Rev. Jonas L. Imotichey
1904 - 1972
Rev. Jonas Imotichey, born Feb. 27, 1904, was an original enrollee of the Chickasaw Nation. He attended primary school in Fillmore and later Chilocco Indian School, where he learned English.
Rev. Imotichey and his wife, Josie, were married for 43 years, and they had seven children. He was a hardworking individual with many skills and trades, including farming, woodworking and traditional bow making. Rev. Imotichey also assisted Chickasaw families, who did not have land allotments, by generously donating land so they could apply for federal tribal housing grants. He also routinely assisted his neighbors by providing land for their livestock, farming and storing equipment.
Rev. Imotichey served as a minister at the Sandy Creek Presbyterian Church where he preached sermons in Chickasaw. He was one of the last First Americans to be ordained by what was then known as the Indian Presbytery before they were required to attend seminary, during a time when civil rights issues gripped the United States. Rev. Imotichey was a part of the historic gatherings at Seeley Chapel marking the dawn of a new and progressive era for the Chickasaw Nation. He, along with other Chickasaw ministers and leaders, worked tirelessly to regain the right to self-determination, which later became the Indian Self-Determination Act in 1975.
Rev. Imotichey was selected by Governor Overton James to serve on his advisory council prior to his governorship appointment by President John F. Kennedy. He also represented the Chickasaw people on the Chickasaw Advisory Council from 1960 until his death in 1972, including serving several years as vice chairman. In 1968, Rev. Imotichey was appointed as an original member of the board of commissioners for the Chickasaw Nation Housing Authority. He served as an instrumental leader and voice of the community throughout his life and is distinguished for his dedication to the Chickasaw Nation, its people and their culture.