Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett is one of eight honorees selected for the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2023. Since its inception in 1927, 730 accomplished individuals have received this commendation. Chairman Barrett is one of only eight people from Shawnee during that time, joining Gregory Gerrer (1931), Cassius Cade (1939), Burton Rascoe (1944), John Wesley Raley (1958), Gordon Cooper (1962), Tom Steed (1971) and Robert Henry (2008).
“These friends stand tall on a mountain of accomplishments, yet their feet are planted firmly in the red dirt of Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Hall of Fame Member Jane Jayroe. She spoke during the announcement luncheon on May 25.
Chairman Barrett joins scientists, health care professionals, automobile designers, Olympic gold medalists, neurosurgeons, engineers and other Tribal leaders as part of the 96th Oklahoma Hall of Fame class.
“It is an honor to be among the more than 700 individuals recognized for their contributions to the state and society at large,” Barrett said. “As the leader of a tribal nation, I serve as a steward of the traditions that have built CPN into the robust and thriving sovereign entity it is today.”
Chairman Barrett has served as an elected official for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation since 1973 when he was first elected as Vice-Chairman. Barrett is the eighth generation of his family to serve in elected office for CPN. Under his leadership, the Nation has grown from having assets totaling just $550 and less than three acres of land to an entity making an annual economic impact exceeding $750 million and becoming the largest employer in Pottawatomie County. Barrett attended Shawnee High School and Princeton University, and holds degrees from St. Gregory’s University, Oklahoma City University and the University of Oklahoma.
“Our state’s highest honor goes deservedly to these Oklahomans who apply their talents and intellect to reach for more. Each Honoree is an inspiring ambassador of the pioneer spirit we so admire and need today,” said Oklahoma Hall of Fame President and CEO Shannon L. Rich.
Barrett has guest lectured at Harvard University for the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and at the Banff Center in Banff, Alberta, Canada, to the assembled Canadian First Nations. He serves on the International Advisory Council of the Native Nations Institute and has served as a delegate of the Unites States Federally Recognized Tribes to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at The Hague, which provided the International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People approved by the U.N. Committee on Human Rights and the U.N. General Assembly. Barrett also recently accepted an appointment to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Board of Directors and the Leadership Award for Public Service from the International Economic Development Council.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel & Conference Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
About the Oklahoma Hall of Fame: Founded in 1927, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame preserves Oklahoma’s unique heritage by telling Oklahoma’s story through its people. The organization was created to honor exceptional Oklahomans and provide educational opportunities for students of all ages. Induction to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is recognized as Oklahoma’s Highest Honor. Through interactive exhibits and programming at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, as well as statewide outreach, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame promotes pride in our great state. For more information, visit oklahomahof.com.