Famous Choctaw


Clarence Ray Allen (January 16, 1930 – January 17, 2006) was an American murderer who was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison in California for the murders of three people. At age 76 in 2006, he became the second-oldest inmate to be executed in the United States since 1976.

Marcus Amerman is a Choctaw bead artist, glass artist, painter, fashion designer, and performance artist, living north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is known for his highly realistic beadwork portraits.

Phyliss J. Anderson is the first female elected Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Apuckshunubbee (ca. 1740–October 18, 1824) was one of three principal chiefs of the Choctaw Native American tribe in the early nineteenth century, from before 1800. He led the western or Okla Falaya (Tall People) District in present-day Madison County, Mississippi.


Van Thomas Barfoot (born Van Thurman Barfoot; June 15, 1919 – March 2, 2012) was a United States Army officer and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.

Jim Weaver McKown Barnes, writer of Choctaw and Welsh descent.

Harry James Watson “Jimmy” Belvin, a.k.a. Harry J.W. Belvin was an educator and served as an Oklahoma State Representative and Senator. He was the first elected principal chief of any of the Five Civilized Tribes in the 20th century, and the longest serving principal chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Johnny Lee Bench (born December 7, 1947) is an American former professional baseball catcher who played in the Major Leagues for the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983 and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Steve Burrage (born July 7, 1952) is an American politician from Oklahoma and the former Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector.

Victor V. Bussie (January 27, 1919 – September 4, 2011) was until his retirement in 1997 the 41-year unopposed president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO, having first assumed the mantle of union leadership in 1956.


Choctaw Code Talkers  – They were a group of Choctaw Indians from Oklahoma who pioneered the use of Native American languages as military code. Their exploits took place during the waning days of World War I. The government of the Choctaw Nation maintains that the men were the first native code talkers ever to serve in the US military.

Choctaw Code Talkers – World War I veterans

Clarence Victor Carnes (January 14, 1927 – October 3, 1988), a.k.a. The Choctaw Kid, was a Choctaw best known as the youngest inmate incarcerated at Alcatraz and for his participation in the bloody escape attempt known as the “Battle of Alcatraz.”

Tyler Christopher (born Tyler Christopher Baker November 11, 1972) is an American actor. He is best known for his role as Nikolas Cassadine (1996–99, 2003–11, 2013–2016) and Connor Bishop (2004–05) on the ABC soap opera General Hospital.

Czarina Conlan (1871-1958) was a Choctaw-Chickasaw archivist, who curated at the Oklahoma Historical Society museum for 24 years. She founded the first woman’s club in Indian Territory and served as the chair of the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Committee of the Oklahoma State Federation of Women’s Clubs for 12 years.

She was the first woman elected to serve on a school board in the state and though the Attorney General of Oklahoma ruled she could not serve, she defied the order and completed a two-year term on the Lindsay School Board.


Beasley Denson served as Miko or Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians from 2007 to 2011. He is the third person to be elected as Tribal Chief since the tribe adopted its modern constitution.


Tobias William Frazier, Sr. (1892–1975) was a full-blood Choctaw Indian who was a member of the famous fourteen Choctaw Code Talkers.

Kalyn Free is an American attorney, former political candidate, and a tribal citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.


Jeffrey A. Gibson (born March 31, 1972) is a Choctaw-Cherokee painter and sculptor.

Roxy Gordon (March 7, 1945 – February 7, 2000) was a Choctaw and Assiniboine poet, novelist, musician and activist. He lived in Talpa, Texas, and had a following in England. In the 1970s, he ran a country music magazine, Picking up the Tempo, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


George Washington Harkins (1810–1890) was an attorney and prominent chief of the Choctaw tribe during Indian removal.

Rosella Hightower (January 10, 1920 – November 4, 2008) was an American ballerina who achieved fame in both the United States and Europe.

David Hill (born 1941), a.k.a. Harry Hill, who some refer to as Mr. X., is a Native American activist. He is perhaps best known for participation in the Wounded Knee incident, for allegedly being the person behind the nebulous pseudonym involved with the murder of AIM activist Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, Mr. X., and for bombing the Mount Rushmore Tourist Center as stated by Paul Demain. In actuality, Hill has never been charged for any of the above offenses.

Norma Howard (born circa 1960) is a Choctaw Native American artist from Stigler, Oklahoma, who paints genre scenes of children playing, women working in fields, and other images inspired by family stories and Choctaw life.

LeAnne Howe (born April 29, 1951) is an American author and Eidson Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Georgia, Athens. An enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Howe’s work has been published in a variety of journals and anthologies.


Basil LeFlore (born near Carrollton, Mississippi, in 1811; died in Goodland, Indian Territory, 15 October 1886) was governor of the Choctaw nation after it removed to Indian Territory. He served from 1860 to 1875. He later was auditor until his death.

Greenwood LeFlore or Greenwood Le Fleur (June 3, 1800 – August 31, 1865) was elected Principal Chief of the Choctaw in 1830 before removal. A wealthy and regionally influential Choctaw of mixed-race, who belonged to the Choctaw elite due to his mother’s rank, LeFlore had many connections in state and federal government. In 1830 LeFlore led other chiefs in signing the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, which ceded the remaining Choctaw lands in Mississippi to the US government and agreed to removal to Indian Territory.

Linda Lomahaftewa (born 1947) is a Hopi and Choctaw printmaker, painter, and educator living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Phil Lucas (1942 – February 4, 2007) was an American filmmaker of mostly Native American themes. He acted, wrote, produced, directed or edited more than 100 films/documentaries or television programs starting as early as 1979 when he wrote/co-produced and co-directed Images of Indians for PBS – a five-part series exploring the problem of Indian stereotypes as portrayed and perpetuated by Hollywood Westerns.


Phillip Martin (March 13, 1926 – February 4, 2010) was a Native American political leader, the democratically elected Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Martin had a 40-year record of service to the Tribal government, including 32 years as the Tribe’s principal elected official.

Al McAffrey (born June 6, 1948) is an American politician from Oklahoma who serves in the Oklahoma Senate, representing District 46. He has served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, representing District 88.

Edmund McCurtain, brother of Green McCurtain and  Jackson Frazier McCurtain, served three terms as a Choctaw chief.

Greenwood “Green” McCurtain (1848–1910) was Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation (1896-1890) and (1902-1910), serving four two-year terms. He was the third of his brothers to be elected as chief, and after 1906 and the dissolution of tribal governments under the Dawes Act, he was appointed as chief by the United States government.
Jackson Frazier McCurtain, brother of Edmund McCurtain and Greenwood McCurtain, was a Choctaw tribal chief.

EdwardWahooMcDaniel (June 19, 1938 – April 18, 2002) was a Choctaw-Chickasaw Native American who achieved fame as a professional American football player and later as a professional wrestler. He is notable for having held the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship five times. McDaniel was a major star of wrestling.

Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish a.k.a. Cal McLish, (December 1, 1925 – August 26, 2010), nicknamed “Bus”,[1] was an American professional baseball player and coach. As a pitcher, McLish played in Major League Baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944, 1946), Pittsburgh Pirates (1947–48), Chicago Cubs (1949, 1951), Cleveland Indians (1956–59), Cincinnati Reds (1960), Chicago White Sox (1961) and Philadelphia Phillies (1962–64).

Devon Abbott Mihesuah a.k.a. Devon A. Mihesuah (born 2 June 1957) is a Choctaw historian and writer, and a previous editor of the American Indian Quarterly. Mihesuah’s non-fiction work concentrates on stereotypes and misrepresentations of Native American peoples, customs and beliefs in academic writing.

Mushulatubbee (Choctaw name Amoshuli Tabi, meaning “Determined to Kill”) (born c. 1750–1770, died c. 1838) was the chief of the Choctaw Okla Tannap (“Lower Towns”), one of the three major Choctaw divisions during the early 19th century. When the Principal Chief Greenwood LeFlore stayed in Mississippi at the time of removal, Mushulatubbee was elected as principal chief, leading the tribe to Indian Territory.


Joseph Oklahombi (May 1, 1895, Bokchito, Bryan County, Oklahoma – April 13, 1960) was an American soldier of the Choctaw nation.[1] He was the most-decorated World War I soldier from Oklahoma. He served in Company D, First Battalion, 141st Regiment, Seventy-first Brigade of the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division during World War I, where he was one of the Choctaw code talkers.

Tommy Lee “T.L.” Osborn (December 23, 1923 – February 14, 2013) was an American Pentecostal evangelist, singer, author and teacher, whose established ministry was based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In his six decades of ministry, he hosted the Good News Today program, and was best known for his mass-miracle ministry to millions.


Peter Perkins Pitchlynn (January 30, 1806 – January 17, 1881), or Hat-choo-tuck-nee (“The Snapping Turtle”), was a Choctaw chief of Choctaw and Anglo-American ancestry. He was principal chief of the Choctaw from 1864-1866 and surrendered to the Union on behalf of the nation at the end of the Civil War.

Pushmataha (c. 1760s – December 24, 1824; also spelled

Pooshawattaha, Pooshamallaha, or Poosha Matthaw), the “Indian General”, was one of the three regional chiefs of the major divisions of the Choctaw in the 19th century. Many historians considered him the “greatest of all Choctaw chiefs.”

Gregory E. Pyle (born April 25, 1949) was a long-term political leader of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He was elected as Principal Chief in 1997 and re-elected since by wide margins. He resigned effective April 28, 2014.


Red Shoes was a Choctaw chief, who traded with British fur traders based in South Carolina in the 1740s and ignited the Choctaw Civil War. The French countered by arranging the assassination of Red Shoes. He was known in French as le Soulier Rouge. He is also known as Red Moccasin.

Hollis Earl Roberts (May 9, 1943 – October 19, 2011) was a Native American politician whose career was highlighted by his 19-year period as chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. His 19-year reign as Chief of the Choctaw Nation came to end in 1997 amid convictions of sexual contact and sexual abuse.

Granville Oral Roberts a.k.a. Oral Roberts (January 24, 1918 – December 15, 2009) was an American Methodist-Pentecostal televangelist and a Christian charismatic. He founded the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association and Oral Roberts University.


D.G. Smalling is an Oklahoma Choctaw Native Artist. Smalling is best known for his one-line, continuous drawing technique in which his pen never leaves the paper until the image is complete.

Benjamin Franklin Smallwood (1829-December 15, 1891) was Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation from 1888 to 1890. From 1847 to 1890, Smallwood held public office in Choctaw Nation, except for the time he served as an officer in the Civil War.


Charles Collins Thompson (July 3, 1898–August 5, 1983) was a Texas judge, attorney, banker and rancher.

Martin Luther Thompson was a Texas Choctaw leader and rancher who along with his relatives, William Clyde Thompson (1839–1912), Robert E. Lee Thompson (1872–1959) and John Thurston Thompson (1864–1907), led several families of Choctaws from the Mount Tabor Indian Community in Rusk County, Texas to Pickens County, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory (now Marlow, Oklahoma)

Captain William Clyde Thompson was a Texas Choctaw leader who rallied against the Dawes Commission for Choctaw enrollment.[1] He was born in 1839 near Fort Towson in the Choctaw Nation.

Wallace Hampton Tucker is an astrophysicist who specializes in high-energy astrophysics, an award-winning playwright, and an active environmentalist.

Tuskaloosa (a.k.a.Tuskalusa, Tastaluca, Tuskaluza) (died 1540) was a paramount chief of a Mississippian chiefdom in what is now the U.S. state of Alabama. His people were possibly ancestors to the several southern Native American confederacies (the Choctaw and Creek peoples) who later emerged in the region. The modern city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama is named for him. Tuskaloosa is notable for leading the Battle of Mabila at his fortified village against the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto.


Wilma Louise Victor (1919–1987) was a Choctaw educator.


Summer Wesley (born 1981 in Choctaw) is an attorney, writer, and activist from Oklahoma. She is a member of the Choctaw Nation.

Uncle Wallace Willis a.k.a. Wallis Willis (About 1820-1880) was a Choctaw freedman living in the Indian Territory, in what is now Choctaw County, near the city of Hugo, Oklahoma.  He is credited with composing (probably before 1860) several Negro spirituals, including  “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Steal Away To Jesus.”

Allen Wright (1826-1885) was Principal chief of the Choctaw from Fall 1866 to 1870. He also became a Presbyterian minister after graduating from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He was very active in the Choctaw government, holding several elected positions, and has been credited with the name “Oklahoma” for the land that would become the state.

Choctaw Tribes

Choctaw-Apache of Ebarb (Louisiana) (S)
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (F)
Clifton Choctaw (Louisiana) (S)
Jena Band of Choctaw Indians (Louisiana) (F)
Louisiana Choctaw (S)
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (Mississippi) (F)
Mowa Band of Choctaw Indians (Alabama) (S)
Okla Chahta Clan of California (U)