The National Native American Hall of Fame held its second annual Induction Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Cherokee Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Master of Ceremony was noted multi-disciplinary artist Randy Kemp (Choctaw/Muscogee Creek/Euchee). The Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society presented the colors. The Anque Family (Kiowa) was the drum group.
Award presenters included Walter Lamar (Blackfeet/Wichita), National Native American Hall of Fame Board of Directors; Hester Dillon (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), program officer for Indigenous communities, Novo Foundation; James Pepper Henry (Kaw/Muscogee Creek), director and CEO, American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, Oklahoma City; Ayla Medrano (Kiowa/Comanche/Muscogee Creek), executive director, American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma; Joyce Oberly (Comanche/Osage/Chippewa), commander, Public Health Corps; and Bailey Walker (Chickasaw), president, American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma.
The mission of the National Native American Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor the inspirational achievements of Native Americans in contemporary history. Twelve individuals were recognized this year for their accomplishments and what they have meant to Indigenous peoples across the globe.
The 12 Inductees are Forrest Gerard (d. 2013), Blackfeet; Lucy Covington (d. 1982), Colville; Ada Deer, Menominee; Louise Erdrich, Turtle Mountain Chippewa; Billy Frank Jr. (d. 2014), Nisqually; Hattie Kauffman, Nez Perce; Oren Lyons, Onondaga; Richard Oakes (d. 1972), Mohawk; Elizabeth Peratrovich (d. 1958), Tlingit; Pascal Poolaw (d. 1967), Kiowa; Mary Golda Ross (d. 2008), Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; and Wes Studi, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
“Our Class of 2019 Inductees includes a number of names that are familiar to many - some of them have gone on to the other side, and we honor their memory tonight,” said Walter Lamar (Blackfeet/Wichita), National Native American Hall of Fame board of directors. “We have included some who may not be so familiar but should be better known for their heroic accomplishments.”
“Living or deceased, well known or not so well known, all of our Inductees this year absolutely deserve to have their names and stories etched into our collective memory,” said Lamar. “Our stories are many; our stories are strong; our stories are of resilience; our stories are heroic; our stories are of persistence; our stories need to be told, and that we will do.”
“The Indian Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, in particular, gave our nation many iconic Native rights leaders and activists, but Native activism really goes back much farther than those decades - and we have recognized that activism tonight,” said James Parker Shield (Little Shell Chippewa), National Native American Hall of Fame founder and CEO. “Our 2019 Inductees have all achieved greatness and bring honor to their nations and communities.”