Chief Dee Ketchum was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and grew up knowing he
was Delaware Indian and is proud of it. Some of Chief Ketchum's vital statistics
include being a descendant of Captain Curleyhead from his mother's family and of
Chief Ketchum from his father's family. His brother, Lew Ketchum served 12 years
as Chief of the tribe, prior
to his untimely death in 1995. Chief Ketchum's wife, Annette, is Delaware. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
He is a graduate of Bartlesville High School in Bartlesville, Oklahoma,
where he was all-conference in football, all-state in basketball, and Captain of
the state championship golf team. Chief Ketchum attended the University of
Kansas (K.U.), played basketball there for four years, three years as a starter
and was co-captain of a Big-Eight champion team in
his senior year. He has a Bachelor's degree in Education, a minor in Language Arts, and a Master's degree in Psychology and Counseling from K.U. Chief Ketchum has spent 11 years as an educator and coach and 27 years as a business man.
He has worked as a counselor, athletic director, regional sales director, vice-president of sales and part-owner of Red Man Pipe and Supply Company - a successful minority owned business.
Chief Ketchum has served 14 years as a Trustee at Haskell Indian Nations
University Foundation, is a member of the University of Kansas Lettermen Club,
the Association of American Indian Affairs and the National Congress of American
Indians. He has also served for six years as Chairman and Co-Chairman of the
Indian Summer Festival,
Northeastern Oklahoma's Premiere Native American Celebration. Chief Ketchum is a member of the Lenape Gourd Society and the Southern Eagle Ridge Singers. Prior to being elected to Chief, he served 10 years on the Tribal Council and three years on the Trust Board. He presently presides over the Trust Board as its Chairman.
Chief Ketchum is active in the day-to-day functions of the Delaware Tribe of
Indians and is working hard to preserve the culture of the tribe. He knows the
songs and dances and is a student of the Lenape language. He assists Delaware
Tribe Ceremonial Chief Leonard Thompson in Delaware tribal ceremonies and
activities. He represents the tribe
at meetings, seminars and symposiums in state and national events. He was recently invited to attend the Commemoration Ceremony of the new Sacagawea Dollar Coin at the White House. Chief Ketchum had the honor of presenting a friendship blanket to the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, during the meeting.
As a former educator, Chief Ketchum is active in developing a tribal economic base to provide for the education of the young. He is also interested in providing care for tribal elders and creating new job opportunities for Delawares. Chief Ketchum has been instrumental in acquiring the new 42,500 square foot tribal headquarters building and a land purchase for the recently built tribal complex and Child Care Center. He is trying to originate a progressive plan that would target a project for each year until the tribal short-range and long-range goals are met.
Three men have inspired Chief Ketchum. They are his father, his brother Lew and Ceremonial Chief Leonard Thompson. He regards Ceremonial Chief Thompson as a mentor. "Leonard has inspired me to serve my people because there aren't very many of us left, " said Ketchum. "I have watched my relative, who is 94 years old, just give and give to us Delawares and he expects nothing in return but to help people. I hope I can follow his example well."