Kevin Washburn Among This Year’s Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame Inductees

Kevin Washburn and four others will be inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame for their dedication to the tribe and Indian country.
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The Chickasaw Nation has announced that five people will be inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame on June 1 in Norman, Oklahoma.

One of the honorees will be Kevin Washburn, a scholar of federal Indian law who was Assistant Interior Secretary for Indian Affairs in the Obama administration. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Oklahoma and a J.D. from Yale, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal on Regulation.

He is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Albuquerque and he served as general counsel for the National Indian Gaming Commission from 2000 to 2002.

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Washburn has taught in law schools at the University of Minnesota and the University of Arizona. In the 2007-2008 academic year, he was the Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He currently teaches at the University of New Mexico, where he previously served as Dean of the Law School.

Franklin Keel, a graduate of the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts and the Oklahoma City University Law School, became the first American Indian commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer. His work with the State Department took him to Greece, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia, and the United Kingdom. He was the sole U.S. representative at meetings concerning Indigenous Peoples in Russia, Turkey, Canada and Mexico.

He went on to a career in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, rising to Director of the Eastern Region. He received the Department of the Interior Outstanding Service Award for his leadership in bringing aid to tribes affected by Hurricane Katrina. He retired from the BIA in 2014.

Mari Jo Thomas Green was born in 1934 near Fitzhugh on her mother’s allotment in the Chickasaw Nation. She attended East Central University in Ada before going to work for the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) serving the Chickasaw Nation.

She helped establish the first Chickasaw Senior Citizen’s Nutrition Program. She won numerous awards at the state, federal, and tribal levels of government for her work on behalf of elders.

After serving the Chickasaw Nation as an employee for 21 years, she was elected to the Chickasaw Nation Legislature, where she served six terms.

The last two people on the list will be honored posthumously. U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Raymond Harvey was the only Chickasaw to be awarded the Medal of Honor and one of three American Indians to be so honored in the Korean War. He was recognized for heroism at the Inchon landing. After retirement from the Army, he served as Director of Indian Affairs for Arizona State Emergency Services.

He served as technical advisor for three films: Fixed Bayonets (1951, based on his service in Korea), Cease Fire (1953) and Verboten (1959). Col. Harvey walked on in 1996 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The other posthumous inductee is Holmes Tuttle, a major political activist in the Republican Party, having campaigned for presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. He also supported Barry Goldwater in 1964. Tuttle was selected as a delegate to every Republican National Convention from 1960 to 1984.

While Tuttle never attended college or held public office, he received an honorary doctorate from Pepperdine University and he was a founder of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California.

Tuttle went to work for Ford Motor Company in Oklahoma City at age 17. He hopped a freight train to Los Angeles at the age of 23 and went to work for Ford there. He made his fortune as a car dealer, opening the first of what would become 14 dealerships spread across California and Arizona in 1945.

The Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame was organized in 1987 to honor Chickasaws who have made significant contributions to Chickasaw people or the Native American community. The 2017 induction ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. CDT at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Norman Hotel and Conference Center on June 1. The ceremony will be live streamed online.