Remembering The Great Chiefs

Articles written by Joyce Worley for NativeRadio®!

The Invisible Tribe "What a Man Can't Know, the Eagle Sees

book cover

"I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." ~Author Ralph Ellison 1952

In his first novel, The Invisible Tribe, Adrian Roman embarks on a formidable quest, namely, writing socially responsible fiction in an America blind to the plight of its indigenous people.

My editor, Pat Wick offers this preview:

"The Invisible Tribe is a modern murder/mystery/thriller set in the Choctaw Nation. The people choose martial arts master John Wilkerson Tall Bear to lead their fight against systemic racism, governmental corruption and the sinister villain Steppenwolf. Elvis fans are left wondering, why? Rooted in Durant, Oklahoma, the battle extends from Talihina in the north to Dallas in the south and touches countless small towns in-between.

The action, political intrigue and surprising plot twists of the original have been streamlined for a more engaging read. Lively characters and realistic dialogue promote Native identity as a means to survive and thrive. As it champions Choctaw full bloods and their ancestors, The Invisible Tribe urges future generations to find worth in a more simple way of life."

You and your friends can send $20 to for an autographed copy!

"I had participated in an American Indian Ceremonial sweat last weekend and experienced a vision, so I thought. My vision was a strange one, if in fact that is what it was. In my vision, I saw an ancient Roman Solider and an American Indian Warrior riding on horseback side by side on a mountain top. I saw a herd of buffalo in a valley surrounded by lush woodlands. Leading the herd is a magnificent white buffalo. The Sacred White Buffalo is significant among American Indian culture. Were the two warriors on a buffalo hunt together? In my vision, I noticed red streaks down the flank of the White Buffalo. Had he been wounded? This would have been a tragedy for the birth of a white buffalo happens once in a lifetime. Then my vision faded away." ~John Wilkerson Tall Bear

Adrian RomanThe Invisible Tribe is a fictional book about how the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has ignored its people with substantial Indian blood. The Nation has turned its back on the Indian philosophy and ancient’s way of their people. Corruption and greed for money and how to accumulate great wealth is the order of the day. It tells about the tragic journey of a small group of full blood Choctaw Indians who began to feel discriminated against and are outcast within their own tribe. They began to unite in small Indian churches and form an underground movement to create a new full blood tribe. The mission of this organization Chahta Amoma Atokoli (Choctaw full bloods) is to get their new tribe federally recognized.

They select a leader; John Wilkerson Tall Bear and their journey begins. Thru events and murders of some of their members they march on the Choctaw Capital and take the Chief of the Choctaw hostage. Misdeeds are discovered and the current Chief of the Choctaw Nation falls from grace.

Through events he orchestrates Tall Bear along with a trusted friend and a pretty half Indian Senator name Rachel Jim, he becomes Chief of the Choctaws. The 200,000 member tribe is reduced to 20,000 members by installing a higher blood quantum requirement to become a member. He begins taking care of his people where the former Chief looked the other way. For the first time members began receiving dividends checks from the casino money.

Through ceremonial sweats, a mystical visitor from the past helps John Wilkerson Tall Bear begin to instill the ancient ways and honor back into the modern day tribe of Choctaw Indians.

Column Name: Remembering The Great Chiefs
Byline: Joyce Worley

Subhead: An Introduction

Today is the first day of a new feature on This column will present a series of articles about the Great Native American chiefs, their accomplishments and, alas, their sorrows. By this close-up look at the leaders who gave their all to try to save their peoples, I hope we will gain a better understanding of what happened and why, and how these courageous captains struggled against impossible odds.

There are few surprises to be found here, and almost no joy whatsoever. These are stories of sorrow and grief, of betrayal and ordeal beyond decency. You may ask, "Then why should we preserve these sad memories?"

The answers are clear and unequivocal. We must face their challenges, we must know their fear, we must keep forever alive the memory of our past in order to preserve our future. We must not allow our children to forget our Holocaust.

There is no joy in the past, but we can use it to illuminate our futures. We can never undo what happened, we cannot bring back what was lost. But we can raise our tear-stained faces, and feel the warmth of the sun, and use our knowledge of the past to build a better Native America for ourselves. In this third millennium, the past grows ever more remote and difficult to understand, but it is up to us to teach our children how to live with the betrayals and heartbreaks our grandparents knew, and how to bravely seek joy in this new world.

Native Americans must live with the knowledge of what was done to our elders. And, the children of the settlers must live with the knowledge of what their elders did. These are heavy burdens for both, but not yet ready to be laid aside.

The Great Chiefs were mighty men who faced impossible problems. How they dealt with them may provide lessons for a world that offers no compromises.


(Joyce Worley is proud of her Cherokee heritage. A well-known journalist and historian from Missouri, Joyce now resides in Nevada.)

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