Orvena “Twiggy” Gregory, second chief of the Sac and Fox Nation.

Second Chief Orvena Gregory: NMAI’s Meet Native America Series

Dennis Zotighn

In the interview series Meet Native America, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian invites tribal leaders, cultural figures, and other interesting and accomplished Native individuals to introduce themselves and say a little about their lives and work. Together, their responses illustrate the diversity of the indigenous communities of the Western Hemisphere, as well as their shared concerns, and offer insights beyond what’s in the news to the ideas and experiences of Native peoples today.

Please introduce yourself with your name and title.

Orvena “Twiggy” Gregory, second chief of the Sac and Fox Nation.

Can you give us your Native name and its English translation?

My Sauk name is Kyokamekwa, pronounced kee-o-kum-mekwa and translated as “on a specific path.” Most tribal members know me by my nickname, Twiggy. When I was a baby, my grandma Bell on my Pawnee side called me twigs takoo. Takoo is the Pawnee word for prairie chicken. Grandma Bell said I reminded her of a skinny chicken. During the primary elections when I ran for second chief, many people didn’t know me as Orvena Gregory. An elder suggested that I put Twiggy on the ballot for the general election; I did and received the most votes in the history of our election.

Where is your nation located?

The jurisdiction of the Sac and Fox Nation is located within three counties in Oklahoma—Payne, Lincoln, and Pottawatomie. The headquarters are located approximately five miles south of Stroud, Oklahoma.

Where was your nation originally from?

The Sac and Fox are Algonquin and are a Woodland tribe who originally came from the western Great Lakes region.


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