Original Chickasaw enrollee celebrates her 105th birthday
OKLAHOMA CITY - Chickasaw original enrollee Daisy Blackbird celebrated her 105th birthday Jan. 18 in Oklahoma City.
''Most people say when you get old you have to give things up,'' Blackbird said. ''I think you get old because you give things up.
''Cherish all your happy moments,'' she added. ''They make a fine cushion for old age.''
Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby was among the guests at a birthday party for Blackbird.
''It is a privilege to be among those honoring Daisy today,'' Anoatubby said. ''We treasure Daisy, and all of our elders.''
In 2001, Anoatubby presented Blackbird with a specially designed medal honoring her as an original enrollee on the Dawes Commission Rolls.
Blackbird was born Jan. 18, 1903, in Tupelo, Indian Territory, to Arthur E. and Elizabeth Hawley. She was enrolled as a Chickasaw citizen in 1905.
She is the widow of Oklahoma Chief Justice W. H. Blackbird.
After spending her early years on the farm, Blackbird became a career woman at a time when that was quite unusual.
She taught school in Coalgate and Tupelo after graduating from Tupelo High School and Pittsburgh Teachers' College in Kansas.
Blackbird later took a job as a clerk for the Oklahoma Supreme Court, where she met Justice William H. Blackbird. The two were later married.
Somewhat ironically, her parents came together as a result of the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889.
Blackbird's grandfather, Edwin Hawley, made the land run and settled near Britton, Indian Territory. Later, he moved to a farm near Byrd's Prairie, Indian Territory, where Edwin's son Arthur worked for William Colley. That is where he met and later married Elizabeth Colley, who became mother to Blackbird.
''Daisy's life is symbolic of how American Indians and pioneers have united families, married cultures and joined together to create a truly unique heritage in the state of Oklahoma,'' Anoatubby said.
The Dawes Commission was created to dissolve tribal governments and divide tribal land among individual members of the Five Civilized Tribes. The Dawes Commission failed in the task of dissolving tribal governments.
All those tribal governments are in operation today, and the Dawes Commission Rolls still serve as the basis for tribal citizenship. To be eligible for a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood and citizenship in one of these tribes, an individual must establish that they are a lineal descendant of an original enrollee.
According to Dawes Commission records, 5,914 individuals were enrolled as Chickasaw citizens by blood. This included 578 newborns and 324 minors.
Virtually all of these individuals were enrolled between June 28, 1898, and March 5, 1907.