By Staff Writer
On June 1, 2013, six graduates of Chilocco Indian Agricultural School were inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the First Council Casino Event Center at Chilocco-Newkirk, Oklahoma. The ceremony took place at the Alumni Banquet at the 2013 reunion of the Chilocco National Alumni Association.
Among the inductees, three were Muscogee Creek: Bill S. Fife, former Principal Chief and current Secretary of the Muscogee Nation; Milford E. King, athlete, league coach, business owner, OSU retiree; and Faith Jacobs Castle, medical professional and attorney. Also honored were Howard Tommie, Florida Seminole, former Chief and Indian gaming pioneer; Novalene Tarleton Shipp, Ponca, traveling nurse for Alaskan Natives and lifelong learner; and Jeanette Hogner Teehee, Cherokee, distinguished educator, retired.
A Family Tradition
Two of the inductees for 2013, Bill Fife and Milford King, Muscogee (Creek), were close kin.
Bill Fife, a 1960 graduate, was nominated for his leadership and service to Indian people. He served one term as Principal Chief of the Muscogee Nation and six terms as Okfuskee District Representative to the National Council, as well as Director—Division of Tribal Affairs, and currently Secretary of the Nation. He also served at Interim President of Bacone College, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and as Executive vice-President of Bacone College. He has served on numerous boards and committees for tribal, local, state, and national organizations. He has also served as Tribal Administrator for the Alabama-Quarsartee and the Thlopthlocco Tribal Towns. Fife is a Vietnam Veteran. He holds a Master of Science Degree in College Teaching/Institutional Administration from NSU, Tahlequah. He and his wife, the late Mary Nell Poe, raised two children, Jeff and Cinda, and have four grandchildren.
Fife, from Dustin, OK, remarked that attending Chilocco was a valuable experience and that it taught him preparedness and independence. He noted that his teachers always encouraged him to do better and this gave him the confidence to work harder. His mother, Carmen Griffin Fife was valedictorian of the class of 1934 and was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988. His sister, Jimmie Carole Fife Stewart was inducted in 1985.
Milford Eugene King, class of 1953, was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame. His wife Nora Jean Hukill King, also a 1953 Chiloccoan, accepted his award. King, a letterman, excelled in football and track. He majored in Agriculture. After graduation, he worked in the monument business in Stillwater and later became an independent businessman. He had two children, Gwen and Mike, and became very active in coaching little league teams and promoting youth sports activities. He was a leader in his community and in civic organizations. He and Nora were grandparents of twin grandsons, He retired from Oklahoma State University as a maintenance supervisor. His sister, Ellen King Willis, also a valedictorian, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996. His brother, John David King, graduated in 1952 from Chilocco, and along with his wife Claudine Williford, 1952, received the Citizenship Award in 2012.
Bill Fife and Milford King were first cousins and raised as close as brothers. Twenty-nine members of their families were on hand to witness these awards.