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Press Release

Release Date: May 27, 2020
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

ADA, Okla. – Two Chickasaw Press publications recently received recognition at the state and national level. Graphic novel “Chickasaw Adventures: The Complete Collection” was honored by two national organizations of independent publishers. “Protecting Our People,” written by Michelle Cooke, received a statewide award for its design and national recognition as historical fiction.

“It is a great honor to be recognized in the book industry for all the hard work of the authors, illustrators and designers who are part of the Chickasaw Press family,” said Wiley Barnes, director of the Chickasaw Press. “We pride ourselves on providing exceptional works and thank Governor Bill Anoatubby for his continued support in our ongoing effort to share Chickasaw history and culture.”

Oklahoma Book Awards

“Protecting Our People” was named a finalist in the Oklahoma Book Awards design category. Gentry Fisher designed the book and Corey Fetters created the cover. Both Fetters and Fisher are previous Oklahoma Book Award finalists for their design work with Chickasaw Press.

This year’s competition involved 134 entries. The annual awards program honors books about the state and books written, illustrated and designed by Oklahomans during the previous year.

In its write up for “Protecting Our People,” the Oklahoma Book Awards compliments the “serious yet welcoming feel” of its design. Specific kudos mention the velvet laminated, tactile dust jacket with its vintage photograph cover as well as the uncluttered and consistent layout throughout.

With the book, author Cooke provides a detailed look at Indian Territory law enforcement in the Chickasaw Nation through carefully compiled biographies, service records and vintage photos. It is a detailed account of the Chickasaw lawmen who served as Lighthorse officers, sheriffs, constables, U.S. Indian Police and U.S. marshals. She also chronicles the reestablishment of the Chickasaw Nation’s Lighthorse Police as a cutting-edge law enforcement department.

IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program named “Chickasaw Adventures: The Complete Collection” as the gold finalist in its graphic novel category.

This award program includes 56 categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design, and is regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers.

The awards are administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), with help from more than 160 book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers and editors.

The award-winning graphic novel from the Chickasaw Press features artwork by the late Marvel and DC Comics veteran Tom Lyle. As readers follow its main character Johnny on his journey through essential scenes of American Indian history and culture, they also encounter words and names in the Chickasaw language, which are defined in the glossary included at the end. This collection combines seven published “Chickasaw Adventures” comic books with five previously unreleased issues to create a unique, epic graphic novel that brings the history and culture of the Chickasaw people to life.

Independent Publisher Book Awards

According to the Independent Publisher website, the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) are designed to bring increased recognition to deserving titles published by independent authors and publishers.

The Chickasaw Press works selected for this honor include “Chickasaw Adventures: The Complete Collection” in the graphic novel category and “Protecting Our People: Chickasaw Law Enforcement in Indian Territory” in the category of best non-fiction in Midwest region.

About the Chickasaw Press

Chickasaw Press is an independent publishing house of the Chickasaw Nation, the first American Indian publisher of its kind. The goal of the Chickasaw Press is to preserve, perpetuate and provide an awareness of Chickasaw history and culture, by providing an outlet for Chickasaw authors and scholars. The Chickasaw Press enhances relationships with the greater community and creates an understanding of Chickasaw self-governance and sovereignty.

Stories told through the Chickasaw Press adhere to ethical and culturally appropriate research and publication practices.

The addition of White Dog Press as a secondary imprint allows the Chickasaw Press to build upon its vision. White Dog Press embraces popular genres and creative projects that do not fit under the umbrella of research and scholarship, enabling it to make additional stories available for the average reader.

White Dog Press affords Chickasaw Press the opportunity to further share the history, culture and experiences of the Chickasaw people, as well as other First American communities, through literary categories such as historical fiction, children’s books, young adult literature, how-to books, travel writing, creative or narrative nonfiction, poetry and memoirs.

For more information, visit, or call (580) 436-7282.