Myles Stephenson, Sr.

Myles was born at the Old Indian Hospital located in Lawton, Okla. on January 14, 1929.  He was born to Ella Stephenson and Nuss Stephenson.  His grandparents were Whit Lee and Mis-se-nah and Chief Stephenson and A-day-uck.  Chief Stephenson was one of the last hereditary chiefs of the Wichita Tribe.

Stephenson grew up on his grandmother’s allotment just south of the old water tower on the east edge of Gracemont, Okla.  He went to school at Riverside Indian School in 1936 and graduated from Riverside with honors in 1948.  Stephenson worked at the dairy at Riverside.  He had $1,000 in the bank, two cows and a calf, three hogs, one sow and a litter of pigs. This was what Myles had earned by the time he graduated.

During the Korean War, Stephenson served three years in the Navy. He was also one of the best all-around athletes in the late 1940’s.  He lettered in four sports that included football, basketball, boxing and baseball.  Myles received a scholarship fromMurrayStateJunior Collegefor football and basketball.

After his service with the U.S. Navy, he started to work at Fort Sill Post. He was then hired at Fort Sill Indian School and spent five years there.  He was then transferred toRiversideIndianSchoolin 1969.  He worked 19 years there and retired with 34 years of federal service.  He was in charge of dormitory operations for boys.

Stephenson served his tribe well as President of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes for eight years and as Vice-President for four years.  He also served as a Committee Member for eight years. During this time, he served in various capacities.  He chose the present site of the Wichita Tribal Headquarters, which included the first building now called the Dance Building. The following people went with him to look at the land for the grounds of the headquarters: Ella Stephenson, Bonnie Stephenson, and Nathan and Mary Tselee.   They chose the present location and submitted it to the tribe for approval, and the tribe accepted.

Furthermore, Stephenson was instrumental in getting the first per-capita payments for the Wichita people.  Along with Frank Miller and attorney Omer Lewelyn, the Wichita won $14 million in a land claim settlement under Stephenson’s leadership.

In addition to his years of service for the Wichita people, Stephenson worked 27 years with the American Indian Exposition.  He served eight years as the President.  Myles was instrumental in getting the Exposition’s “Outstanding Celebrities” such as Crystal Gayle, Claude Akins, Willie Nelson, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

Last but not least, Stephenson played 15 years of sandlot baseball with the Cache Indian baseball team, the Comanche Boys.  He played in the church league withCentralBaptistChurchon Tuesdays.  He also played in the Softball Commercial League with Bianco’s ofLawton.  The team members also included Bill Koomsa Jr., Joe Wetselline, Lee Tsatoke, Dale Osborn, Junior Wolfe, Junior Tsoodle and Pinken Tsatoke.

Myles is very proud of his children and grandchildren.  His children are Myles Stephenson Jr., Dana Smith and Vicki Eaglenest.  His grandsons Jacob and Keigan Stephenson are sons of Myles Stephenson, Jr.  His granddaughters, Casey Smith and Shalain Lauer, are the daughters of Dana Smith.  His grandchildren Missy and Donnie Eaglenest and Mike, Mark, Anthony, Gina and Nikki Zeno, are the children of his daughter Vicki Eaglenest.