By Roseanne McKee
Republished with permission of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
Mary Kirk painted the mural in one of two rooms dedicated to displaying clothing and artifacts of the Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club — a service organization formed in 1932 with membership from all federally recognized tribes.
If you have not visited the Dewey Hotel and toured the rooms on the second and third floors, you are missing out. In this week’s column, I will introduce you to the contents of the rooms done by the Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club, a service organization with about 70 members from 18 tribes.
Club members donated regalia clothing, beadwork, art, dolls and other items for the rooms. On Sept. 17, 1969, the Indian Rooms, numbers 18 and 19, in the Dewey Hotel were first established. The rooms were again renovated in 1986.
Then, from 2011 to 2012 over a year and a half period, one of the club members, artist Mary Kirk, began painting a mural on all four walls of room 18 using acrylics and oils. The mural depicts prairie, a small stream and a log cabin.
“Between the logs, I put glue on there and wrinkled tissue paper and kind of antiqued it. I put real sand in the paint,” Mary Kirk said.
The work is signed using her Delaware art name Pachis Pakayo, which means patches many things.
In the mural room, are mannequins from the three most prevalent tribes in Washington County — Cherokee, Delaware also known as Lenni-Lenape, and Osage, wearing day dresses from those three tribes.
“This is the first mural that I did. I’ve also done a logo on a building in Coffeyville. It’s a 60-inch circle, and I designed it for the NAFI building (Native American Fellowship, Inc. South Coffeyville), Kirk said. She is also a seamstress who makes Indian clothing for the style shows as needed.
Also in room 18 is a case containing four clay dolls made by Lynette Perry of Chelsea, Okla. One of the dolls was made in the likeness of her great grandmother, Mah Wa Tise Wahoney, roll number 155, an early day resident of the Dewey area.
The exhibit also provides information about Mah Wa Daise, the last Indian to hold the distinguished title of “Keeper of the Dolls” by the Delaware Tribe. As such permission was granted to allow Daise to have her dolls buried with her. Daise died in 1909 at the age of 108 and is buried in the Beck Indian Cemetery in Bartlesville.
In the adjoining room, 19, there are three cases and several paintings on the wall. The smallest case holds a collection of Delaware tribal artifacts donated by club member Mary Lou Burks, including, a handmade basket, shell necklace, ribbonwork, feather fan, leather bag, leather moccasins, necklaces and hair combs with colorful beadwork. A second case has mannequins wearing regalia, the more formal style of ceremonial clothing, of the Osage, Delaware and Cherokee tribes.
Handmade beaded moccasins on display in the Indian Rooms, 18 and 19, containing exhibits donated by the Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club on the second floor of the Dewey Hotel.
A third case holds many interesting items from various tribes, such as, a Seminole doll and an authentic Osage seal. Outside the suites is a photo of Anna Anderson, a Delaware tribal member, who owned the land where the first well that struck oil was drilled in Washington County by Frank Phillips. The late Anna Anderson is an ancestor of Anita Anderson Davis and sister, Paula Pechonick and Annette Ketchum. Kirk is also distantly related to Anna Anderson, she said.
Like many members of the Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club, Mary Kirk’s own family has several tribal affiliations.
Kirk is related to Chief Red Bird Smith who is Natchez on both sides of her family she said.
“He married a Lucy Fields and that was in my dad’s family,” Kirk said.
The Natchez people are enrolled in the federally recognized Cherokee and Muscogee (Creek) nations in Oklahoma.
Kirk is also a member of the Keetoowah band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma and is a member of the Delaware Tribe.
“My great-great grandma came from the [Delaware] reservation in Kansas and her name was Rachel Ketchum. She was of the Ketchums you see at the library — John Ketchum — he was my great-great grandma’s grandpa,” Kirk said.
Kirk, who enjoys helping others with genealogy.
“Many people haven’t gotten their numbers and I don’t charge anything. I just try to help them with whatever I can research for them,” Kirk said. “You back to the roll number in the books and from the roll number in the book every descendant you have to have a birth or death certificate for the living ones to prove all that to get your number.
For Kirk’s help with genealogy, call her at 913-538-7483.
The Dewey Hotel Museum, located at 801 Delaware Ave. in Dewey, is open seasonally, April – November, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults. Children 12 and under are admitted free with paying adult.
Students 13 and over, military, and seniors, $4. Donations always welcome. The Dewey Hotel Museum is wheelchair accessible on the first floor only. There are three floors to tour — the second and third by staircase.
The Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club meets the second Thursday of the month. For additional information about joining, contact Membership Chair Connie Edwards at 918-440-6877.