Chickasaw artist Carolyn Sue Fish was born Aug. 14, 1957, to Colson Miller (Choctaw) and Kelsie (Alexander) Morris (Chickasaw). She spent her childhood on her Chickasaw grandfather’s farm in Kullihoma near Ada, Oklahoma.
She earned her associate degree from East Central University and began 10 years of service to the Chickasaw Nation, serving as special assistant to Governor Bill Anoatubby. In 1989, Fish and her family moved to Norman, Oklahoma, where she served as managerial associate for the University of Oklahoma’s American Indian Institute for 17 years. She currently is the administrative manager for the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Her passion for basketmaking began 30 years ago. She learned the skill from her cousin, the late Betty Dodd, during a Chickasaw Nation art class that was offered in the late 1980s. Since that time, she has continued to hone her craft and share the gift of basket making through classes at schools, universities, museums and various events. She also assists other tribes in basket preservation.
Fish serves as vice president of the Oklahoma Native American Basket Weaver’s Association and is a member of the Oklahoma Basketweavers Guild. Her art pieces are on display at the Chickasaw Cultural Center and the Artesian Art Gallery in Sulphur, Oklahoma and Chickasaw Nation Homeland Affairs in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Baskets made by Fish are also included in the “Chickasaw Renaissance” book, authored by Phillip Carroll Morgan and featured in the film “First Encounter,” part of the Chickasaw Heritage Series.
In 2016, Fish received the prestigious Chickasaw Nation Silver Feather Award for preserving and revitalizing Chickasaw basketry and her contributions to Chickasaw culture.
Fish has been involved with the Indian Falls Creek Baptist Assembly board of directors planning family church camps in Davis, Oklahoma for more than 25 years. She is also a proud member of Cornerstone Indian Baptist Church in the Little Axe community in Norman, Oklahoma, alongside Willie Fish, her husband of 46 years. They are proud parents of four children and five grandchildren.