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Press Release

Release Date: May 18, 2017

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • The 2016 Dynamic Women of the year, Shelby Rowe, was keynote speaker at the 2017 Dynamic Women of the Chickasaw Nation Conference at Artesian Hotel & Spa in Sulphur, Oklahoma.

  • Brenda Kingery

  • Kristina Kirtley

  • Katie Callaway

SULPHUR, Okla. – Chickasaw women from across the nation learned the “Chickasaw experience” is a powerful tool in their quiver as they embark upon careers, tackle life and soar to reach personal goals.

A panel discussion was conducted on the topic at the 2017 Dynamic Women of the Chickasaw Nation Conference at the Artesian Hotel & Spa.

The panel included Chickasaw artist Brenda Kingery; Kristina Kirtley, education department producer for WNET (PBS station for the greater New York City area) and Katie Callaway, former Oklahoma City Thunder Girls entertainer and CrossFit competitor.

“Don’t let failure define you,” Callaway told conference attendees, “even if you’re not quite sure where your passion lies yet. Whatever you do, as long as you’re giving it your best effort (that) is what matters. And, welcome those feelings of discomfort. Discomfort is where you will find (personal) growth,” she added.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Celebrating the Past to Empower Future Generations.” Panelists also shared personal stories and brief moments when they realized life is what you make it.

“Growing up, I thought you had to pick something; like you had to be a teacher, a doctor or a lawyer, like that was what was going to define my life,” Kirtley said. “Somewhere along the way, I realized that’s just not really the way it works. I can be a lot of different things and I don’t have to pick just one. I realized I could be a writer, a film producer, a mother, a wife and all these things are a part of the complexity of my identity.”

The two-day conference was attended by Chickasaw women from across the country. Attendees learned valuable lessons on topics as diverse as being creative on a shoestring budget to improving literacy for Native children.

Established in 2006 by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, the conference has grown from an evening forum to a two day conference that recognizes the strength and leadership of Chickasaw women from all walks of life and salutes their valuable contributions, talents and skills.

The inspiring event was led by Mistress of Ceremonies Lisa Billy.

Mrs. Billy served 12 years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. She was the first Native American, as well as first woman to be elected in district 42, where she helped create the first Oklahoma Native American Caucus. Mrs. Billy was honored as the Chickasaw Nation Dynamic Woman of the Year in 2007, and two years later was inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame. Mrs. Billy is also a former educator in the Department of Continuing Education at University of Oklahoma.

The 2016 Chickasaw Nation Dynamic Woman of the Year, Shelby R. Rowe, was keynote speaker at this year’s event. Rowe is manager of Education and Prevention Programs for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She has been a leader in suicide prevention since 2007 and has more than 20 years of experience in the public health system. Ms. Rowe played a major role in the Arkansas State Plan for Suicide Prevention by expanding the statewide crisis hotline.

In conjunction with the conference, an art show showcasing the creations of Chickasaw Woman was featured at the ARTesian Gallery & Studios.

For more information, visit

Accepting nominations for 2018 Dynamic Woman of the Year

The Chickasaw Nation is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Dynamic Woman of the Year Award. All nominations and supporting documentation must be turned in to the Chickasaw Nation Arts & Humanities Division by July 7, 2017.

Chickasaw women, ages 35 and older, with proof of citizenship through Chickasaw Nation Citizenship documentation or Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB), are eligible.

For a nomination form or more information, visit or contact the Chickasaw Nation Arts & Humanities Division at (580) 272-5520.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016