Chickasaw Delegate Colbert Ashalatubbi Burris (Portrait by Dylan Cavin)
Indian Country Today
Today, the Chickasaw Nation counts an astronaut (John B. Herrington), a U.S. Congressman (Tom Cole), the outgoing NCAI President (Jefferson Keel) and an award-winning composer (Jerod Tate) among its notable members. To honor prominent Chickasaws, the Nation established the Hall of Fame in 1987. Herrington and Cole are members, and Keel and Tate are likely to find a place in the Hall someday. The famous Chickasaws are an accomplished lot, but even so, nobody among them quite has quite the visual presence of Colbert Ashalatubbi Burris whose mustachioed visage you see above and below. For the story behind the man behind the mustache, check the biography of Burris at the Hall of Fame website which reads, in part:
He became an elected delegate to the Five Civilized Tribes in 1861 and acted as chief negotiator with the United States during the Treaty of 1866. He served the Chickasaw Nation on the Supreme Court and was elected District Judge of Tishomingo County in 1894. During his career he was also appointed as a Chickasaw Nation delegate to Washington. Colbert played a key role in history by interpreting for the Dawes Commission at the enrollment of the Chickasaws. As an ordained minister he gave the invocation at the historic laying of the granite cornerstone of the Chickasaw Capitol Building in Tishomingo, Oklahoma.
It was an adolescent love of comic books that drew Choctaw artist Dylan Cavin to his profession. Today, he's a multifaceted talent who paints, draws, creates digital art and even designs tattoos. Browse his site, TheArtOfDylanCavin.com, and you'll get the picture of a young man whose unmistakably modern imagery answers the call of the past. In among the paintings of Natives (of all tribes) in traditional dress is Dylan's own version of the historical portrait of Burris, which he has titled "The Chickasaw Delegate." When a visitor to the site asked whether Cavin is related to Burris, the artist answered "I am not, I fell in love with the portrait and history so I decided to do the piece." ICTMN salutes Burris, and Cavin, with this remarkable drawing, done in ink on ledger paper, in the spirit of Native American Heritage Month.