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Artist Spotlight: Enoch Kelly Haney

It was with great sadness last month that we learned of the passing of Enoch Kelly Haney. Kelly was a great friend of my parents Pat and Jo, and we collected his paintings and sculptures throughout his lifetime. He will be missed by his Seminole people, by the people of Oklahoma, and by all who either knew or were influenced by his stately guidance. Whenever we go to Oklahoma City, we will see Kelly standing proudly atop the State Capitol dome.

Enoch Kelly Haney was born on November 12, 1940 in Seminole, Oklahoma. His father, Woodrow Haney, was a flute maker and craftsman and his paternal grandfather, Willie Haney, contributed to the Smithsonian Institution’s oral history project. After obtaining his degree from Oklahoma City University, Kelly attended the University of Arizona, served in the Oklahoma National Guard and in 1972, was named as one of the Outstanding Young Men of America.

Prior to becoming Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Haney served in the Oklahoma Senate from 1986 to 2002. Earlier in his career, he had served the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, as a tribal councilman, band chief, business consultant, and planner.

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. 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.

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