A self-taught artist who honed his skills using Oklahoma clay straight from the earth

Clayburn Straughn is a renowned sculptor of Chickasaw heritage. He was born in 1923 to Frances Carlton Straughn (an original Chickasaw enrollee). His great-grandfather was one of the members of the Old Chickasaw Nation who relocated to Oklahoma during the Great Removal of 1837. Straughn grew up during the Great Depression, and the self-taught artist honed his skills using Oklahoma clay straight from the earth. The artist had no formal training but displayed a vast amount of talent in many different art mediums.

His work is now exhibited in various collections throughout the country, including in The Five Civilized Tribes Museum, The Oklahoma Governor's Gallery, The Philbrook Museum and the Chickasaw Nation Museum.Straughn passed away in July of 1985 at the age of 61. The Clayburn Straughn Native American Art Show, created by his wife in 1988, paid tribute to the artist and his life accomplishments. The greatest American Indian artists from around the United States also came together to honor Straughn and exhibit their work at his art show, held during the Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival.

Straughn was the second Chickasaw to be elected to the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame in 1989. The entire collection of the artist’s Clayburn Straughn Bronzes currently belongs to the Chickasaw Nation and is on display at the Chickasaw Council House Museum.


  • Second Chickasaw to be inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 1989
  • Honored in the Clayburn Straughn Native American Art Show
  • Honored with the title “Master Artist” by the Five Civilized Tribes Museum
  • Awarded Artist of the Month at the Oklahoma State Capitol (1980)
  • Named “Honored One” at the Red Earth Festival
  • Work exhibited at the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Heard Museum, the Governor’s Gallery at the Oklahoma State Capitol and at various other shows across the country
  • Work exhibited internationally in Europe, the British Isles and South America