In the past four decades, Mary Jo Thomas Green has helped fulfill the tribal mission to enhance Chickasaw lives in a wide-range of roles—from helping establish the first Chickasaw Senior Citizens program to serving six consecutive terms in the Chickasaw Nation Legislature.
Mary Jo began her service to the Chickasaw Nation 40 years ago assisting Chickasaw citizens seeking employment through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). In 1980, she was instrumental in launching the first Chickasaw Senior Citizens’ Nutrition Program.
Her work with elders was recognized in 1986 when she was awarded the Outstanding Employee in the State of Aging Network, and again in 1993 when she was awarded Professional of the Year in the Field of Aging. She was honored with the Indian Health Service Director’s Award in 1994. A year later, she received the Betsy D. Smith Award for her work as the Chickasaw Nation Senior Citizen Program Coordinator.
After serving more than 21 years as a Chickasaw Nation employee, Mary Jo was elected as a Chickasaw Tribal Legislator in 1998. She ultimately served six consecutive terms in the legislature and became the chairperson for the Chickasaw Legislature Health Care Committee during the planning, financing and construction of the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center. After dedicating more than 39 years of service to the Chickasaw Nation and the Chickasaw people, she retired in 2016.
She was born April 18, 1934 to John Thomas and Julia Elizabeth Kennedy-Thomas, in the Fitzhugh, Oklahoma area on her mother’s Indian allotment. She graduated from Fitzhugh High School and attended East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.