(Tulsa,OK) – On October 12, 2013, the Mvskoke Hall of Fame Gala was held at the River Spirit Event Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Three new members were inducted into the Mvskoke Hall Of Fame including Jack Jacobs(posthumously), Mekko George Thompson, and Phyllis Fife, Ed.D. Muscogee (Creek) Principal Chief George Tiger was the Master of Ceremonies and Reverend David Dunson, Pastor, Newtown and Little Cussetah United Methodist Churches was present to give the invocation.
The gala was black-tie and traditional dress event that featured appetizers, dinner, and an open bar. A silent auction was held that benefited the Creek Nation Foundation. A presentation was given by the Creek Nation Foundation and a video presentation was given over this years Muscogee (Creek) Nation Festival by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Tourism & Recreation Department.
The Mvskoke Hall of Fame was created to acknowledge and honor the accomplishments of Muscogee (Creek) citizens that have brought recognition to and/or have made outstanding contributions to the quality of lief and development of the Muscogee (Creek) nation on a local, national, or international level. Below is the biographical information of the inductees as provided at the induction ceremony.
Jack “Indian Jack” Jacobs
Jack “Indian Jack” Jacobs was born August 7, 1919, near Holdenville, Oklahoma. A full blood Muscogee (Creek) Citizen, Jacobs attended Central High School in Muskogee where he became an All-State fullback. He played on Oklahoma’s first high school All-Star Team in 1938. From 1939 to 1941, Jacobs played for the University of Oklahoma and lettered three years as quarterback, defensive back, tailback, and halfback. A triple threat quarter, his passing was described as a quick swoop of the arm above the head, with powerful wrist action like a baseball catcher’s peg to first base when the runner has strayed off the bag.
He is best known for his punting, holding the record for punting average per season (47.8 yards) at OU. In 1940, he was selected to play in the Shrine game and was a College All-Star. Drafted in the second round of the 1942 National Football League’s draft by the Cleveland (now St. Louis) Rams, Jacobs also played for Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers.
From 1950 to 52, he played with the Canadian Football League Winnipeg Blue Bombers and was the Western Division All-Star quarterback. In 1952, he was the MVP and recieved the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy. He led Winnipeg to the Grey Cup Final three times and setalished a CFL punting record of 41.0 average yards.
In all, he played 22 years in school, college and pro-ball without missing a season. In 1963, he was enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and later in the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. he retired from football and became a recruiting scout for the Bombers. Jacobs was also an actor who played a professional football player in the 1948 movie, Triple Threat.
Jacobs died on January 12, 1974 in Greensboro, N.C.
Mekko George Thompson
Justice George Thompson, Jr. is a resident of Henryetta, Oklahoma. he attended Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas; the University of Tulsa; and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He is a veteran of the United States Air force and retired after twenty eight years of with the City of Tulsa Engineering Services. He also served for four years on the Muscogee (Creek) Housing Authority Board.
Justice Thompson was raised with a strong emphasis in Mvskoke culture and has been active in Mvskoke tradition his entire life. He is a member of the Hickory Ground Tribal Town (ocevpofv) and is of the Bird (fuswvlke) Clan. He is a fluent Mvskoke-speaker and regularly gives presentations to our Nation’s youth in the Mvskoke language. He strongly believes that language preservation is essential to the overall effort to preserve all Mvskoke customs and traditions.
His father was Mekko at Arbeka Ceremonial Ground and his mother was a member of Hickory Ceremonial Ground. For the last forty years, Justice Thompson has been Mekko (Koso Mekko) of Hickory Ceremonial Ground. As Hickory Ground Mekko, Justice Thompson is a plaintiff in Muscogee (Creek) Nation, et al; v. Poarch Band of Creek Indians, et 01.; a civil suit flied in federal court protect and oppose the desecration of ancestral home lands in Alabama. Justice Thompson was awarded the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief’s Medal of Honor for his leadership role in the effort to preserve Mvskoke ancestral burial grounds.
On February 23, 2013, Justice Thompson’s nomination to serve a six year term on the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court was confirmed by the National Council. Justice Thompson intends to rely on his intimate knowledge of Mvskoke culture and tradition to shape the judicial decisions in which he participates. He is confident that fairness and impartiality can be best achieved by balancing modern methods of jurisprudence with older, traditional Mvskoke approaches to dispute resolution.
Phyllis Fife, Ed. D
Dr. Phyllis Fife has served as the Director of the Center for Tribal Studies at Northeastern State University since 2003 addressing issues in teacher preparation, bilingual education, language revitalization, cultural studies, and American Indian education. She is currently the chair of the American Indian Heritage Committee, which is responsible for planning and implementing the Annual Symposium on the American Indian at NSU. She serves on the Council of Academic Administrators, appointed by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. She was a member of the curriculum development team for the Cherokee language Education degree program at NSU in 2007, the first such bachelor’s degree program for a tribal language in the United States. She is active in the Oklahoma Native language Association, the Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education Advisory Board, and the Oklahoma American Indian Higher Education Task Force.
Dr. Fife has contributed over 25 years of professional experience in teaching and administration at the university level. She has authored many funded grant programs focused on advancing American Indian education by means of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and design, utilizing cutting edge art and technology in concert with tribal knowledge and culture. Outside the University, she collaborated in designing education programs with the Tahlequah-based American Indian Resource Center implemented for children and youth in schools within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Rarely using the academic title with her name outside the university environment, Phyllis Fife is also a professional artist specializing in painting and graphic arts. Her work has been featured in publications, documentaries, and in national and international exhibitions including France, Canada, and a traveling show in five South American countries. With her sisters, she was co-owner of The Fife Collection, ltd., a clothing design business in Henryetta dedicated to Southeastern design motifs. Their signature designs appeared in national showings and museum exhibitions, and were marketed locally in the home community.
Phyllis Fife is Wotkvlke (Raccoon Clan) and of the Tukvpvtce Tribal Town born and raised on the family allotment in the Okfuskee District in the Graham Community near Dustin and is a member of Thlewarle Indian Baptist Church. Her parents, James Fife and Carmen (Griffin) Fife, emphasized the importance of education to their eight children: Carole, Bill, Sharon, Phyllis, Sandy, Timmie, Brion, and Robin, and also stressed the values of family and home. Phyllis attended boarding school at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe earning a high school diploma with a major in painting and a minor in exhibition arts. Fife studied at the University of California at Santo Barbara and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma, followed by a Moster of Education degree from Northeastern State University, and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Arkansas.
For Phyllis, the blessing of being a parent is the most valued and inspirational role of adult life. She has three daughters, Dr. Stacy Pratt, a writer and professor of English at SUNY-Jefferson in Watertown, NY;Yahnah Rhodes, a Certified Public Accountant in Broken Arrow, OK; and Shelley Patrick, an artist, graphic designer, and musician, of Watertown, NY. Stacy Pratt says about her mother, “Growing up, our mother held us to high standards in education and in life, but she also helped us attain them. Even though education is so important in our family, we have always been taught to value family and cultural traditions above everything else. She is such an example of how to merge all of those things – and how to keep a sense of humor and dignity while doing it.”