Inspiring Chickasaw Artists

Reba Balint, Project Manager and Social Media Coordinator

Her entire life, the Rev. Stacy Williams Duncan has worked to reconcile her identities as both white and Chickasaw. She once said that, no matter where she is in the world, she will always feel this indescribable pull towards her home land of Oklahoma. Her mother’s family has been in Oklahoma since before Statehood. 

Stacy fondly remembers how her paternal grandfather taught her how to fish, grow tomatoes; while her maternal grandmother taught her how to read the Bible and create beautiful flower gardens. Her family’s understanding and pride in being Chickasaw has grown with the tribal identity forged by the Chickasaw Nation Government, which was once again allowed to elect its own leadership in 1971, the year Stacy was born.

At this point in her life, Stacy is full of peace and joy at the recognition of her full self. She recognizes that being Chickasaw deeply impacts how she interacts with the world. Stacy is especially thankful to the Chickasaw women artists who, through art, have helped Stacy gain confidence in her full identity.

Mahota Textiles is one such group of Chickasaw women artists who have inspired Stacy greatly. The deep and rich colors of the textiles remind Stacy of the land she loves so much, and the intricate patterns and icons woven into throws honor important symbols of the southwest Tribes.  

A beige chair with intricately patterned pillow and blanket draped over top.

“Mahota Textiles is the first tribally owned textile company. We draw our inspiration from our Southeastern heritage, creating elevated and meaningful textiles designed in Oklahoma and woven in the USA.” 

Mahota Textiles is the passion project of founder Margaret Roach Wheeler, a company which honors her family’s heritage and the legacy of Chickasaw women. The company uses natural USA materials to weave beautiful blankets, throws, pillows, and other linens. Each textile is designed in Oklahoma by Chickasaw tribal artists. 

“She is an award-winning weaver, fiber expert and textile artist who received a research fellowship to study at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York and exhibited works at prestigious institutions, including the Museum of Art and Design and the Institute of American Indian Arts.”

Stacy hopes to use her platform and her connections to further the success of other Chickasaw women artists, and is incredibly honored to be in a position to do so. 

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