Artist: Mike Wimmer
Sponsor: Senator Jerry Smith
Dedication: April 13, 2009
Size: 18” x 21”
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Location: 4th Floor Rotunda East Hall
Press: Media Announcements
Event Photos: Members and Friends
Alexander Posey (1873-1908) recorded his insights into Creek Indian tribal politics and Native American customs in his poetry, journalism and political satire. He lived through a crucial period in the history of the Creek Nation, when the tribe’s land base and political autonomy were threatened by assimilation to Euro-American culture.
Posey was born into a bicultural and bilingual family. His mother was a Creek Indian and his father had Scottish ancestry but had grown up in the Creek community. Alexander Posey learned to appreciate both Native American and Euro-American traditions and benefited from a traditional education at Bacone Indian University in Muskogee. It was at Bacone that Posey began writing and composing poetry.
After leaving Bacone in 1895, Posey was elected to the lower chamber of the Creek National Council and embarked on a long career of public service, including administrator to tribal schools. In 1902, he also began a career as a journalist, establishing the Eufaula Indian Journal, the first daily newspaper published by a Native American.
As editor of the paper, Posey composed the works for which he is best known today: The Fus Fixico letters. Narrated by a Creek character named Fus Fixico (which translates as either “Warrior Bird” or “Heartless Bird”), the letters offered humorous political and cultural commentary written from the perspective and in the dialect of Indian speakers.
His tendency to parody the names of political figures with clever puns - such as “Rooster Feather” for President Roosevelt - helped deflate the power of these public figures. The Fus Fixico letters did not always correspond to Posey’s own convictions, but offered variety of perspectives on the difficult issues facing the Creeks in his time.
Tragically, Posey died before he was able to completely fulfill the promise of his innovative writing. He drowned at age 35 when his boat capsized on the North Canadian River.
Images are copyright of The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. and the artist. Please contact Matt Duehning at 405-524-0126 or Matt.Duehning@oksenate.gov for further copyright information.