Commitment to Education Connects Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame Inductees
From the Chickasaw Nation Ambassador who helped hundreds of Native Americans gain acceptance into law school to a former attorney turned tutor, education was a common thread connecting five Chickasaws inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies were May 1 at Riverwind Showplace Theater in Norman, Oklahoma.
The 2014 Chickasaw Hall of Fame inductees include the late Chickasaw Ambassador Charles W. Blackwell, Irene L. Digby, Marvin E. Mitchell, Dr. James Wilburn Hampton and Silas C. Wolf, Jr. Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said each of the inductees has had an impact on many, many lives.
“Each of our inductees, past and present, serve as an inspiration to us all,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “They remind us that with hard work, determination and perseverance, anything is possible. They also prove that a single person can do extraordinary things.”
Ambassador Charles William Blackwell served as the first ambassador to the United States of America from any Native American tribal government. “Charles Blackwell served as a champion for our tribe. He embodied the best qualities of a diplomat in serving as our first ambassador to the United States,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “He gave our people a voice in one of the highest levels of government. In addition to serving his own tribe, he was an advocate for all Native Americans. He left a legacy of strong support for Native American economic development and education.”
In 1972, Mr. Blackwell earned a law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law. A few years later, Mr. Blackwell was simultaneously appointed assistant dean and adjunct professor at that same university. In these positions, he helped open doors and remove obstacles for more than 700 Native Americans and Alaska Natives to help them gain entrance into law schools across the United States. A man who labored his entire life to improve the overall quality of life for all Native American people, Ambassador Blackwell helped shape students in business, law, economics and Indian affairs. He also helped shape federal policy toward tribes and Native Americans through testimony before the U.S. Congress and by using the art of persuasion. He served as ambassador from 1995 until his death in 2013.
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