Towana Spivey is the descendent of several generations of Chickasaws who came to Indian Territory in 1837 from northern Mississippi. He was born in Madill, Oklahoma, and still owns the original 140-acre Chickasaw allotment of his grandparents, Henry “Buck” Russell and Gladys Rogers.
Mr. Spivey graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in history and natural science. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in anthropology/archeology and museum studies.
While conducting archaeological investigations at 19th century military posts and prehistoric and historic sites, Mr. Spivey worked simultaneously as curator for the Chickasaw White House, conducting research to restore the home to its original form. Mr. Spivey was also a consultant on the preservation of the original 1855 Chickasaw Nation Council House.
Since 1982, Mr. Spivey has held the position of director/curator at the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum in Lawton, Oklahoma. He was curator for the U.S. Army Museum System and was involved in the planning of the new Field Artillery Museum at Fort Sill. He was instrumental in development of the National Historic Landmark and Museum. He is now retired and resides in Duncan, Oklahoma.
Mr. Spivey has served on numerous boards and advisory committees for such organizations as the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey, Governor’s Review Committee for the Oklahoma State Preservation, Oklahoma Museum’s Association and Southwest Oklahoma Historical Society.
Mr. Spivey has authored several books and articles pertaining to frontier history and has served as a primary consultant or been featured in at least 35 television documentaries. He has also worked as a historical consultant to movie productions, playing an intricate role in the development of characters and historical accuracy in the making of the movies “Windtalkers” and “Dances with Wolves.”
Throughout his life and career, Mr. Spivey has been regularly involved in preserving the history, language and material culture of many Oklahoma tribes including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Comanche, Kiowa, Chiricahua, Apache and the Warm Springs Apache.