Oklahoma artist, leader and lawmaker Haney dies

Associated press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Enoch Kelly Haney, artist, Seminole Nation leader and Oklahoma state legislator, has died at age 81.

Haney’s death was announced Saturday by Brian Palmer, Deputy Chief of the Seminole Nation. A cause of death was not immediately released.

“With a heavy heart, the Seminole Nation woke up to the news of the passing of Chief Kelly Haney. An inspiration to many, an accomplished artist, his work with the state and later as a chief highlighted his career, but his greatest achievement is to Keep his family in prayer and may they find comfort in knowing that the Seminole Nation and Indian Country mourn his loss,” Palmer said in a statement on Facebook.

In a tweet on Saturday, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said “Haney’s contributions to our state are powerful.”

Haney, who had recently lived in Norman, grew up in Seminole. His grandfather was the leader of the Seminole tribe in the 1940s.

A Democrat, Haney was a Methodist minister before entering politics in 1978 as co-chairman Lt. The first of Governor George Nigh’s four successful campaigns for governorship.

Haney served in the State House and the Senate from 1980 to 2002 and was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee from 1994 to 2002.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002 and was elected Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation in 2005. His 17-foot sculpture “The Guardian”, a towering statue of a Native American, has was placed atop the dome of the State Capitol in 2002. .

In a 2014 interview with The Oklahoman, Haney said his art is rooted in his heritage.

“My grandfather and my father were great storytellers, so I have this ability to tell stories, about indigenous people and their history, etc. So I guess in a way I’m still the keeper of traditions “Haney said.

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