Charles William Blackwell
1942 - 2013
Charles William Blackwell was born July 30, 1942, in El Reno, Okla. to Hubert and Kitty Blackwell. He was raised in Tishomingo, Okla., near the Blue River, and lived in other small towns throughout southeastern Oklahoma.
Mr. Blackwell spent his summers as a young man with his grandparents who were Bureau of Indian Affairs educators on the North Plains and in New Mexico. He was conversationally fluent in Chickasaw, Choctaw and Lakota, and had a strong affinity for New Mexico Pueblo communities and Oklahoma Indian Country tribal customs and traditions.
Mr. Blackwell received his Bachelor of Arts in 1964 from East Central State College in Ada, Okla. He was the founding president of the Epsilon Omega chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and the editor of the campus newspaper.
In 1972, Mr. Blackwell received his law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law. He held a position as a staff attorney for the American Indian Law Center from 1972 to 1974. He then served as the Associate Director of the Special Scholarship Program in-law for American Indians from 1974 to 1977. Mr. Blackwell became assistant dean and adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law at the same time.
Mr. Blackwell founded the First American Business Center promoting Native American economic development and entrepreneurship. In 1995, he was appointed as the first Ambassador of the Chickasaw Nation to the United States, an office he held until his passing in 2013.
Mr. Blackwell also served within the Western Governor’s States Drought Coordination Council and was appointed by President Clinton to the presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS. In 2007, he was awarded the Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency.
Ambassador Charles William Blackwell passed away Jan. 2, 2013, in Rockville, Md. He had two sons, Geoffrey and Jonathan, and three granddaughters.