A dedicated Chickasaw educator was recently honored as “Male Elder of the Year” by the National Indian Education Association.
Silas Wolf, a tutor and mentor at Norman Public Schools, received the prestigious award during the organization’s 42nd annual national convention in Oklahoma City.
An attorney for many years, Wolf closed his law practice in 2007 to follow his dream of educating young people.
“When I saw there was a chance to work with Native students, I thought it would be a lot of fun,”Wolf said. “Turns out, it’s the best job I ever had.”
Wolf saw the tutor position as a way to give back to his tribe, by helping to educate and motivate younger Native generations.
As an educator, Wolf was also following in the footsteps of his grandfather, the late Key Wolf.
A Chickasaw from Davis, Key Wolf was captain of the 1908 University of Oklahoma football team.As a student, he understood that many Indian children did not have the opportunity to pursue higher education. While still a student at OU, he made an appeal to the Chickasaw tribal legislature to appropriate money towards Indian education. His plan would have provided funds to Indian students graduating from industrial schools who wanted to pursue college degrees. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in geology and spending years working as a teacher in Bureau of
Indian Affairs schools, Key Wolf returned to his boyhood home of Davis.
He was principal, athletic director and coach at Davis High School from 1926 to 1930, leading the football team to its first undefeated season in 1929.
The Davis athletic teams are called the Wolves in his honor. Wolf Field, the home of the Davis Wolves, was also named after the distinguished coach.
Key Wolf later returned to OU and earned his master’s degree in education. His 1931 master’s thesis was entitled “Federal aid for the education of Indian children in the public Schools of Oklahoma.”
Silas Wolf carried on that tradition when he began working as an Indian Education tutor with Norman Public Schools. He later added the duties of college and career assistant. He has introduced hundreds of Native students to higher education opportunities by presenting college and career seminars and by taking many students to colleges and universities in Oklahoma and surrounding states. He also has tutored hundreds of students in virtually all subjects offered at the high schools.
Under his guidance, Native American clubs at Norman High School and Norman North High School have participated in a wide variety of cultural activities. Wolf has also presented tribal sovereignty seminars for Oklahoma History classes at the high schools.
A Norman High School graduate, Wolf earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Oklahoma 1971. He earned a juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 1975.
Wolf entered into the partnership of Henson and Wolf in Shawnee, emphasizing a general law practice. He later formed the partnership of Wolf and Wolf with his father, Silas Wolf, Sr., in Norman, Okla. This partnership lasted until his father died in 1996.
Wolf is also a master instructor with the Ching Yi Kung Fu Association and holds black belts in other martial arts. He operates the Ching Yi Kung Fu Academy associated with Norman Parks and Recreation. He has also taught martial arts for the Chickasaw Nation. He is also an experienced cyclist and has bicycled across much of the U.S., Canada and Europe.
He keeps in constant touch with the language and cultural programs of the Chickasaw Nation, as well as participating in stomp dances of the tribe.
Wolf and his wife live in Norman.