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Press Release

Release Date: June 04, 2006

by Tony Choate



A former concert vocalist, a former state legislator, an author, and the current director of Boy’s state will be inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame 6:30 p.m. Friday, August 11 at the Pontotoc County Agri-Plex and convention center in Ada. U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, a member of the Chickasaw Hall of Fame, will serve as master of ceremonies for the event. Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby will participate in the induction ceremonies.

Mary Stone McClendon, better known as Ataloa, who died in 1967, and Charles David Carter, who died in 1929, will be inducted posthumously. Family members will accept the awards.

James E. Amerson, and Catherine Pickens Wilmond are scheduled to be present when they are inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame.

Ataloa, a cousin of Te Ata fisher, was a nationally renowned concert vocalist, educator, and advocate for Native American education and fine arts.

Her education included studies at Columbia University, the International Institute of John D. Rockefeller, Oklahoma College for Women, University of Redlands among other institutes.

In 1933, she performed for Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House.

As a performer, Ataloa received accolades for her poise, culture, personality and rich contralto voice. Those who witnessed performances said she had the ability to help people understand the Indian heart through her program of Indian songs, legends and ceremonials.

She abandoned her career as a performer, however, to take apposition as a teacher at Bacone College.

Following her career at Bacone, Ataloa taught at the prestigious Idyllwild School of Music and Arts from 1950 to 1963.

Mr. Carter was one of the first elected to represent Oklahoma in the U.S. Congress. He represented southern Oklahoma in that body from 1906 to 1927.

After his service in Congress, he served from 1927 to 1929 as a member of the State Highway Commission. Born near Boggy Depot in 1868, Mr. Carter became auditor of public accounts for the Chickasaw nation in 1892. He served as a member of the Chickasaw Council in 1895 and as Superintendent of Chickasaw nation schools in 1897. Later in 1897 President William McKinley appointed Mr. Carter as mining trustee of Indian Territory, a position he held for four years.

Mr. Amerson serves as director of Oklahoma Boy’s State, a program designed to teach citizenship. He served as assistant director of that organization for seven years prior to his appointment as director.

A self-employed engineer, he has also had an outstanding career as a coach and in service to the American Legion.
In 1998 he was the first Native American to be elected Commander of the State American Legion. He presently serves as the American Legion national representative for Oklahoma on foreign affairs.

Amerson served as a combat tank commander in the famed 45th Infantry Division, 179th Heavy Tank Company in Korea.

Mrs. Wilmond is co-author of Chickasaw: An Analytical Dictionary, published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1994.

This analytical dictionary is one of the resources used in language classes taught by the Chickasaw Nation. Mrs. Wilmond worked with linguistics professor Pamela Munro to record the language from more than 40 Chickasaw speakers to complete the dictionary.

Mrs. Wilmond has also helped teach linguistics classes at the University of California, Los Angeles. She also makes guest appearances in Native American studies classes at UCLA. She has als addressed audiences at Pomona College and new Mexico University.

Recently, Mrs. Wilmond and Munro completed a teaching grammar of the Chickasaw language which has been accepted for publication by the University of Oklahoma Press.

There is no chare to attend, but reservations are required for the event, which is expected to accommodate approximately 500 guests.

Reservations are being accepted. Reservations must be made by July 28.

For more information, or to make reservations, contact:
Leta Burwell
520 East Arlington
P.O Box 1548
Ada, OK 74821
Phone: (580) 436-7259
Fax: (580) 436-7297
Email: leta.burwell@chickasaw.net