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Press Release

Release Date: October 05, 2017

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • Sue Fish

DAVIS, Okla. – In 1972, Latta  High School sophomore Sue Fish first attended Falls Creek, a retreat for Christian youth. It is tucked between the rugged, rocky peaks of the ancient Arbuckle Mountain range.

Operated and managed by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Falls Creek is famous globally. It is a place where young people from all denominations spend time in worship, fellowship and dedication to their faith.

It celebrated a century of operation in September.

A bilateral gathering at the location – Indian Falls Creek – celebrated 70 years in 2017.

Mrs. Fish, a Chickasaw master basketry artisan and Native American advocate, has been active as a volunteer counselor, publicity coordinator and administrative assistant at Falls Creek for 36 years. Her devotion to Indian Falls Creek, and to the greater body which embraces all who enter its confines, has been her labor of love for decades.

“There is something so special about Indian Falls Creek because I’m able to see how God has been working in some many of my friends’ lives,” Mrs. Fish said. “Indian Falls Creek is a camp that is nationwide, where Falls Creek is basically centered on Oklahoma churches. Any church which would like to come to Indian Falls Creek may do so.

“It is such a highlight of the year for me spiritually. It is a good place to unplug and focus on my spiritual condition, examine my spiritual growth and reconnect and hear from God.”

Modern niceties are rendered useless in the rustic mountains. Cellphone reception is virtually nonexistent. Modern conveniences are limited, although air conditioning has made the summer conclave more tolerable, Mrs. Fish remarked with a laugh.

Inviting Her Tribe

Chickasaws, Mrs. Fish said, have always attended either Falls Creek or Indian Falls Creek. This year, her own personal invitations were extended to Chickasaws to join in ceremonies and be closely involved in the assembly she holds so dear.

Chickasaw Nation Royalty were extended an opportunity to sign the Lord’s Prayer during opening ceremonies. Representatives from an estimated 40 tribal nations with 70 Native women performed sign language while the prayer was sung.

“It was a blessing to see the Chickasaw princesses there,” Mrs. Fish said. “They always do a wonderful job.”

The Chickasaw Honor Guard posted the colors in a ceremony the next day. They gathered early at Mrs. Fish’s cabin near the tabernacle and enjoyed a meal and fellowship.

“It was so nice for them to post the colors and join in our veterans’ recognition ceremony,” she said.

Chickasaws and Choctaws performed a hymn in the Choctaw language as part of the festivities at Indian Falls Creek.

“It was wonderful our princesses and honor guard attended,” Mrs. Fish said. “When I first went to Falls Creek, I was not a member of an Indian church. I attended Morris Memorial Baptist Church in Latta. I became a Christian my sophomore year in high school.

“So, attending Falls Creek was just a wonderful event. Even though I was the only Native American going from my church, I didn’t look at myself that way. I just wanted to grow and learn. The music was beautiful, the fellowship was beautiful. But, it means even more to be with my own people now as we go to Indian Falls Creek,” Mrs. Fish said.

This year, Indian Falls Creek topped its all-time high attendance with 3,015 Natives participating. The previous record was 3,000. A blood drive was organized and 125 people donated. A national bone marrow donation registry was conducted. If matches are found, bone marrow donors have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of ill individuals.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016