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Elders Series: William Fletcher

William Samuel Fletcher was born in Hominy, Okla., Aug. 27, 1939 to William Fletcher and Myrtle Barker Fletcher. He is 76 years old.

His maternal grand parents were Samuel Barker and Kate Black Dog Barker. His paternal grandparents were William Fletcher and Mamie Fletcher and his great-grandfather was Goodvoice who was the last Osage Town Crier for Grayhorse. His maternal great-grandfather was Black Dog and he was the last hereditary Chief for the Osage Nation.

Fletcher attended the Hominy public school district during his grade school ages and went to Catholic Boarding School at Cascia Hall in Tulsa to graduate high school. He attended Regis University in Denver, Colo., for a short period and then attended Benedictine Heights College in Tulsa. 

He worked at a department store for a short time.

Fletcher is the only child with William Fletcher and Myrtle Barker Fletcher. After their divorce his father had six more children with his second wife. He has three half sisters and three half brothers from that marriage.

Fletcher belongs to the Zon-Zo-Li District and was Drumkeeper from the ages of 12-16.

Osage News: What are some of the most important lessons you have learned in your life?
William Fletcher:
 I learned to listen carefully and to ask questions if I don’t understand something and if there is still something I don’t understand then to research it for myself. Don’t make hasty decisions without researching and really thinking about it.

 

ON: What would you say are the major values or principles that you live by?

WF:  Honesty and truthfulness and consideration for fellow man. Listen to fellow human beings and have love in your life. Praise others for good deeds and acknowledge their deeds.

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

WF:  There were a lot of elders and a lot of Osage terms used that I don’t hear anymore. I remember at the dances there was a term used for cleaning and the ladies would use a Shah-keh-pboo K’ah, meaning dishtowels, to clean with and someone would bring the pile home each day and wash them and bring them back.

ON: What District do you belong to, what is your Osage name and when did you start dancing at In-Lon-Schka?

WF:  Zon-Zo-Li District and my name is Tho-K’eh Kihekah. I am from the Buffalo Clan and was named by the elder Mashunkashey.

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

WF:  I like participating in the giveaways. I am unable to participate in the dances now but still enjoy them

ON: What is your favorite Osage food?

WF:  Meat gravy and Frybread and corn soup and meat pies. I like to eat at Indian dinners.

ON: What was the happiest moment of your life?

WF:  I have had a lot of happy moments and experiences.

ON: What are you most proud of?

WF:  I am proud to be a citizen of the Osage Nation.

ON: What is your earliest memory?

WF:  I remember my great Aunt Nettie McCarthy and Uncle Edgar. I remember him and I was three years old, and I remember a truck I played with and I could hear them talking Osage and I remember his voice and what he looked like. The next memory is where I see him lying in a casket with someone holding me up to see him and someone taking my hand to touch him.

ON: Who or what did you love the most?

WF:  I have always had pets that I have loved until they died, I have always loved my mother and father they were very good people and taught me right from wrong.

ON: What was your favorite thing to do for fun in your youth?

WF:  I liked going to dinners with my family and seeing other Osage children and playing with them. We would play up and down the creek at my Aunt Nettie’s. We wouldn’t see each other till the next dinner.          

ON: How would you like to be remembered?

WF:   As a respectable Osage citizen.

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

WF:  You have a lot to learn and if you have the time I will educate you.

ON: What has it been like being the lead plaintiff for the case Fletcher v. United States?

WF:  Fletcher comes first in the alphabet so Fletcher is on the case first but there were other plaintiffs on the case, Juanita West, Charles Pratt Betty Woody and Cora Jech. We worked hard and would never give up on the case. The other plaintiffs have passed. We were all involved in the case and we all worked tirelessly on it.

ON: You are a direct descendant of Black Dog, how has that impacted your life?

WF:  I like it when I am introduced as his great-grandson. People seem interested in that and show great respect for him.

ON: You’re a faithful Catholic, how has that impacted your life?

WF:  Everything in my life has been positive because of it.I have my grandmother to thank for being a devout Native American Catholic. She was the first Catholic in our Native family.


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Original Publish Date: 2016-03-11 00:00:00

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