Stacy considers herself lucky to have the opportunity to travel across the country and globe, but always feels the indescribable pull towards Oklahoma. Her mother’s family has been in Oklahoma since before Statehood, one side arriving with the Chickasaws during the Great Removal with the other coming from Texas before Statehood as sharecroppers and blacksmiths.
Her paternal grandfather taught her how to fish, grow tomatoes, and that years of factory work takes a toll on the body. Her maternal grandmother taught her how to read the Bible and create beautiful flower gardens. Stacy’s parents, her mom, dad, and step-mom, were all career educators who actively created opportunities and opened doors for their students. By watching them, she learned we may never see the seeds we plant flourish, but we still plant them.
As a student at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Stacy was academically exposed to forced assimilation’s impact on tribal community health and individual mental health. At this, she began to understand and reconcile aspects of her family history. In a recent conversation with her mother, they reflected on changes since her grandfather’s birth, listed on the original Dawes Rolls as an infant. Her family’s understanding and pride in being Chickasaw grew with the tribal identity forged by the Chickasaw Nation Government, which again allowed the Chickasaw to elect its own leadership in 1971, the year Stacy was born.
Stacy has worked to reconcile her identities as both white and Chickasaw- a recognition that has brought so much peace and joy. She recognizes how being Chickasaw deeply impacts her interaction with the world. She is honored to be a registered voter in the Chickasaw nation, and deeply thankful to the Chickasaw women artists who, through art, have helped Stacy gain confidence in her full identity.