, 158th Field Artillery, and as Commander in the United States Army Reserve Unit in Lawton. He demonstrates that Caddo Warriors are honorable, brave and willing to serve and protect their loved ones and all peoples of the world.
Jacob “Jake” Big Soldier, Jr., -Iowa- shortly before graduating from Capitol Hill High School , Jake enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve. He received his Basic and Advance Infantry Training at Camp Pendleton, CA. and valiantly served in the Vietnam War where he was part of the multiple operations and searches & destroy Missions.
Sinah Manley Birdcreek -Alabama Quassarte- a revered tribal elder, Mrs. Birdcreek served on the governing committee of the tribal town, is a fluent speaker of her native language and taught herself to read and write. She is women’s leader at the Alabama Baptist Church in Weleetka and enjoys cooking sofkee and salt meat. She attended Eufaula Boarding School and was recently honored for being one of the oldest women in the tribe.
Lorene Blaine -Choctaw- a full blood, she is actively involved in cultural activities of the Choctaw Nation. She has passed down her talents of cooking native food, singing the native language, beadwork and sewing. Lorene formed the Inter-Tribal Club in 1992 and organized the first Inter-Tribal Pow Wow for the City of Durant. She was an observer for the Department of Justice voting rights for the past 12 years and was named 2008-2009 Outstanding Female Elder of the Choctaw Nation.
Tony Booth -Shawnee- as a tribal council member, he has offered his extensive insight and experience as a business owner and consultant. Tony has served on multiple community and veteran’s organizations and administrations and has served 58 years in the healthcare industry.
Jeraldine “Jerry” Brown -Chickasaw- a retired teacher, she is known for her wonderful smile and outgoing personality. She was one of the first people to see the devastation in the wake of the bombs dropped on Japan in World War II and is a member of the Women’s Army Auxiliary. After her retirement, she continued volunteering in schools until the age of 91 and currently volunteers at an Edmond Hospital. She swims weekly to stay in shape and takes great pride that she grew up as a Chickasaw.
Charlene Leading Fox Button –Quapaw & Pawnee – has been instrumental in keeping tribal culture alive. She currently serves on the Cultural Committee, dances at many pow-wows and also serves on the Housing and Enrollment committees. She is very proud of her family which includes nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren who all sing and say the Lord’s Prayer in Indian Sign Language. She has made many outfits for them since they were small. She also serves on the Home Health & Hospice Board at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., and has been an active member of First Christian Church in Baxter Springs, Kan., since 1940.
Rosa Carter -Cherokee- a full blood, Rosa has been instrumental in helping revitalize the Cherokee language. She taught Cherokee at Northeastern State University, helped develop the language curriculum for the Cherokee Nation Immersion School and was a member of the Cherokee Language Consortium working in collaboration with the Eastern Band of Cherokees. She has raised her children and grandchildren to speak and understand Cherokee and is currently helping her great grandchildren to learn the language. Rosa is a life-long member of the Redbird Smith Ceremonial Grounds and worked at the Redbird Smith Health Center for 22 years.
Clarence Deer–Kickapoo- a noted dancer (war & gourd) and pow wow singer, he has presented songs and dance to schools throughout the United States. Clarence has participated in Kickapoo ceremonies since he was a young child and now leads ceremonies. He has served 13 years as Vice Chairman for the Kickapoo Tribe and as a member of the Kickapoo Housing Commission. He also served as vice chairman for the Kickapoo Native American Church, where he leads prayers in the Kickapoo language. Mr. Deer graduated from Haskell Indian Nations and retired from Tinker Air Force Base, where he worked for 32 years. Indian Name: (Kishkinniequote: eagle with broken wing)
Joseph “Joe” Dent –Otoe-Missouria- learned the ways of the Native American Church from his grandfather and served as chairman of the church for 20 years. He has kept his own fireplace for decades and learned the Otoe-Missouria language as a child. Joe is one of the heads of the Bear Clan and served as a member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Council. He is the grandson of the last hereditary Otoe-Missouria Chief Ralph Dent, great grandson of Chief Hoke Dent (Chief Blue Hair) and Chief Dave Pettit (Chief Wach’ehi Manyi). Joe is an Air Force veteran. His friendship with many Kiowa elders was the catalyst for his membership into the Kiowa Tai Pai Society and the Kiowa Warrior Society.
Col. Ralph Dru –Cheyenne- a full blood, he overcame many obstacles, including growing up an orphan, to become a Colonel and a physician in the US Army and in private practice. A recipient of the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars, he served in Incheon, Korea where he earned the Combat Infantry Badge. He earned his medical degree using the GI Bill and was recalled to service as a Division Surgeon during Desert Storm earning the Combat Medical Badge. He retired after 20 years of service with the United States Public Health Service and became very involved in Cheyenne Sundance ceremonies. He remade the Cheyenne Sacred Arrows, giving him the right to perform any Cheyenne ceremony.
Bill Duckworth –Chickasaw- a descendant of Levi Colbert, he has spent much of his retirement tracking and documenting family history, research and burial locations for himself and other Chickasaw citizens. Bill has authored two books — one on his family history and another on the histories of the Southern Oklahoma towns of Achille, Kemp and Hendrix. He is currently producing a one-of-a-kind detailed map of the Chickasaw Nation, showing Indian Territory settlements from 1837-1880. Bill served in the US Army from 1956-1962 and was among 19 Chickasaw elder veterans recently honored by the Chickasaw Nation.
Anita Fields – Osage – a renowned clay sculpture artist whose work has been included in exhibits throughout the United States, at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution and in many prestigious public and private collections. Anita was artist in residence at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis and one of 47 Native American delegates participating in a cultural exchange in South Africa. She says with each handful of moist earth she is given the opportunity express herself in a manner that reflects what has been left for her — a way to look at the world and a way to think as an Osage woman.
Sue Folsom –Choctaw- instrumental in sustaining the lifestyle of the Choctaw people as Executive Director of the Cultural Services Division of the Nation. She leads a staff that is keeper of Choctaw culture, traditions and history. In addition to orchestrating events, stickball teams, the Choctaw Labor Day Festival and planning a new cultural center, Sue has passed down her skills making crafts to her staff which, in turn, is teaching others how to make baskets, traditional clothing, pottery and beadwork. She was recently appointed vice president of the National Trail of Tears Association and also serves on the Oklahoma Museum Association, U.S. Marshall Tribal Advisory Committee, Kiamichi Tourism Board, Inter-tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes and National Native American Indian Museum Association.
Keith Franklin –Sac & Fox- has been a role model advocating for social, political, health, education and economic change for all Native Americans. He has served as President of the Albuquerque Metro Native American Coalition since 1999 and, along with the National Indian Youth Council, he helped lobby New Mexico’s Congressional delegation, State Legislature and the City Council of Albuquerque to support an effort that resulted in special Congressional funding for urban dental services for the Albuquerque area. He was instrumental in changing the New Mexico Indian Education Act and made frequent trips to Washington to educate and inform officials on the plight of urban Native Americans. He served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and the United States Air Force for 23 years and worked as a civilian at Randolph Air Force Base, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of the Trust Funds Management in Albuquerque.
Chief John P. Froman –Peoria- following in the footsteps of his grandfather and uncle, he was elected Chief in 2001. Under his leadership, the tribe expanded its business operations and provided hundreds of jobs to local residents. Environmental projects started under Chief Froman have benefited the community, including a wetland program that will reduce the flow of heavy metals into Grand Lake. He was a member of the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission and the Native American Cultural & Educational Authority and is Vice President of the Miami Area Economic Development Service Board.
Dennis “Jay” Hannah – Cherokee- a descendant of the Cherokee’s Beloved Woman, Nancy Ward, he is the recipient of the 2008 Principal Chief’s Leadership Award given in recognition of Cherokee citizens who demonstrate leadership and a giving spirit. He has served as co-chair of the Private Industry Council under Chief Mankiller, Commissioner and Custodian of Records of the Constitution Convention Commission, Chairman of the Cherokee Nation 1999 Constitution Convention and Secretary-Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation. He also served on the Cherokee Nation Business Board, Chairman of Cherokee Nation Enterprises, and was founder and treasurer of the Central Oklahoma Cherokee Alliance (COCA). He delivered the keynote address at the 2009 Trail of Tears Association Conference and Symposium and serves as master of ceremonies at many Cherokee National Holiday celebrations.
Dawna (Riding In) Hare -Pawnee & Wichita- a graduate of Haskell Indian Junior College and the University of Kansas, she spent five years with the American Indian Training and Employment Program in Oklahoma City and 24 years in tribal administration with the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. Dawna has volunteered with the Iron Gate Church in Tulsa for the annual Native American Homeless Honoring Meal and sits on the Advisory Board for the OSU American Indians into Psychology Program. She enjoys dancing, making moccasins for her family members, and preparing for the annual Native American Tennis Tournament. For the past five years she has served as caregiver to her mother.
Jacque Secondine-Hensley –Kaw- is the first Native American Liaison for the State of Oklahoma. She has served on the Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education and advocated for native languages in classrooms along with safe environments for native children. She taught at a National Indian Police Training Academy and across the state of Oklahoma regarding how to talk to native children when investigating or interviewing children of abuse. She and her family participate and are involved in tribal programs.
Tom Holder – Delaware Nation– son of former Delaware Chief Myrtle Holder, Tom served on the EPA Committee for the Delaware Nation and started the Community Health program in the 1970s. He served as chairman of the Indian Health Service Advisory Board and helped start the National Board of Indian Health Services in Oklahoma. He was tribal education representative and served as chairman for Riverside School Board and treasurer for Ft. Sill Advisory Board. He continues to set an example to tribal members about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and is a veteran of the US Navy.
Dorothy Ice – United Keetoowah- a fluent speaker of the Keetoowah language, she is a skilled artisan in loom weaving, an art that is nearly lost. She teaches Keetoowah language classes and has represented Keetoowah speakers at a Smithsonian event in 2014. She is an active elder with strong cultural and traditional skills and is a member of the Red Hat Society.
Arthur K. James –Yuchi, Creek & Choctaw– a member of the Tiger Clan and the Yuchi Polecat Ceremony Grounds, he was an early-day pioneer for Indian musicians. Growing up in a family of musicians, Arthur played saxophone at Chilocco Indian School and later formed an all-native band at Haskell Junior College. A broadcaster, he was host of the Art James Show on KCNW radio. He is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army and trained as a helicopter radio technician. Before joining the military, he was a musician playing the drums in different bands throughout Oklahoma.
Lewis Ketchum –Delaware Tribe- a revered elder who, at the age of 100, continues to live alone, drives and participates in the tribal work-out program three times a week, Mr. Ketchum was chosen elder of the year by the tribe in 2009. He attended Chilocco Indian School and worked in the engineering department of Reda Pump Company for 42 years. Two of Mr. Ketchum’s sons – the late Lewis B. Ketchum and Dee Ketchum served as Chiefs of the Delaware Tribe. His daughter-in-law now serves on the tribal council. In addition, he has one daughter, Pat Donnell.
June Lee –Seminole- a full blood Seminole, who still sews Seminole patchwork, June is an elder and very involved in Seminole Hitchitee United Methodist Church. She is a former General Council Representative of the Great Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.
Mary Jane Lowery –Chickasaw-the first woman elected as a tribal judge for the Chickasaw Nation. Her maternal grandmother, Willie McGee Orr, and her paternal grandfather, Robert F. Porter, were original enrollees. She is a direct descendant of Chickasaw leader Edmond Pickens. She is the daughter of Mary Lois Jones and Staff Sgt. Olen Ray Porter, a casualty of WWII. Her civic involvement includes volunteering at the Chickasaw Senior Center in Madill, serving on the Madill Housing Authority and as President of the Madill Rose Garden Club. She worked for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services for 25 years. In 2012, Mary Jane represented the Chickasaw Nation at the National Indian Council on Aging.
Honorable Philip Lujan –Kiowa and Taos Pueblo descent- helped establish the District Court of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and has been Chief District Court Judge for 29 years. He also has served as the Chief District Judge for the Kaw, Iowa, Cheyenne & Arapaho, Kickapoo, and Sac & Fox. He has served as Federal Magistrate for the Court of Indian Offenses for the Anadarko Region for more than 30 years and has served on the Courts of Federal Regulations for Seminole, Chickasaw and Anadarko agencies. Judge Lujan has made a positive impact throughout his years of service for countless Native Americans an attorney, judge and head of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, where he retired as Professor Emeritus after 25 years.
Neal McCaleb –Chickasaw- former minority leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Oklahoma’s first Secretary of Transportation & Director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, he serves as Ambassador-at-large for the Chickasaw Nation. He served on the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission and was appointed by President George W. Bush as Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs. He served on President Nixon’s National Council on Indian Opportunities and President Reagan’s Commission on Indian Reservation Economies. He was inducted to the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame in 1999 and named to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2014.
Rebecca “Becky” Meyer –Cherokee- a retired teacher, Becky has been active in the National Indian Education Association, the Oklahoma & Colorado Indian Education Associations and has volunteered for the Red Earth Festival for more than 25 years. She received the 2013 Red Earth Festival Spirit Award & was named Native American Honored Alumna by Oklahoma City University. She was a member of the American Indian Cultural Society in Norman, the Oklahoma City Chapter of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce, the Central Oklahoma Cherokee Alliance, the Cherokee National Historical Society, is a member of Nancy Ward Descendants and First Families of Cherokee Nation and has been a docent at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History for 14 years.
Susie “Sue” Morgan –Muscogee Creek- retired after 50-year career as a registered nurse who volunteers for the Muscogee Creek Nation and Oklahoma City Muscogee Creek Association. She served as chairman of Oklahoma City Muscogee Creek Association and is currently Senior Miss Oklahoma City Muscogee Creek Association. She participates in tribal panels and seminars, enjoys attending pow wows and teaches classes on Native American culture including making dresses and moccasins. She also participates in traditional arts of jewelry making, basket weaving and makes native quilts and blankets which she donates to hospices, ministers, troops, group homes, City Rescue Mission and to Oklahoma City Indian Clinic for babies. She also makes preemie baby clothing for the Renaissance Women’s Center. Following the death of her husband, who was serving in the Air Force, she raised three children and is an active member of the Gold Star Wives.
Winnie Guess-Perdue –Cherokee- a direct descendant of Sequoyah, she is an accomplished ballerina, ground-breaking Indian Ceremonial dancer and artist. As one of the only female Hoop, Eagle and Fancy dancers, Mrs. Perdue has performed throughout Oklahoma and toured with Bacone Indian College. She is a Trustee on the Board of the Cherokee Heritage Center, serves on the Cherokee National Historical Society and is the Cherokee representative serving as Commissioner on the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission which recognized her with the Lifetime of Culture Achievement Award. She was a finalist in the Miss Indian American competition, a gold and silver-medalist in the National Senior Olympics and represented Oklahoma in the World Master Games in Australia.
Scott Roberts –Muscogee Creek- an award winning potter who uses primitive methods and styles of the ancient people, he has studied anthropology and the history of the Late Woodland & Early Mississippian Mound Building Cultures for more than 40 years. His work is hand burnished with a stone and deer antler and free-hand incised. He has taught classes and participated in symposiums on primitive pottery methods. He also works in stone carving and Native American beadwork. In 2012, one of his pieces was presented to President Barak Obama during his visit to Oklahoma.
Marsha Rose –Wichita & Affiliated- a former Commissioner on the Wichita Tribe Industrial Development Commission, she served as one of the first managers of the tribe’s successful company — Anadarko Industries. Marsha is an attorney who has practiced 28 years in Houston, where she also has Municipal Government Experience with the City of Houston. She holds a Master’s degree in Federal Indian Law from the University of Tulsa.
Ramona Rosiere –Modoc- instrumental tribal leader whose work with other leaders has enabled the tribe to grow in membership and economic viability. She has served as Secretary/Treasurer for the tribe since its federal recognition in 1978. Ramona, the fifth generation of her family line of Modoc in Oklahoma, is the daughter of Dutch Walker, one of the first Chiefs of the newly formed Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma after termination from federal supervision in 1956, and the great granddaughter of James Long, the “Youngest Modoc Warrior” in reference to the 1873 Modoc War.
Turner Scott –Alabama Quassarte- is a fluent speaker of the native language which he uses at the Alabama Ceremonial Ground, where he has served as speaker for over 35 years. Turner, who is of Quassarte descent, belongs to the Wotko Clan and son of the legendary Jim Scott. He belongs to Pecan Grove Methodist Church in Yeager. He and his wife, dedicate their time to their family and serving others.
George A. Shannon –Osage- given the Osage name Wah Kon Sea, meaning “When the deer herd looks up,” has led native programs that have helped to lay the foundation for a better and stronger tomorrow as a consultant to tribal nations including the Choctaw, Cherokee, Osage and Peoria tribes, as well as work nationally with the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. He has volunteered for the Sequoia Club (OU Indian student organization), the Board of Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa, Inc., the American Indian Alumni Society of the University of Oklahoma and the American Indian Chamber of Commerce. He is the son of the first full-blood Osage woman to graduate high school and has taught Native Americans to lead with compassion, to respect and embrace cultural identity and to never lose sight of history.
Jack Shoemate –Comanche- a Korean War Veteran who served with the US Army, he was employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for 27 years where he worked with 12 different tribes as Industrial Development Specialist and Chief of Credit. He spent 11 years as Superintendent of the Osage Tribe. After his retirement, he became Director of the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce and City Councilman. As Mayor of Pawhuska, Jack led a delegation to sign a Sister-City Compact with Montauban France. At age 81, he currently serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Osage County Historical Society and community volunteer. He is a member of the Indian Dutch Reform Mission Church in Lawton and attends Pawhuska First United Methodist Church.
Carmelita Skeeter –Citizen Potawatomi- has dedicated her life to the betterment of lives for Native Americans through advocacy & support of minority and Indian health needs. Her involvement with what would become the Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa began with surveying Tulsa residents in 1976 and culminated in her promotion to Chief Executive Officer in 1989. She has made a major difference through community and civic involvement that includes service on the Tribal Technical Advisory Group for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; serving on the Oklahoma Primary Care Board and Committees for the past 20 years; service on the Indian Health Service Oklahoma Area User Population Team Workgroups; service on the Susan G. Koman Foundation’s American Indian/Alaska Native National Advisory Council and testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives.
Crosslin F. Smith –Cherokee- is a respected spiritual resource who is a member of the Keetowah Society which is known as the keepers of God’s eternal flame. In 1964, he became the first employee of the Cherokee Nation and has worked under four Cherokee Chiefs – W.W. Keeler, Ross Swimmer, Wilma Mankiller and current Chief Bill John Baker. During the Korean War, he represented the Cherokee Nation in combat as a member of the famous 45th Thunderbird Division. He also served as a civil service employee for 30 years. Mr. Smith has been a keynote speaker at conferences both in the United States and abroad.
Henry Smoke –Cherokee- a member of the traditional stomp ground, he makes and teaches arts and crafts to youth and adults including: bow and arrow, stickball, and turtle shell leggings for stomp dances. He shares stories and history about Stomp Ground Religion that have been passed down from his elders as a way to keep traditional beliefs alive.
Milton Sovo –Comanche- raised on a farm in Comanche County, he developed his love of Mother Earth’s resources thanks to the influence of his parents and grandparents. He used his college education in Agriculture to further the conservation of all natural resources and to encourage his Native American brothers and sisters to recognize the cultural relationship between these resources and their use and care for future generations. He is president of the Oklahoma Tribal Transportation Council and is a member of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Tribal Advisory Board. As a member of the Apache Town Board he has worked to use his knowledge of infrastructures, roads and water to better the community where he now resides with a large Native American population. Milton has done much to further government-to-government relationships with tribal and county governments, as well as state and federal government.
Moses Starr, Jr., -Cheyenne-Arapaho- raised by his grandmother, Soar Woman, Moses returned to the traditional ways of his childhood after serving in the Korean War as a Ranger in the US Army. He became the Camp Crier for the Cheyenne Sundance and also carries the medicine to paint his people who have passed on, as well as their families. He is a member of the Kit Fox Society of the Cheyenne Tribe, has served on several committees for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and worked with the Indian Rehabilitation Program helping incarcerated Indians make their way back into society. In 2010, he was made an Arapaho Chief. He has traveled to many different countries representing the Cheyenne people with his stories, traditional Cheyenne songs and dances. He sings war dances, mound dances, gourd dances and ceremonial songs and speaks Cheyenne fluently. He has passed traditional ways down to his daughters and they are helping him to pass the traditional ways down to his 16 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.
Raymond “Red” Stone Calf, Jr. –Cheyenne & Arapaho- spent a combined 35 years working at Concho and Riverside Indian Boarding schools. He was known for encouraging students to do their best and helping them realize they were important no matter what their home life may have been like. His saying was, “You won’t know what you can do until you try.” Today, he keeps in touch with some of the students, many of which now have their own families. Following his retirement he worked for the C&A Tribes and represented the Concho Post 401 American Legion at events across the country. He served in the Marines during the Vietnam War where he was wounded twice and is now a part of the Arapaho Color Guard.
Lucinda Lou Lewis Tiger –Alabama Quassarte- the eldest member of the Alabama Quassarte, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation and matriarch of her family, Mrs. Tiger has been involved in tribal and community affairs for more than 45 years. She and her late husband Johnny Moore Tiger were actively involved in an organization of tribal towns and were part of a contingency that traveled to Washington, D.C. in 1976 in support of a legal case that set the precedence for all tribes to be able to elect their own leaders. She served as secretary of the tribal town as well as on the enrollment committee. She was a Community Health Representative for the Muscogee Creek Nation and worked in Indian Education for 13 years in the Muskogee Public School System. She has been a devoted member of West Eufaula Indian Missionary Baptist Church all her life and has been a Women’s Leader for over 5o years. She also faithfully attends monthly meetings of Creek Singing.
Luke Toyebo, Sr., -Kiowa- educator, coach and veteran, he was born at his Grandmother A-tah’s home on Big Tree’s allotment southwest of Mountain View. A World War II veteran, he served in the Coast Guard on board the USS Agassiz for 29 months as a radio operator. After the war, he became a teacher at Putnam City where he also coached basketball, wresting and track. He taught in Hope, New Mexico; Fay, Oklahoma; Haskell Institute and later was in the guidance department at Concho Indian School. In 1964, he transferred to the Area office of the BIA, in Anadarko as Higher Ed Specialist and was later promoted to Director. He has been honored for his contributions to Native American Higher Education by the University of Oklahoma, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Cameron University. After he retired from the BIA, he became Director of the Kiowa Tribe Tax Commission. He is an active member of Rainy Mountain Kiowa Indian Baptist Church, where he is a senior deacon. In addition, he is an avid horseman who started breeding race horses for the American Indian Expo in 1970.
Elizabeth Trickey –Thlopthlocco- began her life as a politician when she was appointed to the business committee in 1995. She has served on the business committee for several terms. Her firm voice and passionate stance on issues that she believes in strongly is a salient feature of her tribal political career. She also has a positive impact on tribal economic development.
Duke Tsoodle, Jr. –Kiowa & Apache- minister and higher education leader, he assisted hundreds of Native Americans with higher education during his 30 years of service with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As a spiritual leader, Duke has ministered to countless families as pastor of First Apache Indian Baptist Church in Fort Cobb – the same church led by his father, Duke, Sr. He serves on the Bacone College Board of Regents, is past Moderator of the Oklahoma Indian American Baptist Association and also served as an officer of the American Baptist Indian Caucus. He coached little league football, independent basketball and started a running program that triggered the first “All Indian Track Meet” in the nation, which helped further the collegiate careers of many Native Americans. He also worked as Executive Director of his tribe’s Housing Authority.
Neal L. Watson –Miami- is a member of the Miami Tribe Business Development Authority and regularly participates in tribal activities. He has been the mayor of Quapaw for over a decade. After a tornado struck the town earlier this year, Mayor Watson worked diligently to see that power was restored and that assistance was given to those in need. He was instrumental in reaching out to area tribes for financial support to purchase an ambulance for the Quapaw Ambulance Service and is now working to ensure that the volunteer fire department and emergency facilities are restored for the city.
Charlene Edwards-Whittington –Absentee Shawnee- has been an exceptional role model and mentor to her family, friends and tribe. She willingly and lovingly gave up her life plans to be a kind and compassionate caregiver for her mother and continued to carry on her mother’s tradition of bringing the family together for special dinners at the home place. She was a role model for Indian women in the 1960s as she left rural Oklahoma and confronted discrimination against Native Americans building a distinguished career in professional education at the Dallas Independent School District, where she retired. She continues to be active in her tribe and community.
Robin Woodley –Choctaw- saw a need in her community and organized evening meal opportunities for people of all ages. She located a facility in her town that is convenient for socially economically challenged patrons, secured funding through privileged tribal resources, spearheaded advertising, school relations, food donations, food preparations and serving. Since opening in August of 2013 an average of 100 people per week are served food, with the largest majority being Native American seniors and young families with children, all of native decent.
Jackie Sine Young –Iowa- an educator, tribal leader and elder who continues to touch lives, Jackie participates in weekly language and cultural meetings at the Iowa complex and has been instrumental in a pilot program whose long-term goal is to provide laptop computers for homebound elders. She served on the tribal business committee as councilperson and secretary where she aided in developing a tribal assistance educational program that provides financial assistance to college students. She retired from Oklahoma City Public Schools in 2002 after 29 years in Special Education/Learning Disabilities, is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and did graduate work at the University of Central Oklahoma. She is a member of the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association. She recently shared traditional Iowa beading pieces that have been in her family for many years with students in order to bring tribal history alive.
New Survey: Oklahoma Native Americans Say Personal Health Problems are Their Most Important Challenge
A recent survey completed by AARP and the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center (OKTEC) suggests personal health problems are the number one concern of American Indians when asked ‘what is the single most important problem or challenge facing Oklahoma Native Americans in mid-life’.
Respondents to the survey stated other challenges faced were: staying healthy, the cost of living, retirement and transportation.
Click HERE to read the full survey.
Nearly all those surveyed said it is extremely or very important for tribes to maintain current funding levels for health care access, while 87% said funding home modifications that allow people to stay in their own homes is extremely or very important. More than three out of four respondents (86%) said it is extremely or very important for tribes to fund housing arrangements for people who can no longer live in their own homes, such as, adult family homes and assisted living.
The AARP Tribal Community Survey was unveiled at the 6th Annual Tribal Epidemiology Center Public Health Conference held in Shawnee. The survey polled more than 300 American Indian and Alaska Natives age 40 and older living in Oklahoma. It was conducted by OKTEC, part of the nonprofit organization Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board (OCAITHB), in conjunction with AARP Oklahoma.
Tom Anderson, Interim Executive Director of the Oklahoma City Area-Inter Tribal Health Board and OKTEC Director said the American Indian survey targeted 14 Oklahoma communities and gathered information concerning demographics, challenges and priorities in life, consumer-related issues and monthly expenses and discounts.
“The results of this community survey reaffirm the mission of the Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board to improve the health and quality of life of Native American communities through advocacy and education,” he said. “Working with partners like AARP Oklahoma, we are able to extend our effort to explore ways for improving the quality of life for Native Americans”.
AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl said outreach and education to Native Americans is one of the top priorities of the association in Oklahoma.
“This survey is significant because for the first time, we now have a snapshot of the beliefs of Native Americans in Oklahoma,” he said. “This validates AARP’s past work on healthcare education, cultural preservation and transportation and gives us a solid roadmap to continue working with the Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board as well as all 39-federally recognized tribes and nations in the state.”
AARP participated in a breakout session at the public health conference focusing on creating healthy and livable communities by establishing a rural transportation system in eastern Oklahoma.
Other key findings of The AARP Tribal Community Survey include:
- The majority of those surveyed said they prefer to have family and friends provide care at home as their long-term care option, followed closely by having care provided in a home-like setting such as assisted living and being able to pay a nurse or aide to provide care at home;
- More than half of those surveyed (53%) said the costs of utilities such as heating, cooling, electricity, water and sewer was a major issue;
- More than one-third (38% ) of respondents indicated they were extremely worried or very worried about protecting themselves against unfair or deceptive financial practices;
- 34% of American Indians responding in the survey stated they were extremely worried or very worried about protecting themselves against identity theft;
- When the survey asked ‘what they dreamed about most’, most of the survey participants (25%) responded: would like to see their grandchildren be happy or be part of their lives;
Executive Council Member John Edwards Instrumental in Native American Outreach Passes at Age 79
Dr. John Edwards, a member of the AARP Executive Council, who was instrumental in Native American Outreach passed away Friday, April 18, 2014 at the age of 79. Dr. Edwards was former Governor of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and the 2010 Recipient of the AARP Oklahoma Andrus Award for Community Service. He was an active member of the AARP Oklahoma Inter-Tribal Community Group and a key part of the AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors. Click HERE to read his full obituary.
AARP Presents Traditional, Healthy Cooking Demonstration
As part of its on-going education and outreach work with Oklahoma tribal nations, AARP recently presented a traditional healthy cooking demonstration featuring renowned chef, Loretta Barrett Oden, a member of the Potawatomi Nation. The demonstration was held during the 7th Generation Conference in Midwest City. This is the third year AARP has worked with Chef Oden to promote traditional healthy cooking to Native Americans in the state. Click HERE to watch a short video.
AARP Co-Sponsors Conference Focused on Health Disparities
AARP Oklahoma recently partnered with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee-Creek, Osage and Otoe-Missouria nations to host the 7th Generation Conference in Midwest City.
The three-day event, which was attended by more than 200 people, focused on improving health among Native Americans in Oklahoma and cultural preservation. Conference organizers say Native Americans living in Oklahoma suffer greater health disparities than most other people living in the state. Click HERE to watch a short video about the conference.
Topics addressed included the complexities of the Indian Health System, the importance of collaborating on American Indian data to enhance Oklahoma public health efforts, restoring health through cultural preservation and traditional healthy cooking.
A highlight at the event was a free screening of the new movie “The Cherokee Word for Water” which is based on a true story about former Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller. Click HERE to watch a preview of the film.
Interested in learning more about AARP’s Inter-Tribal Community Group? E-mail Mashell Sourjohn at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Past Indian Elder Honorees (Note: past honorees are not eligible to be honored again)
Col. Louis (Buddy) Bedoka, Caddo; Jacob “Jake” Big Soldier, Jr., Iowa; Sinah Manley Birdcreek, Alabama Quassarte; Lorene Blaine, Choctaw; Tony Booth, Shawnee; Jeraldine “Jerry” Brown, Chickasaw; Charlene Leading Fox Button, Quapaw & Pawnee; Rosa Carter, Cherokee; Clarence Deer, Kickapoo; Joseph “Joe” Dent, Otoe-Missouria; Col. Ralph Dru, Cheyenne; Bill Duckworth, Chickasaw; Anita Fields, Osage; Sue Folsom, Choctaw; Kieth Franklin, Sac & Fox; Chief John P. Froman, Peoria; Dennis “Jay” Hannah, Cherokee; Dawna Hare, Pawnee & Wichita; Jacque Secondine-Hensley, Kaw; Tom Holder, Delaware Nation; Dorothy Ice, United Keetoowah; Arthur K. James, Yuchi, Creek & Choctaw; Lewis Ketchum, Delaware Tribe; June Lee, Seminole; Mary Jane Lowery, Chickasaw; Judge Philip Lujan, Kiowa & Tas Pueblo descent; Neal McCaleb, Chickasaw; Rebecca “Becky” Meyer, Cherokee; Susie “Sue” Morgan, Muscogee Creek; Winnie Guess-Perdue, Cherokee; Scott Roberts, Muscogee Creek; Marsha Rose, Wichita & Affiliated; Ramona Rosiere, Modoc; Turner Scott, Alabama Quassarte; George A. Shannon, Osage; Jack Shoemate, Comanche; Carmelita Skeeter, Citizen Potawatomi; Crosslin F. Smith, Cherokee; Henry Smoke, Cherokee; Milton Sovo, Comanche; Moses Starr, Jr. Cheyenne-Arapaho; Raymond “Red” Stone Calf, Jr., Cheyenne & Arapaho; Lucinda Lou Lewis Tiger, Alabama Quassarte; Luke Toyebo, Sr. Kiowa; Elizabeth Trickey, Thlopthlocco; Duke Tsoodle, Kiowa & Apache; Neal L. Watson, Miami; Charlene Edwards-Whittington, Absentee Shawnee; Robin Woodley, Choctaw; Jackie Sine Young, Iowa.
Jeanetta Anderson, Muscogee Creek; Larry Angelo, Ottawa; Mary Arkeketa, Muscogee Creek; Diana Autaubo, Seminole; Jack Baker, Cherokee; Bettty Starr Barker, Cherokee; Rev. Bertram Bobb, Choctaw; Johniie Brasuell, Muscogee Creek; Pauline Carpenter Brown, Chickasaw; Cordelia Clapp, Pawnee; Ann Louise Bedoka Donaghey, Caddo; Kotcha Doonkeen, Seminole; Conrad Galey, Comanche; Dr. Aaron Gawhega, Otoe-Missouria; Marshall R. Gover, Pawnee; Dr. Richard A. Grounds, Euchee; Irene D. Hamilton, Cheyenne-Arapaho; Pauline Haney, Muscogee Creek; Eugene Harjo, Muscogee Creek; Fannie Harjo, Seminole; LaDonna Harris, Comanche; Jim Henson, Keetoowah; Charles “Sonny” Holloway, Kaw; E. Bernadette Huber, Iowa; Clark Inkanish, Wichita & Affiliated; Rose Jefferson, Chickasaw; Cornelia Quoetone-Karty, Comanche & Kiowa; Keeper Johnson, Muscogee Creek; Janice Rowe-Kurak, Iowa; Charles Lookout, Osage; Sandra Dacon-Medrano, Thlopthlocco & Muscogee; Ted McCullum, Modoc; Joanna Palmer Morris, Seminole; Loretta Barrett Oden, Citizen Potawatomi; John Pinezaddleby, Kiowa; Mary Ann Powell, Citizen Potawatomi; Barbara Smith, Chickasaw; Carolyn Smith, Shawnee; Sherry Smith, Comanche; Towana Spivey, Chickasaw; Larry Spybuck, Absentee Shawnee; Ross Swimmer, Cherokee; William Tall Bear, Sr., Cheyenne-Arapaho; Harriet Tehauno, Choctaw; Wilbur “Webb” Tipton, Miami; Cecil Wahpekeche, Kickapoo; Shirley Walker, Seminole; Maxine Williams-Thompson, Ponca; Julia Wilson, Osage; Jack Yargee, Alabama-Quassarte.
Peggy F. Acoya, Sac & Fox; Fredo “Chubby” Anderson, Muscogee Creek; Buel Anglen, Cherokee; Neill Bayhylle, Pawnee; Mary Ann Brittan, Choctaw; Lloyd Perry Buffalo, Quapaw; Grace Bunner, Thlopthlocco; Mary Butler, Kaw & Peoria; Royce Carter, Miami; Ella M. Colman, Seminole; George Coser, Musogee Creek; Judy Deer-Coser, Sac & Fox; Leland Michael Darrow, Ft. Sill Apache; Georgia Gallegos, Delaware Nation; Glenda Glavan, Chickasaw; Joe Grayson, Jr., Cherokee; John Hair, United Keetowah; Louis Headman, Ponca; Sharon Den Hoed, Ottawa; Leroy Howard, Seneca Cayuga; Doyle Barry Kerr, Shawnee; Dee Ketchum, Delaware Tribe; Annette Ketchum, Delaware Tribe; H. Mongraine Lookout, Osage; Alica Roberta Hedges Lindsley, Peoria; Rebecca Lindsey, Muscogee Creek; JoAnn Big Soldier Mayes, Iowa & Otoe-Missouria; Guy Munroe, Kaw; Emma Murdock, Kickapoo; Lyndreth “Tugger” Palmer, Kiowa & Choctaw; Dr. Steven B. Pratt, Osage; Lucinda Robbins, Cherokee; Gayle Cussen Satepauhoodle, Caddo; Jim Schreen Tonkawa; Jack Shadwick, Modoc; Baptiste Shunatona, Otoe-Missouria; Doyle Morton Thompson, Citizen Potawatomi; William (Bill) Thorpe, Sac & Fox; Nathan “Jumbo” Tselee, Apache; Pauline White Wahpepah, Absentee Shawnee; Josephine Myers-Wapp, Comanche; Dr. Linda Sue Warner, Comanche; Matthew Whitehorse, Kiowa; Stratford Williams, Wichita & Affiliated; Stella Wilson, Sac & Fox, Iowa; Robert Wilson, Cheyenne & Arapaho; Gladys Yackeyonny, Delaware Nation.
Dr. Richard Allen, Cherokee; John Edwin Anderson, Chickasaw & Choctaw; Leola Barnett, Kialegee; Leaford Bearskin, Wyandotte; Mary Birdtail, Absentee Shawnee; George Blanchard, Absentee Shawnee; Jerry C. Bread, Kiowa; Nora Cheek, Thlopthlocco; Hank Childs, Otoe-Missouria; Lena (Ellis) Pennock Clark, Sac & Fox; Judy Cobb, Modoc; Velma Coker, Seminole; Kenneth & Rita Coosewoon, Comanche; Barbara Kyser-Collier, Quapaw; Thomas W. Cooper, Chickasaw; Shirley Davilla, Wichita & Affiliated; Judy C. Davis, Miami; Mary Lou Davis, Caddo; John Daughtery, Jr., Eastern Shawnee; Dr. Charla Dawes, Ottawa; Mary Dethrage, Citizen Potawatomi; Thomas J. Dry, Choctaw; Jerry Haney, Seminole & Muscogee Creek; J.C. Elliott, Cherokee & Osage; Emmett “Bud” Ellis, Peoria; Bill Glass, Jr., Cherokee; Sequoyah Guess, United Keetoowah; Georgie Honey, Shawnee; Nadean Hilliard, Seneca Cayuga; Benedict Kawaykla, Fort Sill Apache; Curtis Kekahbah, Kaw; John Lee Kemble, Ponca; Gregg Klinekole, Jr., Apache; Charles A. Lone Chief, Jr., Pawnee; Ron Parker, Chickasaw; Harvey Phillip Pratt, Cheyenne & Arapaho; Thelma Lucile “Chincie” Ross, Chickasaw; Victor Roubidoux, Iowa; Greta Haney Ruminer, Seminole; Martha Spotted Bear, Osage, Kaw & Ponca; Gene E. Tsatoke, Kiowa; Lawrence Wahpepah, Kickapoo; Betty Warr, Choctaw; Mary Watters, Delaware Tribe; Richard Ray Whitman, Muscogee Creek; Julian Q. Whorton, Kiowa; Rev. Donald Eugene “Gene” Wilson, Choctaw; Videll Yackeschi, Comanche; Winey Yargee, Alabama Quassarte.
Barbara J. Allen, Tonkawa; Bill Barnett, Muscogee Creek; Doretha Bowen, Choctaw; Nelson BigBow, Kiowa; Raymond M. Cline, Delaware Tribe; John William Cornsilk, United Keetoowah; Dr. Pete G. Coser, Muscogee Creek; Leon Cross, Citizen Potawatomi; Charles Diebold, Seneca Cayuga; Randlett Edmonds, Caddo; Charles Enyart, Eastern Shawnee; J.B. Fish, Alabama Quassarte; June Fixico, Kialegee; Phil Follis, Modoc; Grace Goodeagle, Quapaw; Cornelia Mae Gosney, Otoe Missouria; Freddie Halfmoon, Shawnee; Enoch Kelly Haney, Seminole; Ernest Hooser, Choctaw; Melvin Imotichey, Chickasaw; Joyce Big Soldier-Miller, Iowa; Stella M. Nullake-Nanaeto, Sac & Fox; Stuart Owings, Wichita & Affiliated; Dixon Palmer, Kiowa & Choctaw; Steve Pensoneau, Ponca; Luther Pepper, Kaw; Dwight Pickering, Caddo, Kaw & Otoe; Linda Sue Poolaw, Delaware Nation; Jimmy L. Reeder, Cherokee; Carolyn Garren-Ritchey, Peoria; Esteline Sloan-Schulenberg, Absentee Shawnee; Bill Shoemate, Comanche; Mary Smith, Chickasaw; Henry Chapman Stoneroad, Pawnee; George E. Tall Chief, Osage; John R. (Jack) Thorpe, Sac & Fox; Coweta Ulrey, Ottawa; Raymond Vann, Cherokee; Mildred Walker, Miami; Anita Lookout-West, Osage; Bob White, Kickapoo; Patricia Ann Woods, Chickasaw.
James Anquoe, Kiowa; Tony Arkeketa, Ponca; Turner Bear, Jr., Muscogee Creek; Gene Bible Muscogee Creek; Kennedy Brown, Chickasaw; Dr. Guyneth Bedoka Cardwell, Caddo; Allan Colbert, Muscogee Creek; Ethel Cook, Ottawa; Phillip Coon, Muscogee Creek; Gracie Dailey, Seminole; Lorena DeRoin, Otoe-Missouria; Eula Doonkeen, Seminole; Jerry Douglas, Delaware Tribe; Tewana Edwards, Chickasaw; Martha (Bull Frog) Ellis Edwards, Absentee Shawnee; Mary Spooner Ellis, Sac & Fox; Bill Follis, Modoc; Lawerence Hart, Cheyenne Arapaho; Jacob Fixico, Kialegee; Melinda Gibson, Thlopthlocco; Lupe A. Gooday, Sr.; Ft. Still Apache; Barbara Goodin, Comanche; George Elton Howell, Pawnee; Juanita Johnson, Kickapoo; John Ketcher, Cherokee; Doris Jean Lamar McLemore, Wichita & Affiliated; Bill Mashunkashey, Osage; Nadine Mayfield, Miami; Florence Whitecrow Matthews, Quapaw; William Nadeau, Citizen Potawatomi; Ted Nesvold, Wyandotte; Levi Orphan, Chickasaw/Choctaw; Don Patterson, Tonkawa; Norma Price, Choctaw; Lucy Belle Schultz, Chickasaw; Dr. Lahoma Schultz, Muscogee Creek & Seminole; Mae Sine, Iowa; Leo Smallwood, Choctaw; Wayne Smith, Seneca Cayuga; Hickory Starr, Cherokee; Wanda Stone, Kaw; James Squirrel, Shawnee; Glenna Wallace, Eastern Shawnee; George Wickliffe, United Keetoowah; Evangeline Wilson, Choctaw; Tarpie Yargee, Alabama Quassarte.