Artists, preservationists, icons honored during Arts & Culture Awards
SULPHUR, Okla. – Educators, linguists, historic preservationists and artists were among those honored during the Chickasaw Nation Arts & Culture Award ceremony Oct. 4 at the Chickasaw Cultural Center.
Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham was named 2018 Dynamic Chickasaw Woman of the Year by Governor Bill Anoatubby.
Dr. Cobb-Greetham is Chair of the Department of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
Her efforts at OU contributed to the elevation of Native American Studies from a program to a department, as well as the establishment of the newly endowed Native Nations Center.
“This award recognizes and honors a Chickasaw woman who inspires, gives hope to others and through her example opens opportunities for others,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “Dr. Cobb-Greetham exemplifies the character, strength and values of the Chickasaw Nation and its people: honor, integrity, perseverance, visionary leadership and a commitment to family and community.”
Dr. Cobb-Greetham’s professional career includes her work as an educator, researcher, author and Chickasaw Nation employee.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, her master’s degree from the University of North Texas and a doctorate in English from the University of Oklahoma.
She maintained professorships at the University of New Mexico and Oklahoma State University. In her research, she has focused on tribal history and culture in Indian Territory, in addition to issues of Native American representation and cultural production.
Dr. Cobb-Greetham served the Chickasaw Nation from 2007-2012 as History & Culture administrator.
She worked closely with Gov. Anoatubby to launch the Chickasaw Cultural Center and to direct the Chickasaw Press. She considers service to her tribe central to her identity as a scholar and professional.
Dr. Cobb-Greetham received the American Book Award for her book “Listening to Our Grandmothers’ Stories: The Bloomfield Academy for Chickasaw Females.” She is co-editor of “The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations with Amy Lonetree.” She has published numerous articles and served for nine years as the editor of American Indian Quarterly.
She serves on the board of trustees of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the board of governors of Harvard University’s Honoring Nations Project and the board of directors of Americans for Indian Opportunity.
She is the daughter of a proud Chickasaw family. Dr. Cobb-Greetham is the daughter of John and Pat Cobb, granddaughter of Ida Mae Pratt (Dinah), great-granddaughter of original enrollee Robert Pratt, and direct descendant of Edmund Pickens, a celebrated Chickasaw leader following removal to Indian Territory.
“I have never met a Chickasaw woman who is not dynamic, who is not hardworking, who does not have the perseverance to overcome adversity, who does not forge ahead with whatever we’ve got -- in times of health and vitality, challenge or despair, whatever day of the week it is. Chickasaw women are dynamic,” Dr. Cobb-Greetham said.
“This is the most special recognition I ever could imagine and ever could receive. And it’s happening here on an evening which is near and dear to my heart: the Cultural Evening of the Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival,” she said.
She closed her speech by asking all women in attendance to stand and be honored.
Established in 2006, the Dynamic Chickasaw Woman of the Year Award honors Chickasaw women who have made significant contributions to the Nation, serve as role models to other Chickasaw women and who have made a difference in the lives of Chickasaws and other citizens, enriching their communities and society at large.
Silver Feather - Pauline Brown
Pauline Brown, 2007 Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame inductee, received the prestigious 2018 Silver Feather Award.
“This evening, we present the 2018 Silver Feather Award to an individual who works tirelessly to help others learn and continue our language and culture,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “It’s really difficult to overestimate her support and contribution to the preservation of the Chickasaw language and culture. It is through these efforts that she hopes to ensure the language is spoken fluently by our people throughout the Chickasaw Nation.”
Mrs. Brown is a fluent speaker of the Chickasaw language, having grown up as the eldest of six children in a household with a mother who spoke the language.
She was born in Fillmore, Oklahoma in 1931, and spent her childhood in the country on her mother’s allotment land. She was educated at Goodland Indian Orphanage.
In 1952, she graduated and began training as a nurse at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, becoming a licensed practical nurse. She worked at Valley View Regional Hospital and Carl Albert Indian Health Facility, both in Ada, as well as the Tishomingo Health Clinic. Elders who spoke Chickasaw relied on her to communicate with doctors and staff.
Mrs. Brown is a notable historian of Chickasaw culture. She serves on the Chickasaw Language Committee, the Chickasaw Nation Historical Society and the tribal election board. One highlight of Ms. Brown’s career was portraying Widow Harjo in the award-winning, feature-length film, “Pearl,” produced by the Chickasaw Nation.
She is a consultant to Wickliffe Mounds Archeological Site in Kentucky, the Union County Historical and Genealogical Museum in Mississippi, and The Old Post Office Museum, also located in Mississippi.
Mrs. Brown can often be found volunteering at Chickasaw senior sites, and she is known for handcrafting Chickasaw dolls, traditional dresses and ribbon shirts.
“Thanks, it’s good that you guys are here,” Mrs. Brown said, speaking Chickasaw and accepting the Silver Feather Award. “I’m happy for this gift.”
“I think her greatest desire for the Chickasaw Nation is to remember their culture, because it is the culture that gives us our identity as Chickasaw people,” Mrs. Brown’s daughter and Director of Research and Cultural Interpretation LaDonna Brown said.
Created in 1999, the Silver Feather Award honors Chickasaws who have committed their lives to the preservation and revitalization of Chickasaw culture, language and life tradition.
Chickasaw Historical Society Service award - Debbie Jackson and Chenena Roach
Debbie Jackson and the late Chenena Roach were both honored with a Chickasaw Historical Society Service award.
The Chickasaw Historical Society was established by tribal law April 15, 1994. Since that time, the Historical Society and society members have worked toward the mission statement of promoting, preserving and protecting Chickasaw culture and family traditions.
“Someone once said that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” Mrs. Jackson said, accepting the award. “Well, I can say that was true for me. I loved what I did; I loved sharing our history and culture with patients at the hospital, visitors, whomever I came across.”
Mrs. Jackson began her service as an employee of the Chickasaw Nation in 1975, when there were only a few dozen employees, and tribal headquarters was located in Sulphur.
She has since served in many capacities and in many areas, including executive officer of Chikasha House and patient resources, director of customer relations for the department of health, in the office of Native American programs, department of education and department of housing. Mrs. Jackson also managed chaplain services at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center.
She fondly remembers several milestones in Chickasaw Nation history, including the move to the new tribal headquarters in Ada, dedication ceremony of the Carl Albert Indian Health Facility and construction of the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in literature from East Central University in 1991.
Mrs. Jackson proudly represents the tribe as a citizen and a former Chickasaw Princess.
Ms. Roach, a 2003 Chickasaw Hall of Fame inductee, was a driving force behind the preservation of Chickasaw culture and history. She was also the sister of Overton James, previous Governor of the Chickasaw Nation.
She persuaded her mother and stepfather to aid in her work of creating a written translation to preserve the Chickasaw language. In 1973, the first Chickasaw language dictionary was printed as a result of Ms. Roach’s hard work. She also compiled audio recordings of her mother pronouncing over 700 commonly spoken Chickasaw words and phrases.
Ms. Roach served on the board of directors of the Chickasaw Historical Society, preserving historical information and sites.
She earned a bachelor’s of science from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and worked for the state of Oklahoma as an administrative accountant.
Ms. Roach’s daughter, DeDe Williams, accepted the award on her behalf.
She said she regretted her mother not being able to see the completion of the Chickasaw Cultural Center.
“She was so excited. She just couldn’t wait. She knew it was going to be wonderful,” Ms. Williams said. “I can just imagine her meeting someone and saying, ‘Hi, I’m Chenena Roach and I’m a Chickasaw. Have you been to our cultural center? Well, it is down in Sulphur, it is magnificent and you must go there.’ Because always, always she was proud to be Chickasaw.”
Awards were also presented to winners of the Southeastern Art Show and Market, a juried event where artists enter up to four pieces of artwork in the categories of two-dimensional art, three-dimensional art, cultural art and miniature art.
Submitted artworks included paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, jewelry, pottery, textiles, baskets, regalia and more.
The top winners in each category were:
Best in Show – Kelley Lunsford, Chickasaw
Best in Division, Cultural – Tyra Shackleford, Chickasaw
Best in Division, 3D art – Troy Jackson, Cherokee
Best in Division, 2D art – Bryan Waytula, Cherokee
The show is open to all artists of Southeastern and Woodlands tribes. The winning artworks, as well as works from all other participating artists, will be showcased Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5-6 at Chickasaw Nation Capitol grounds in Tishomingo during the 2018 Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival.
New Chickasaw Press and White Dog Press publications
New Chickasaw Press and White Dog Press publications were also released during the awards ceremony.
New releases from Chickasaw Press included “A Chickasaw Historical Atlas” written by Stanley Nelson, “Never Give Up! The Life of Pearl Carter Scott (Collector’s Edition)” by Paul F. Lambert and “Chickasaw Basic Language: Workbook II” created by Michelle Cooke and the Chickasaw Nation Language Committee.
An app was also part of the Chickasaw Press’ releases. The Choctaw Hymns app - produced in partnership with the Choctaw Nation and derived from the print version of the Choctaw Hymnal - is available for download free of charge at the App Store, Google Play and Amazon.
The Chickasaw Press imprint, White Dog Press, released “Chula the Fox” by Anthony Perry and “Little Loksi” by Trey Hays and Eli Corbin. Also made available was a coloring book titled “C is for Chickasaw” created by Wiley Barnes and Aaron K. Long to accompany the softcover book with the same name.
“Adventures of the Three Little Shokhoshis” is a rendition of The Three Little Pigs produced by 2017 Ikbi Holisso (Book Creation) Camp students. It incorporates Chickasaw language and cultural elements, and is illustrated with textured, cartoon-style cutouts crafted by the students.
For more information on the books and other Chickasaw Press publications, please visit www.ChickasawPress.com.