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First name: Dora photo
Last name: Patzkowski
E-mail: dora-patzkowski@cherokee.org
Web site:

P.O. Box 3201
Bartlesville, OK 74006
Cell 918-316-5216

Born to Cherokee and Caucasian parents, Dora Smith Patzkowski was raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in the Cherokee Nation. With a full-blood Cherokee mother, who was also a Cherokee Language teacher long before the Cherokee Nation established their language program, Dora grew up understanding the struggle of the Cherokee people to make their way in a modern society which maintains many opposing views of Indian people. Dora understands both the need for Cherokee people to excel in modern, Eurocentric society, while maintaining traditional Cherokee identity and values.

Dora is able to look back at a venerated line of Cherokee ancestors, including her mother Betty Sharp Smith, and Betty’s parents, Jim Gann Sharp and Jennie Foreman Sharp. Of earlier generations are Jim’s parents John Sharp and Watie Daugherty. Watie had a son named John Gann which provided Jim with strong ties into the Gann family, resulting in him taking their last name as his middle name. Jennie’s parents were Samuel Foreman and Lizzie Bigfeather. The two racial backgrounds of Dora’s parents provided her with invaluable insight of the perseverance required to prosper as a family, and understand that different ethnicities can coexist with love, and without prejudice.

Dora is the wife of Wes Patzkowski and in May of 2019, they will celebrate 40 years of marriage. The mother of two children, Joshua and Amy, Dora is the proud grandmother of six grandchildren, two of which are foster children. Joshua and his wife, Ashley, have blessed the family with Cash, Elliot and Winslow; and Amy and her husband, Joseph, increase that blessing with Layla. These family members reside in District 12 of the Cherokee Nation.

Introduced by her mother to Cherokee National Treasure, Kathryn Kelley, in 2001, Dora was privileged to be tutored in the art of traditional Cherokee double-wall basketry. Personally gathering and processing honeysuckle and buck brush as weaving material instilled an appreciation for, and the patience required, to resolve challenging situations with calmness and self-assurance. Her preferred dyes for weaving materials include walnut hull, bloodroot, and sumac berries, which she has demonstrated the use of in many museums and cultural events.

During the years which Dora lived in the Oklahoma City area, she was a member of the OKC Community Group and a board member of Oklahoma Native American Basketweavers Association (ONAB), participating in several art shows. Included were the prestigious Red Earth, Tribe’s Gallery and Jacobson House.

From Dora’s earliest age, her mother was a member of the Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club where Dora participated in events, absorbing a broad native culture, and forming warm friendships with elders. She has been a member, board member, secretary, and chairperson of the Washington County Cherokee Association since 2010, where she is an essential constituent of the association. Dora Smith Patzkowski’s involvement in the Cherokee and Native Community has been an unceasing and lifelong passion which continues today.