Kati Cain will be the moderator for the 2023 Lowak Sho'li First American Humanities Forum. A Chickasaw citizen, Cain is a research specialist and genealogist for the Chickasaw Nation Literary Arts Division. With her experience and background, Cain has a deep understanding and connection to this year’s forum theme, “First Americans in History.” Pictured: Cain giving a presentation during the 2022 Chickasaw Historical Society Conference in Sulphur, Oklahoma. Cain serves as a board member for the Oklahoma Genealogical Society and the Ardmore Historic Preservation Commission.

The 11th annual Lowak Sho'li (Carry the Fire) First American Humanities Forum will take place at 6 p.m., Nov. 28, at the Chickasaw Nation Community Center in Ada, Oklahoma, 700 N. Mississippi. This year’s theme for the forum is “First Americans in History.”

“The theme was chosen out of a need for more First Americans, particularly Chickasaws, in the field of history,” Ethan Cox, creative arts manager at the Chickasaw Nation Literary Arts Division, said. “Many scholars in the field of Chickasaw history are non-Chickasaw, and we believe it is important for Chickasaw people to tell their own story, from their own perspective.”

The forum will feature four panelists, each a Chickasaw citizen or employee of the Chickasaw Nation. The panelists are experts within their field and have extensive knowledge in anthropology, literature, history and language arts. 

Panelists are Stan Nelson, LaDonna Brown, Michelle Cooke and Joshua “Lokosh” Hinson, Ph.D. Chickasaw citizen. Research specialist and Chickasaw Nation genealogist Katie Cain will serve as moderator during the forum. 

“We are excited for this group of diverse panelists,” Cox said. “They all possess a wealth of knowledge regarding Chickasaw history, but also bring specific expertise in Chickasaw language, research and culture. This group of panelists will bring rich and diverse knowledge on the topic of Chickasaw history.” 

Those in attendance are invited to learn more about First American history by engaging with the scholars. Following the panel discussion, Lowak Sho'li will  host a question-and-answer segment. 

“The forum has a history of encouraging First American students to consider careers in arts and humanities, and while that concept remains, the forum also now serves as an opportunity for professionals in those fields to meet and share their voices in a setting conducive of academic and professional discourse,” Cox said.

This event is open to the public at no charge. For more information or to register, visit Chickasaw.net/Lowak or email CreativeArts@Chickasaw.net.

The Chickasaw Nation Literary Arts Division can also be reached at (580) 436-7282. 

About the panelists

Stan Nelson
Stan Nelson, Chickasaw, serves as the senior staff writer for Chickasaw Press, a position he has maintained for more than 10 years. Nelson provides editorial support for Chickasaw Press and has authored several titles that are available for purchase at the Chickasaw Press bookstore or online. 

Nelson co-authored “Chokma'si: The Beauty of the Chickasaw Nation” in 2015 and authored “Toli: Chickasaw Stickball Then and Now” in 2016, “A Chickasaw Historical Atlas” in 2018, “Shikonno'pa' Anoli: Stories to Tell” in 2020 and the novel “88 Straight” in 2021. 

Several of Nelson’s articles  have appeared in “Chokma: Chickasaw Magazine” and “The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture.” Before joining the Chickasaw Nation, Nelson had a 30-year career as an award-winning newspaper columnist, journalist, editor and media relations manager.

LaDonna Brown
LaDonna Brown is a Chickasaw citizen and serves as the director of research and cultural interpretation for the Chickasaw Nation Heritage Preservation Division. She assists with historical and cultural research for special projects. Brown also edits scripts, documents and manuscripts for the Chickasaw Nation. 

Brown conducts presentations of historical and cultural information to different groups, including public schools and special interest groups that travel to the Chickasaw Nation. 

During her career at the Chickasaw Nation, Brown has served as a tribal anthropologist and historic preservation officer. She has also worked for the National Park Service as an interpretation ranger at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and the Natchez Trace Parkway. 

Michelle Cooke
Michelle Cooke is a Chickasaw citizen and serves as a senior staff writer for Chickasaw Press. She has been employed with the Chickasaw Nation since 2007. Throughout her tenure, Cooke’s work has been dedicated to writing, teaching and researching Chickasaw history and culture.

Cooke authored “Protecting Our People: Chickasaw Law Enforcement in Indian Territory” published by Chickasaw Press in 2019 and co-authored “Listening to Our Elders” published by Chickasaw Press in 2021. 

Her writing has also been featured in “The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture,” “Chokma: Chickasaw Magazine” and the “Chickasaw Basic Language” workbook series.

Joshua “Lokosh” Hinson, Ph.D.
Joshua “Lokosh” Hinson is a Chickasaw citizen. He serves as the executive officer of the Chickasaw Nation Language Preservation Division. From 2007 to 2021, Hinson was the director of the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program. He has contributed to multiple language texts published by Chickasaw Press, as well as served as an author and editor on Rosetta Stone Chickasaw. 

Hinson has completed the Chickasaw Language Master-Apprentice Program and is a fluent second language speaker of Chikashshanompa', the Chickasaw language. 

Hinson’s Chickasaw name is Lokosh, which translates as “Gourd.” He is of the Imatapo (Their Tent People) house group and Kowishto' (Panther) clan. Hinson is also an award-winning tribal visual artist.