Drawing by Abby Gaines
Size: 18 x 24 in.
Tribal Affiliation: Chickasaw, Choctaw
This piece is a portrait drawing of treasured Chickasaw elder, Mrs. Rose Shields-Jefferson.
Mrs. Shields-Jefferson is a full-blood Chickasaw citizen and dedicates her time and effort into preserving the Chickasaw language, history and culture. She grew up only speaking the Chickasaw language and is one of the last remaining fluent Chickasaw speakers. Mrs. Shields-Jefferson is well known for her bead work, quilting and sewing. Over the years, she has helped prepare traditional meals at the Chikasha Ittafama with her family members. Mrs. Shields-Jefferson is a recipient of the 2006 Silver Feather Award which recognized her contributions in preserving the Chickasaw traditions, culture, and values. She was also inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2015.
I have met Mrs. Shields-Jefferson at church activities and a few other occasions. However, I have yet to have an in-depth interaction with her until recently. Before beginning our session, Mrs. Shields-Jefferson offered to pray with me and reminded to always give the God the praise first. I was honored to meet and photograph Mrs. Shields-Jefferson. She has a very outgoing personality, and is extremely warm in her interactions. During our time together, she voiced her appreciation and gratitude as a Chickasaw citizen. She enjoys teaching the younger generation the Chickasaw language and frequently visits the Chickasaw Cultural Center to contribute to their efforts of preserving culture. As an active member of her church, she emphasized how God continues to provide blessings for all of His children. I’m so thankful Mrs. Shields-Jefferson allowed me to depict her portrait, it was a blessing to spend time with her and learn about her life. This piece will definitely hold a special place in my heart for years to come.