The 2022 Chickasaw Hall of Fame ceremony premiered recently on HOF.Chickasaw.net and the Chickasaw Nation Facebook page.

This year’s ceremony included both the 2022 Chickasaw Hall of Fame inductees, as well as the 2020 inductees, whose in-person ceremony was postponed during the pandemic.

Full bios for both the 2020 and 2022 Chickasaw Hall of Fame inductees can be found in the May issue of the “Chickasaw Times” at ChickasawTimes.net.

The distinguished individuals selected for induction into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame share a dedication to the Chickasaw people and their communities that is exemplified through their contributions to culture, faith and public service.

Chickasaw citizens Tim Colbert, the late Lillian Blackwood Fowler, the late John L. Hilton, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Kevin Meeks and Ron Parker, inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame during a virtual ceremony in 2020, were honored in the 2022 ceremony.

“Congratulations to the 2020 inductees. We appreciate the lasting contributions and impact you have made on the Chickasaw Nation, Chickasaw people and others you knew and served throughout your lives and careers,” Governor Anoatubby said.

“The 2020 hall of fame inductees have established their legacies through tireless pursuit of a mission to improve their communities, the Chickasaw Nation and the lives of those around them. These inductees have embodied what it means to be Chickasaw.

“By honoring their immense contributions, we hold their examples as gifts to be celebrated and passed on to future generations. And we are thrilled to honor them with formal induction into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame this evening.”

2020 inductees:

Tim Colbert (1950-)

Tim Colbert served in the Chickasaw Tribal Legislature representing Chickasaw people in the Tishomingo District for an unprecedented 12 consecutive terms, spanning four decades. During this time, he became an associate district judge for Murray, Johnston, Marshall and Love counties.

Colbert was born April 9, 1950, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Chickasaw Hall of Fame member, the Hon. George Dixie Colbert, and Ruby Colbert. He was reared in Sulphur, Oklahoma, graduating from Sulphur High School in 1968.

Colbert attended the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University, earning his juris doctorate in 1976. After being admitted into the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1976, he became a charter member of the Chickasaw Bar Association. Elected to the Chickasaw Tribal Council in 1979, Colbert represented District 5 and later became a member of the new Chickasaw Tribal Legislature in 1983.

As a member of the legislature, Colbert served on the tribal health care and commerce committees. He retired in 2019, a culmination of 40 years as a Chickasaw legislator.

Since then, Colbert has been active serving the Murray County community as a member and volunteer at St. Francis Catholic Church, Dougherty Volunteer Fire Department, Murray County Bar and Chickasaw Bar Associations.

Lillian Blackwood Fowler (1919-2004)

Fowler was born in Antioch, Oklahoma, the eldest daughter of Bryant Blackwood and Malinda Blackwood (Gibson), an original Dawes enrollee. She attended Bloomfield Academy and Chilocco Indian School. She left school, but later earned her GED diploma in 1977 at the age of 57.

Fowler raised six children in a modest setting, working various jobs, including in a school cafeteria, assembly line and restaurants. Her diverse work experience would serve her well during her time with the Chickasaw Nation.

Her dedication was a major contributor to the early success of the community health representative (CHR) program, being one of only three representatives after its founding in 1969. As a CHR, she experienced firsthand the needs of Chickasaw citizens, especially elders. She established relationships with those she served and helped to voice their needs to the tribe.

One of the most critical requirements she identified was providing quality nutrition to Chickasaws. Thus, she accepted the challenge of becoming the Chickasaw Nation’s first nutrition specialist. The position, supported by a federal grant, enabled her to serve citizens living in all counties of the tribe, and in her success, laid the foundation of what has become an indispensable service for Chickasaws today.

Fowler was proud of her service and her tribe, and her spirit of giving has been embodied in the Chickasaw Foundation’s Lillian Fowler Memorial Scholarship. Her service to the community was recognized in 2005 with the dedication of the Lillian Blackwood Fowler monument at the Pauls Valley Senior Center.

John L. Hilton (1952-2008)

John L. Hilton dedicated his life to the service of the Chickasaw people and the growth of the Chickasaw Nation. He was instrumental in the funding of programs that still benefit Chickasaws every day.

Born in 1952 in Ada, Oklahoma, to John Mitchell Hilton and Ruby Lee Miller Hilton, he attended Byng High School, graduating in 1970. Hilton earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from East Central University and began working for the Chickasaw Nation in 1979. He began his career as a grant writer, then became a planner for grants and contracts, section head and finally director of planning.

His efforts directly contributed to the establishment of the Chickasaw Nation Roads Program, which allowed the tribe to contract for the construction of its own roadways. He assisted Chickasaws with direct services, including disaster relief, home repairs and emergency aid.

In 1987, Hilton was appointed a special assistant to Governor Bill Anoatubby, a position he maintained until he passed away. His resourcefulness and compassion reflected in his work, ensuring Chickasaw Nation programs were properly funded and supported.

He served as president of the Indian Tribes Community Development Association, a nonprofit organization addressing community development block grant needs for improving housing conditions and boosting economic development in First American communities. He also served as a member of the Governor’s Resource Advisory Committee.

Rear Admiral (Ret.) Kevin Meeks (1958-)

Rear Admiral (RADM) Kevin Meeks has been instrumental in the management and improvement of Indian Health Service (IHS) in Oklahoma and across the country during his 32-year career in the United States Public Health Service. RADM Meeks, born in 1958 and reared in Byng, Oklahoma, earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Oklahoma.

His career began in 1987 in South Dakota where he served as an Environmental Health Specialist. In 1989, he transferred to Claremore, Oklahoma, followed by an assignment to the Alaska Area IHS. In 1995, he transferred to the Oklahoma City Area Office. From 1995 to 2009, he fulfilled various management positions in the Oklahoma City Area Office, including Assistant Associate Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering (OEHE), Environmental Health Services Branch Chief and Associate Director of OEHE. In 2007, serving as the Southeast Regional Commissioned Corps Liaison, he provided personnel services to more than 300 officers assigned to the Oklahoma City, Nashville and Albuquerque areas.

RADM Meeks served as the Area Director of the Oklahoma City Area Indian Health Service from 2009 to 2017. As the Area Director, he served the senior federal official responsible for the provision of comprehensive health care services to one of the largest and most diverse service populations in IHS. RADM Meeks was ultimately promoted to the IHS Deputy Director of Field Operations in 2017, where he directed 12 IHS Area Offices and became a crucial leader in providing quality health care to 2.2 million American Indians/Alaska Natives. RADM Meeks has been awarded the Surgeon General’s Medallion by United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams in 2018 and in 2019, he received the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal.

Ron Parker (1935-)

Ron Parker is a previous judge, statesman, businessman and civil servant for the Chickasaw people. His 26-year career with the Chickasaw Nation has been marked by compassion and dedication to helping Chickasaws.

Parker, born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He attended the University of Oklahoma, and spent his early career in Texas and Oklahoma in the apparel business. He returned to Ardmore in 1984.

In 1991, he found his calling with the Chickasaw Nation, first being elected as a Chickasaw Nation judge, and then a tribal legislator in 1992. Reelected to the legislature in 1995, Parker served until 1997.

In 1997, Parker began serving as the general manager of Touso Ishto Gaming Center in Thackerville, Oklahoma, the predecessor to WinStar World Casino & Resort. He became a community advocate for the Ardmore area and later served as area director. During this time, he dedicated himself to assisting Chickasaws obtain benefits and services, day or night.

Parker was a leader in starting the Chickasaw Nation Reentry Program, a service designed to assist previously incarcerated Chickasaws in obtaining skills and employment to successfully transition back into the community. He faithfully led this program from 2007 to 2017.

In 2011, Parker was an AARP Indian Elder Honor Award recipient. He has actively contributed to community organizations and boards in the Ardmore area, including C/Sara Foundation, The Grace Center, Boys and Girls Club of Wilson, American Red Cross, Destiny Recover Center and the Chickasaw Nation Juvenile Justice Board.

About the 2022 Chickasaw Hall of Fame

The 2022 Chickasaw Hall of Fame inductees are Chickasaw citizens Mary Ruth Barnes, Rev. Jonas L. Imotichey, Jefferson E. Keel and Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate.

To learn more about the Chickasaw Hall of Fame inductees and ceremony, visit HOF.Chickasaw.net.

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