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Press Release

Release Date: February 10, 2022
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Chickasaw artist and physician Dr. Benjamin Morrell credits his personal success to his Chickasaw heritage. Knowing he comes from a long line of people who have overcome challenges and hardships, he looks back to his ancestors and family for inspiration to continue his hard work in becoming what he is today.

“I receive my First American heritage from my dad, Jeff,” Morrell said. “A Chickasaw elder who raised eight children and beat cancer, he set a legendary example for his children regarding honesty, work ethic and integrity.”

Morrell made the decision to become a physician late in his academic career. Football and other sports were his favorite pastimes in high school. It was not until he began reflecting on what was important to him that he decided medicine was in his future.

“My inspiration to pursue medicine came from witnessing my younger brother get hit by a truck while we were living in Ardmore, Oklahoma, when I was 5 years old,” he said. “He should not have lived, but due to the wonders of medicine and help through the Chickasaw Nation, he is alive and continues to be my inspiration to this day.”

Morrell lived just outside of Ardmore for a few years, but he thinks of Blanchard, Oklahoma as his hometown. He has traveled the world in order to gain new experiences and to learn how other people in different locations and cultures think. He has visited Japan, Spain and Germany. Morrell also lived in North Carolina during his medical residency, but he will always call Oklahoma home, with its rich and diverse First American history.

Morrell attributes both his Chickasaw heritage and the Chickasaw Nation specifically for his academic and career success. Higher education, particularly in the medical field, is a challenging path. However, with help from Chickasaw Nation Higher Education programs and scholarships, he was able to navigate academia.

“There were times I was clothed exclusively through the clothing allowance provided by the Chickasaw Nation while I was in college,” Morrell said. “I also received thousands of dollars each semester to pay for college and medical school. I would not have been able to go without the help of the Chickasaw Nation.”

Giving back is important to Morrell, and he tries to live a life based on the Chickasaw values he has learned.

“With the gifts from my family and the Chickasaw Nation, I was able to discover my greatest passions, grow them and share them with the world,” he said. “I chose to study psychiatry so that I could aim to empower, uplift and educate as many people as possible to live lives of purpose and passion.”

First American healers have also inspired Morrell. He believes life flourishes most in powerful moments of connection, paired with great sleep, exercise, nutrition, relationships and spirituality. Morrell aims to reach as many people as possible using social media platforms, speaking, mental health advocacy and life coaching.

“My Chickasaw culture runs deep. When I am lost, I think of my little brother, my father and my family,” Morrell said. “I would look at their faces and know my path. When I was in pain, I would play my flutes, dance and feel the spirit move through me again! When I was discouraged I would remember those that came before me and carved this path of opportunity before me.”