OK The Chickasaw Nation proudly announces renowned artist and
historian Jeannie Barbour has been named Illustrator of 2013 by the
Oklahoma Chapter of the International Society for Key Women Educators.
Delta Kappa Gamma cited her art work in Chikasha Stories, Volume
One: Shared Spirit.
The state chapter selected her work as the very best based upon
the expression of "creativity that encourages, inspires and reaches
children," the chapter said in announcing the award. "We are pleased
to honor your work. As one judge states, "the illustrations delightfully
add to the tales. The expressions on the animals" faces are exquisite."
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said that Ms. Barbour
is very deserving of the honor.
"Jeannie has an incredible talent for bringing Chickasaw
heritage and culture to life through her artwork,"
said Gov. Anoatubby.
"These illustrations bring an added dimension to this book
as Jeannie's creativity and vivid imagination brighten the page
with images inspired by the words of our elders. These stories
and images are as appealing and enlightening to adults as they
are to children.
"Our congratulations go out to Jeannie, Glenda and everyone
involved in this project."
Ms. Barbour sits at a desk surrounded by history books, storybooks,
and a few pieces of art. She gently opens the book cited by the
society and talks about the illustrations she contributed. She is
pleased and proud of the honor.
Just a few days ago, she finished illustrating the third and
final installment of the Chikasha book series compiled by Chickasaw
storyteller and tribal elder Glenda Galvan. The stories are printed
in English and Chickasaw.
For three years, shes been at it. Working from home and
after hours to complete the project, Ms. Barbour smiles slyly and
wonders out loud if she ever met a Chickasaw Press deadline. She
thinks perhaps she did, but isn't really sure.
"The Chickasaw Press people have been very patient with
The second book in the series is called Chikasha Stories: Shared
Illustrations for the third installment, Chikasha Stories: Shared
Wisdom, have just recently been delivered to the printer.
"I have some ideas I'd like to pursue and of course they
all have to do with Chickasaw history and culture because that
is my passion,"
Ms. Barbour said.
"There is a thing called a starving artist and I would
be one if I didn't have this job. So I feel very fortunate to
be doing what it is I love to do and then have the art in my spare
time to express that in another way,"
Galvan specifically requested Ms. Barbour illustrate the three
book series. The books met with enthusiasm by tribal elders despite
the tribe's history of passing them down orally for hundreds of
years. Galvan had agreed to write down her stories.
"Normally, oral tradition, particularly for traditionalists
like Glenda, requires that stories be spoken orally. You don't
ever write them down. Most tribes sort of hold to that rule,"
Ms. Barbour said.
"There has been a problem with the loss of these old stories
because most of them are held by elders and when you lose an elder,
you lose a lot, especially if they are language speakers. There
was a concern we were losing too many of these stories. So it
was decided maybe we should write them down. Glenda had talked
with the elders to see if this would be appropriate or not and
they said "yes, we think it's important they be written down."
So, she shared some of the stories she got from elders and also
some of her own family stories."