Five receive highest honor of Chickasaw Nation

Release Date: April 20, 2023

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

ADA, Okla. – Five Chickasaws will be inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame April 20 for their selfless leadership, civic endeavors and unparalleled accomplishments.

Official ceremonies will be at the historic McSwain Theatre in downtown Ada, Oklahoma.

With limited seating capacity, the affair will be livestreamed so thousands may partake in the festivities virtually.

Livestreaming begins at 6 p.m. on HOF.Chickasaw.net and The Chickasaw Nation Facebook page.

Induction into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon citizens of the Chickasaw Nation.

Four of five inductees will be cited personally by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. One will be honored posthumously.

Chickasaw Hall of Fame inductees include longtime Chickasaw legislator Linda Briggs; First American author, advocate and professor Amanda Cobb-Greetham; Oklahoma civic giant Carl Edwards; and master basket weaver and cultural icon Sue Fish.

Benjamin (Ben) Horace Colbert, a Rough Rider in the Spanish-American War and Chickasaw tribal servant leader under Governor Douglas Johnston, will be honored posthumously.

“Each of these accomplished individuals utilized their unique talents to enrich our society and make positive contributions to the Chickasaw Nation and the world in which we live,” Governor Anoatubby said. “These deserving individuals will be honored for outstanding contributions to society and service to the Chickasaw people and their communities through academia, artistic works, philanthropy, and military and public service.”

Linda Briggs

1932-

Linda Briggs was born June 1, 1932, to Fred and Emma Dean in Love County, Oklahoma, at the home of her grandmother Minnie Keel Liddell, who was full-blood Chickasaw. Her family later moved to East Texas, where she graduated from Gladewater High School in Gladewater, Texas. After high school, she attended North Texas University, Tulsa University and Bish Mathis Institute.

She married Bill Briggs and together they have two children, Teresa and Marc Briggs. Briggs was widowed at the age of 49 and later moved from Dallas to Marietta. While living in Marietta, she started a home remodeling and renovation business.

Briggs served as mayor of Marietta, where she invested in the future of her community and the progress of local health care. In collaboration with Chickasaw Nation leadership, she assisted in the development of an acclaimed Critical Access Hospital and an emergency medical system that supports coverage for 522 square miles.

Briggs is known for having a tremendous business acumen. She understands the need to expand services and develop subsidiary businesses that would add additional revenues. Briggs, along with Chickasaw Nation leadership, worked together to implement business plans that enabled the tribe to expand into more successful business endeavors. The revenue generated growth and development for programs and services that benefit the Chickasaw people and other First Americans.

She served on the Chickasaw Nation Legislature for more than 27 years, from 1994-2000 and 2001-2022. During her time on the legislature, she fulfilled four terms as chair and five terms as secretary. Briggs was instrumental in the formation of the Tribal Utility Authority which supports tribal facilities and is a multimillion-dollar operation.

Briggs has served in many other community roles including Marietta city treasurer, Marietta city council member, Marietta board of education member and on numerous Chickasaw Nation boards. She was also an alternative member with the National Congress of American Indians for 10 years.

Amanda Cobb-Greetham, Ph.D.

1970-

Amanda Cobb-Greetham is an award-winning Chickasaw author and professor who contributes toward the advancement of First American history, culture and academics.

She currently serves the University of Oklahoma (OU) as a professor in the Department of Native American Studies. At OU, her leadership as chair contributed to the elevation of Native American Studies from a program to a department and the establishment of the recently endowed Native Nations Center for research and community engagement.

Cobb-Greetham is at work on “Bright, Golden Haze: Oklahoma/Indian Identity in Myth and Memory” for which she received the 2021-2022 Beatrice Shepherd Blane Fellowship at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She has received significant recognition for her previous scholarship, winning the American Book Award for “Listening to Our Grandmothers’ Stories: The Bloomfield Academy for Chickasaw Females.” In addition, she is the co-editor of “The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations” with Amy Lonetree. She has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and served as the editor of American Indian Quarterly, a leading journal of Native American studies, for nine years.

From 2007 to 2012, she served her tribe as the Chickasaw Nation Administrator of the Division of History and Culture. During her tenure, she was instrumental in launching the state-of-the-art Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma, and directed the museums, archives, language programs, as well as the Chickasaw Press. In 2018, she received the Chickasaw Nation’s prestigious Dynamic Woman of the Year Award.

She serves on the board of governors for the Harvard Honoring Nations project. She served on the board of trustees of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian for six years (vice chair 2019-2021). She is the founding president of The Auntie Project, Native Women of Service, a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization.

Benjamin (Ben) Horace Colbert

1873-1960

Benjamin Colbert was born March 24, 1873, to James Allen Colbert and Athenius Madeline Folsom Colbert at Colbert Station, Indian Territory. He was a descendant of Chickasaw leaders, a friend of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and served during Chickasaw Nation Governor Douglas H. Johnston’s administration. Colbert served his country in three wars, two in uniform and one repairing airplanes.

He attended Chickasaw and Choctaw schools and later went to college at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, for a year. While a student at Baylor, he was a member of the boxing team and a sprinter on the track team

Colbert met President Roosevelt in San Antonio, Texas, May 23, 1898. After an interview with the future president, he enlisted in the First United States Volunteer Cavalry. He became a member of the Rough Riders and soon set sail for Cuba, landing in Daiquirí. He maintained a diary throughout his military service which is now housed at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Colbert fought in every battle during the Spanish and American War: Las Guasimas, San Juan Hill (distinguished services) and Santiago. He was also assigned as secretary to Col. Roosevelt.

After the war, Colbert served as secretary to Governor Douglas H. Johnston of the Chickasaw Nation. He was later appointed a member of Governor Johnston’s cabinet and national agent for the Chickasaws. He also fulfilled the role of clerk pro tempore of the Chickasaw Senate in 1899.

In 1902, President Roosevelt selected Colbert as the United States Marshal of the Southern District Indian Territory, making him the youngest marshal ever appointed. After his term as marshal, he returned to Tishomingo, Oklahoma, and later rejoined the military during World War I. He enlisted in machine gun officers training school, where he taught as an instructor.

He was also in a secretary role for State Rep. Ulysses S. Stone from 1928-1938 and lived in Maryland. He later returned to Oklahoma and was employed by Spartan Aeronautics repairing planes used during World War II.

Carl Edwards

1948-

Carl Edwards was born July 8, 1948, to Gene and Elaine Edwards in Amarillo, Texas, and is a descendant of famed Chickasaw rancher, Montford T. Johnson. He graduated from Amarillo High School and entered the U.S. Naval Reserves as a student at the University of Oklahoma.

He graduated from Naval Officer Candidate School with a commission in Naval Reserves in 1970. That same year, he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Oklahoma. He later received his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.

In 1979, Edwards formed Price Edwards Henderson & Co., now known as Price Edwards & Co., the largest Oklahoma-based commercial real estate service company. He is also a manager of PEC Investment Properties LLC, an affiliate of Price Edwards & Co.

Edwards was elected as OKCityan of the Year in 2011 and was named king of the Beaux Arts Society. He was awarded the Dean A. McGee Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to downtown Oklahoma City in 2013, and in 2017 was awarded Man of the Year by the Commercial Real Estate Council.

He has served in numerous roles in business and civic organizations, including president and chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, chairman of the board of trustees of the Presbyterian Health Foundation, chairman of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, chairman of The United Way of Metro Oklahoma, chairman of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area Public Schools Trust (MAPS for Kids Trust) and more.

Carl and his wife Susan take great pride in their daughters, Megan Bauml and Paige Frenzel, and their four wonderful grandchildren.

Sue Fish

1957-

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.

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