by Jay Townsend
She is the great-great granddaughter of Chief Lone Wolf the Younger, born at the Claremore Indian Hospital in Claremore, Oklahoma. She’s half Kiowa, a quarter Cherokee and a quarter Choctaw, 100 percent Native American. She’s a U.S. Air Force Veteran and currently serves as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilian.
Denise Wickson is as American as it gets.
“I am proud of my Native American heritage and this country,” said Wickson. “I am many things because of the land of opportunity we live in.”
Beyond lineage and devotion to civil service, Wickson is rooted in all things America. Maybe it’s her New York Yankees cellphone cover that gives it away or perhaps it’s her devotion to the Oklahoma Sooners football team.
Nonetheless, if you talk to Wickson she’ll tell you she’s an Indian from Oklahoma, an American and a 17-year veteran of civil service.
Her story of service began in 1996 while she was taking care of her aging grandmother.
“My grandmother could see I was a lot like my grandfathers and uncles that had joined the military,” said Wickson. “I felt like I needed to be with her, but she kept encouraging me to go and join.”
Wickson comes from a long line of warriors that have fought for American liberties in many different territories as well as our nation’s foreign wars.
Wickson is a direct descendant of Kiowa Chief, Lone Wolf the Younger, also known as Mamay-day-te. The former chief is famous for saving the son of Old Chief Lone Wolf, Gui-pah-gah, the Elder, during a fight with teamsters at Howard Wells, New Mexico. in 1872. He is also known for the Supreme Court case Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock where he claimed American tribes had been defrauded of land by Congressional actions in violation of a previous treaty. This was one of the first cases where a Native American tribe went to court rather than resort to warfare to resolve an issue.
Since Lone Wolf, almost every male in Wickson’s family has served in the military and so have many of the females.
“It’s pretty amazing to think about my family’s military contributions to this country,” Wickson said. “It’s pretty amazing to be a part of that tradition.”