Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Chickasaw citizen Savannah Burwell receives 40 under 40 award


Savannah Burwell is serious about her responsibility for guarding and uplifting of the literary voice of her community.

A Chickasaw citizen who resides in Oklahoma City, Burwell is the content manager for the Chickasaw Nation Literary Arts Division. She oversees the writing, editing, gathering, recording and managing of content produced by her division.

"Savannah is essential to the division," said Joe Thomas, executive officer of the literary arts division. "She brings necessary organizational and managerial leadership which has contributed to the success of our division."

Each year, 40 First American leaders under the age of 40 are awarded by National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development for their leadership, initiative and dedication to their communities. Recipients are successful in one of many categories, including academics, tourism, government, nonprofits and more.

A recipient ceremony took place in Las Vegas in May at the Cromwell Hotel.

"The event coincides with the RES, which is the Reservation Economic Summit," Ms. Burwell said. "I am very excited to learn more about what is going on in Indian Country and to network with the different tribal leaders, state and local officials, and other awardees featured."

To all aspiring Chickasaw leaders, Ms. Burwell says to both "know and live by your values. Take all opportunities. Always be teachable and willing to learn."

She lives by the Chickasaw Nation core values. "We have perseverance. We have a warrior tradition. We will never quit. We are Chickasaw, and so many that have come before you live by that mentality. If you do too, you can accomplish anything," she said.

Burwell, a previous Chickasaw Princess, said that honor marked a starting point in her career path.

"I'm grateful for everything I have achieved but being selected as Chickasaw Princess in 2013 is something that I am most proud of," Ms. Burwell said. "This started my path of leadership and allowed me to learn the importance of serving my people."

Outside of work, Ms. Burwell remains a literature lover, enjoying mystery and drama. You can also find her volunteering, playing golf and running 5Ks. She recently completed the Chickasaw Nation-sponsored Chokfi Malili (Rabbit Run) with her family in Purcell, Oklahoma.

About the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development

The NCAIED works to create business opportunities for all First American tribes and people of North America. It was started as a resource for First American businesses in the 60s when such resources were nearly nonexistent. NCAIED advocates for First American people, protecting the programs that help them grow and prosper. To learn more about the Native American 40 Under 40 Award and find the other 2022 recipients, visit


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