SULPHUR – A Chickasaw contemporary artist, a bladesmith, historic preservationists and Southeastern artists were among those honored during the Chickasaw Nation Arts and Culture Award ceremony Oct. 5 at the Chickasaw Cultural Center.

Brenda Kingery was named the 2017 Dynamic Woman of the Year by Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby.

Known for her contemporary artwork, Kingery’s paintings visually tell stories about her life, travels and Chickasaw heritage.

“This award honors a woman who has championed the rights and issues important to all women and who, through her lifestyle, exemplifies the character, strength and values of the Chickasaw Nation and its people,” said Anoatubby. “It is my honor to recognize Ms. Brenda Kingery.”

Kingery received her master’s degree in fine arts and art history from the University of Oklahoma, postgraduate studies in fine arts from Ryukyuus Daigaku University in Okinawa, Japan, graduate studies in Chinese language at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and is writing a master thesis on folk art of Ryukyuus.

She returned to Oklahoma to teach painting and drawing, later teaching art history for the San Antonio College. In 2007, she became an appointee to the board of trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Native Alaskans in Art and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, by former President George W. Bush.

She is a founding member of Threads of Blessings, traveling to Honduras, Mexico and Africa to teach textile and design workshops to help encourage women to use their indigenous art skills.

Kingery and her husband, Tom, have raised two children and currently reside in San Antonio, Texas.

“I want to thank all of you,” Kingery said. “As I look around this room, I’m so grateful to be a Chickasaw and so grateful for all of the faces I know. It’s a tremendous blessing.”

“This honor means a lot to me,” she said.

Established in 2006, the Dynamic Woman of the Year Award honors Chickasaw women who have made significant contributions to the Nation, served as role models to other Chickasaw women and made a difference in the lives of Chickasaws and other citizens, enriching their communities and society at large.

Silver Feather

Chickasaw bladesmith Daniel Worcester received the prestigious 2017 Silver Feather Award.

Worcester has spent 25 years crafting one-of-a-kind blades, combining the ancient craft of metalworking with creative self-expression. His contemporary approach to bladesmithing includes utilizing unique pieces for the handles such as dominoes, billiard balls, silver utensils and poker chips.

“Mr. Daniel Worcester has spent more than 25 years honing his craft and creating functional art from metal,” said Anoatubby. “His support and contributions to the Chickasaw arts are invaluable to the preservation of our artistic heritage and culture.”

Worcester was selected as Red Earth’s Honored One in 2013. He has entered Red Earth for the past 29 years, has juried in every year in SEASAM since 2005 and now participates in the Artesian Arts Festival as a juried artist.

He has eight first-place awards from the Santa Fe Indian Market. Worcester was inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame in 2009.

“This is truly a great honor,” Worcester said. “I never expected to be up here and to be here before fellow artists. It’s tremendous.”

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 ways.

Past recipients include: Adam Walker, Pauline Walker, Charlie Carter, Juanita Byars, Sim Greenwood, Geneva Holman, Leerene Frazier, Rose Jefferson, Stanley Smith, Marie Beck, Jerry Underwood, Catherine Pickens Willmond, Weldon Fulsom, Emma McLeod, Jerry Imotichey, Virginia Alexander Bolen, Sam Johnson and Sue Fish.

Chickasaw Historical

Society Service award

Betty Ruth Kemp and Glenda Galvan were both honored with a Chickasaw Historical Society Service award.

Kemp has devoted much of her time to preserving ancient archives through her dedication to genealogy and Chickasaw culture and history. She earned a bachelor’s degree in library science from the University of Oklahoma and a master of science in library science degree from Florida State University.

In 1976, she helped organize the Northeast Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society. She has been active in many organizations, including the American Indian Cultural Society and the American Library Association.

In 1994, she was appointed to the first board of directors of the Chickasaw Historical Society and served two terms, during which she held the positions of board chair and editor of The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture.

Kemp was inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame in 2013, an honor she shares with her great-grandfather, Levi “Itawamba Miko” Colbert. She is the daughter of Raymond and Mamie Kemp.

Having worked with the Chickasaw Nation since 1985, Galvan has spent much of her career seeking out and collecting items and documents of historical significance to the Chickasaw Nation.

She served as the first curator and repatriation representative for the Chickasaw Nation. She was first appointed to the Chickasaw Historical Society Board of Directors by Gov. Anoatubby in 1998. She served on the board for three terms, from 1998-2007.

A renowned Chickasaw storyteller, Galvan tells stories that were passed on to her. In 2001, her oral stories were published by Chickasaw Press in “Chikasha Stories: Share Spirit,” the first volume in what would become a trilogy.

Ms. Galvan is the daughter of Thomas Cecil and Leona Catherine Reed Ayakatubby.

Kemp and Galvan both received a Chickasaw Historical Society medallion and a copy of the gubernatorial resolution signed by Gov. Anoatubby  on June 22, 1994, inducting them into to the historical society.

SEASAM winners

Awards were also presented to winners of the Southeastern Art Show and Market.

The top winners in each category were:

• Best in Show – Troy Jackson, Cherokee.

• Best in Division, Cultural – Daniel Worcester, Chickasaw.

• Best in Division, 3D art – Troy Jackson, Cherokee.

• Best in Division, 2D art – Norma Howard, Chickasaw/Choctaw.

The show is open to all artists of Southeast and Woodlands tribes. The winning artworks, as well as works from more than 85 participating artists, were showcased earlier this month on the Chickasaw Nation Capitol grounds during the 2017 Annual Meeting and Festival.

New publications

New Chickasaw Press and White Dog Press publications were also released during the awards ceremony.

Chickasaw Press unveiled two new titles, including “Constant Fires,” by Rebecca Hatcher Travis, and “Good Night, Trilobite,” by Steve Vanlandingham.

In this collection of poems, “Constant Fires” presents 60 poems encompassing the struggles, rejoices and determination of Native Americans.

“Good Night, Trilobite” gives readers a glimpse of the Paleozoic era and the creatures and fossils it left behind, including a glossary of scientific terms and Chickasaw language vocabulary words.

“Piominko: Chickasaw Leader,” by Thomas W. Cowger and Mitch Caver was also introduced. The book outlines Chickasaw leader Piominko’s achievements and impact while recalling the period before, during and after the Revolutionary War from the point of view of the Native people it affected.

White Dog Press’ illustrated children’s book “Jack and the Giant,” created by students at the 2016 Ikbi Holisso (Book Creation) Camp, was released during the Arts and Culture Awards. “Jack and the Giant” puts a Chickasaw spin on the classic children’s story “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

The softcover edition of “ilimpa’chi’: We’re Gonna Eat! A Chickasaw Cookbook,” by JoAnn Ellis and Vicki Penner was introduced. Recipes, reminiscences and lessons in Chickasaw life are the main ingredients of this book.

The app “C is for Chickasaw” was also introduced. This app features elements of Chickasaw history, language and culture in an interactive method and is available for both iOS and Android devices.

For more information on the books and other Chickasaw Press publications, please visit

Editor’s Note: Due to spacing constraints, three photos also included with this story were unable to run in today’s edition. Please see Friday’s edition of The Ada News for those photos or see them online at

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Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.