Thoughts on the Passing of Chickasaw Nation Ambassador Charles Blackwell

BlackwellCharlesThere have been just too many passing’s of late in Indian Country. I am reminded of how I felt when Vine Deloria and Wilma Mankiller walked on.  Who will take up the mantle for these Native elders that served our communities and the nation so well?

 I was recently saddened to learn of Senator Inouye’s death before Christmas. While I never met the Senator, as a scholar in the field of American Indian Studies, his legacy was enormous on the field and for Indian Country as a whole.

 Today, I learned of a Chickasaw elder that passed, Ambassador Charles Blackwell. In 1995, he founded Pushmataha House, named for the Choctaw chief who died on a diplomatic mission to Washington in 1824. A tireless public servant, the Ambassador served as the only Native American Tribal Ambassador, where oversaw the Chickasaw Nation’s diplomatic efforts in Washington DC.

 Unlike Senator Inouye, whom I did not know, or Vine Deloria and Wilma Mankiller, both of whom I only met once, Ambassador Blackwell was someone I knew.  While he had a huge legacy of public service to Indian Country, I was saddened because I knew him and I know the family that is dealing with the grief now.

Chihoowahma

Ilbashasha alhiba’ hooaashka  ishibaahikki’ya’shki

Chokka-chaffa’ ishpisaka hottopaka ishapila’shki

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