Vol. LIV No. 6
June 2019

Chickasaw teen earns ‘Best of Show’ at Red Earth youth show

OKLAHOMA CITY – Chickasaw artist Miko Milligan’s hanging sculpture “The Warrior” was named “Best of Show” at the prestigious 2018 Red Earth Festival Youth Art Competition. Miko’s work took top honors in the youth competition. Twelve Chickasaw youth were cited by judges for artistic excellence.

It marks the second time in three years Miko has taken Best of Show at Red Earth. Two years ago his sculpture “Shaman” captured the top award.

“The Warrior” was actually started and completed a couple of years ago during sessions in the Chickasaw Arts Academy. Working with instructor Brenda Fisher, Miko said the work consisted mostly of cloth soaked in plaster and shaped around a mold.

The soon-to-be 17-year-old will be a senior at Byng (OK) High School this fall. He plans to attend East Central (OK) University after graduating in 2019 and likely will major in art, but currently is undecided on what the future holds for him.

“I want my artwork to showcase my Chickasaw heritage,” Miko said.”I wanted to show people what a Chickasaw warrior would have looked like before the removal period. I wanted to show the past and how the Chickasaw people are still connected to it. I still care about my culture and want to preserve it.”

He credits his father, Marcus Milligan, with inspiring him and his siblings to pursue art. Mr. Milligan is director of visual arts, media and design at Chickasaw Nation Arts & Humanities. He is also an artist in many mediums including fine jewelry, which is on display at the Arts & Humanities building, 201 N. Broadway, Ada.

Being Chickasaw has special meaning to Miko.

“It means being part of a people,” he said. “The Chickasaw Nation represents friendship, cooperation, love of culture and what it means to be unconquered.”

In other Red Earth Festival competition, critically acclaimed Chickasaw forger and blade smith Dan Worcester claimed another first place award this year with “Purple Sky,” a knife made from an old pry bar and billiard balls. Last year, Mr. Worcester’s work also garnered top awards at Red Earth.

First place Chickasaw youth finishers include:

  • Kaylee Martin, Division III, for her metal sculpture titled “Ascension.”
  • Miko Milligan, Division III, metal medallion necklace titled “Hashi.”
  • Lazarus McFerran, Division I, for photography with a photo titled “Chikasha.”
  • Arieas Freeman, Division III, for beadwork.

Second place Chickasaw youth finishers include:

  • Sophie Mater, Division I, for her brown beaded collar titled “Brown Bear.”
  • Micah Postoak, Division II, for a green beaded collar titled “Loski.”
  • Angelina Bruner, Division II, photography for her photo “Fire Flower.”
  • Arieas Freeman, Division III, for Native American jewelry.

Third place Chickasaw youth finishers include:

  • Colton Wilson, Division III, for a blue beaded chain titled “Okchamali.”
  • Shae Bittle, Division I, for an untitled photograph of a double rainbow.
  • Kander Going, Division I, for an untitled work of Native American pottery.
  • Loreal Harjo, Division III, photography for her work titled “Happy.”
  • Arieas Freeman, Division III, for Native American pottery.
  • Gabrielle Cleveland, Division II, for Native American beadwork.