Chickasaw artist Mary Ruth Barnes, center, was named 2015 Dynamic Woman of the Year. Presenting Mrs. Barnes her award is Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, left, and Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel. Photo by Marcy A. Gray.
Published October 19, 2015
ADA, OKLAHOMA—A Chickasaw artist and author, a native speaker of the Chickasaw language, a historic preservationist and Southeastern artists were among those recognized during the Chickasaw Nation Arts and Culture Award ceremony Oct. 1 at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur, Okla.
Mary Ruth Barnes, a Chickasaw artist and author, was named the 2015 Dynamic Woman of the Year by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby.
Mrs. Barnes, of Ada, is an editor, published author, photographer, award-winning artist and avid equestrian. Since 2012, she raised has raised more than $10 million in estate gifts for cancer research through her role as American Cancer Society Director of Planned Giving for Oklahoma and southwest Missouri. For these efforts, Mrs. Barnes was awarded “Top Performer of the Nation” for the American Cancer Society in 2012 and 2014.
“Like so many past recipients of this award, Mrs. Barnes is driven, involved and committed to improving the communities in which she lives and works,” said Gov. Anoatubby.
“We are proud of the way that Mrs. Barnes has represented Chickasaw people within the community and demonstrated the Chickasaw way of being involved and playing a strong role in your community.”
Extremely active in her community through the Ada Chamber of Commerce and Ada Rotary, she was past president of Ada’s Business and Professional Women, where she received BPW’s Women of the Year Award in 2006. Mrs. Barnes has served on her church board, Rotary board, taught Sunday school, served on the Executive Board of Boy Scouts of America and the Ada Arts Council executive board.
A visual artist, Mrs. Barnes has received several awards for her art.
She has a bachelor’s in English from North Carolina State and a master’s degree in education from Montana State.
Mrs. Barnes and her husband Mike have been married 40 years and have two children, Wiley and Selby, who both serve the Chickasaw Nation. She and her husband welcome visitors to their horse ranch for lessons on natural horsemanship.
Mrs. Barnes credited her family and the people of the Chickasaw Nation for obtaining the Dynamic Woman award and described the designation as a privilege and a blessing.
“I carry this honor because my beautiful mother, Ruby Scott taught me that I should always walk the Chickasaw way and to walk those Chickasaw trails and remember the past and remember the beautiful things her father taught her and that she taught me.”
Mrs. Barnes also honored her grandfather who taught her the importance of an education and hard work. She noted her most privileged honor is her beautiful family.
Established in 2006, the Dynamic Woman of the Year Award honors Chickasaw women who have made significant contributions to the Chickasaw Nation, serve as role-models to other Chickasaw women and have made a difference in the lives of Chickasaws and other citizens, enriching their communities and society at large.