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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Guy A. Jennison
(2012.201.B0318B.0325, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).

JENNISON, GUY ALTON (1886–1967).

Chief for a thirty-year period that culminated in the termination of the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, Guy Alton Jennison was born on March 20, 1886, on the Ottawa Reservation near present Miami, Oklahoma, to Walter Jennison, a white Union veteran, and Catherine Wind Jennison, the daughter of Chief James Wind of the Ottawa.

Educated at the Quapaw Mission School, Chilocco Indian School, and Haskell Institute, Guy Jennison left Haskell in 1907 to take over his allotment. He soon established himself as a successful dairy farmer. On the tribal council from 1912, in 1929 he rose to the position of chief. During his tenure the Ottawas established a constitution under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act and inaugurated claims before the Indian Claims Commission. From 1940 to 1946 Jennison also served as an Ottawa County commissioner.

After Congress passed House Concurrent Resolution 108 in 1953, the policy of termination aimed to eliminate federal recognition and services for Indians, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs targeted the small, well-integrated tribes of Ottawa County, Oklahoma. Without full tribal consultation on the issue, Congress passed legislation that would terminate the Ottawa Tribe in 1956. As a result, in 1959 Jennison led the Ottawas to incorporate under a state charter. Jennison died on October 9, 1967, and is buried in the Ottawa Indian Cemetery in Ottawa County, Oklahoma.

David Dry


Joseph H. Cash and Gerald W. Wolff, The Ottawa People (Phoenix, Ariz.: Indian Tribal Series, 1976).

Guy Jennison, "Ottawas' Chief Airs Indian Problems," Miami (Oklahoma) Daily News-Record, 22 January 1954.

"Guy A. Jennison's Rites Wednesday," Miami Daily News-Record, 10 October 1967.

Roberta Ulrich, American Indian Nations from Termination to Restoration, 1953–2006 (Lincoln, Neb: University of Nebraska Press, 2013).

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
David Dry, “Jennison, Guy Alton,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=JE011.

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