Published on December 3, 2010 by John
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Enoch Kelly Haney (born November 12, 1940) is an American politician and internationally-recognized Native American artist from Oklahoma, He has served as Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma from 2005 until 2009, and was previously a member of the Oklahoma Legislature.
Early life and education
Enoch Kelly Haney was born on November 12, 1940 in Seminole, Oklahoma to William Woodrow Haney and Hattie Louise Haney. His father was a flute maker and craftsman and his paternal grandfather, Willie Haney, contributed to the Smithsonian Institution’s oral history project and served as Chief of the Seminole Tribe in the 1940s. Haney graduated from Prairie Valley High School in Earlsboro, Oklahoma in 1959, then went on to earn an Associate of Arts degree from Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Oklahoma City University. He attended the University of Arizona on a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship. He also served in the Oklahoma National Guard. In 1972, he was named as one of the Outstanding Young Men of American.
Prior to becoming Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Haney served in the Oklahoma Senate from 1986 to 2002. During his tenure in the State Senate, he served as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. From 1980 to 1986, he served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, becoming Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in his second term. He was the first full-blood Native American to serve in either house of the Oklahoma Legislature. Earlier in his career, he had served the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, as a tribal councilman, band chief, business consultant, and planner. In 2001, Haney ran as a Democratic candidate for Oklahoma governor, but was ultimately defeated in the primary by Brad Henry.
In addition to his political career, Haney is an internationally-recognized Native American artist, specializing in paintings and sculpture. He paints in oil, acrylic, and watercolor and draws with pastels, as well as sculpting with bronze. Haney was shown throughout the United States, as well as Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland. The Five Civilized Tribes Museum declared him a Master Artist in 1976.
Most notably, he created “The Guardian”, a 22-foot bronze sculpture which adorns the Oklahoma State Capitol dome. Modeled after Haney’s own relatives, “The Guardian” took 10 months to complete, weighs 4,000 pounds, and was erected on June 7, 2002.Other artistic accomplishments include the “Chickasaw Warrior” sculpture at the Chickasaw Nation headquarters in Ada, Oklahoma, and the “Standing His Ground” sculpture at Seminole State College in Seminole, Oklahoma.
Kelly Haney produced and hosted his own weekly television program. He also narrated and worked as a consultant for the Seminole series of the Discovery Channel’s 1993 television documentary series, “How the West was Lost”. He has taught at Oklahoma City University and owned an art gallery, Haney, Inc.