Colbert Franklin Hackler is a Chickasaw music educator and performer. He was born in 1918 in Mannsville, Oklahoma, and began playing the violin at age six. Hackler used his talents and passion for music to pursue a career in music education. He obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music education from Oklahoma City University. Hackler’s first job upon completing his education was serving as an instructor of music. He worked in the Elk City Public Schools system for 23 years, teaching both instrumental music and voice.
Hackler later moved to Norman, Oklahoma, to continue teaching music, and he went on to receive his master’s and doctorate degrees in music education from the University of Oklahoma. Hackler taught at the University of Oklahoma Laboratory School for 12 years, and he started teaching at the OU main campus in 1972. Hackler retired from teaching at OU in 1981 after a career in music that spanned over 60 years. He continues to share his gift of music by performing and teaching violin to young children in the Norman community.
The talented musician is one of the 24 Chickasaw elders honored in Chickasaw artist Mike Larsen’s portrait series entitled: “I Am Very Proud to Be Chickasaw.” The paintings were displayed at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 2009. Hackler’s portrait, titled “The Fiddle Player,” illustrated the musician with a charismatic smile and holding his violin.
Hackler was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2010. He was honored for his musical accomplishments and proud Chickasaw heritage.