Community , Culture

Elders Series: Mildred Lunsford

Mildred Lunsford was born December 31, 1932, and is 85 years old. She was born in Fairfax, Okla., to Helen Morton-Bear and Billy Bear. She is the granddaughter of Milly Morton and Oliver Morton and Samuel and Alice Bear. She went to Chilocco Indian School where she worked in the grill flipping burgers at age 13. She also cooked at the school. She met her husband Marvin Lunsford at Chilocco when he was a young Creek boy who caught her attention, she said. They were married on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1953. They had five children, Teddy, Cidney, Jeffery, Peter, and Helen. They have four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. They lived in Fort Hood, Texas, while Marvin was stationed there. They lived in Bell, Calif., for 40 years and she worked for St. Francis Hospital as a Licensed Practical Nurse. They moved back to Fairfax in 2003 after Marvin retired.

Osage News: When did you start dancing at In-Lon-Schka?

Mildred Lunsford: I was about nine years old.

ON: What are the differences in the In-Lon-Schka today from when you were young?

ML: Now there is a big string of dancers! Not so many when I was younger.

ON: What is your favorite thing about the In-Lon-Schka and why?

ML: All of us gathering together, visiting and watching the dance and eating.

ON: How has the Osage Nation evolved in your lifetime?

ML:  Tribe has grown and employs many people within the county; better health benefits and meals for the seniors. My grandson Jonathan takes me there.

ON: What is your favorite Osage food?

ML:  Meat Gravy, Frybread, and Squash.

ON: Who are your heroes?

ML:  Billy Graham, John F. Kennedy, Elvis, I saw him in concert in his early days in Tulsa. 

ON: What was the happiest moment of your life?

ML: When I met my friend Jamie.

ON: What is your earliest memory?

ML: Living on our farm west of town in Fairfax. I loved taking care of my baby lambs and watching them play and prance around. I was the only child that had perfect attendance for a year at the First Osage Baptist Church. I rode a horse up to the cattle guard and two ladies would pick me up and give me a ride to town for church.

ON: Who, or what, did you love the most?

ML:  My kids and was always thankful for my mother, she helped me all my life.

ON: What is your favorite thing to do for fun?

ML:  Shopping at Kohls.

ON: What was your favorite decade and why?

ML:  1948-1950’s, I had great friends and lots of fun.

ON: What world events had the most impact on you?

ML: Korean War, my husband Marvin was in service then.

ON: What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

ML:  I would tell other young women to get your education before getting married and starting a family.

ON: Is there anything else you would like to add?

ML: I was Osage Tribal Princess 1949-1950 and had so much fun at Anadarko in the parade.