Chickasaw elder Tewanna Edwards has served her community and her tribe in multiple roles, including positions with the State of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation. Since 2004 she has been a peacemaker for the Chickasaw Nation District Court Peacemaking Division, which is a forum for resolving conflicts using Chickasaw traditions, customs and culture.
As an employee with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority since 2014, Edwards has connected Oklahoma tribes with grants and programs so individuals in assisted living situations can regain access to more independent living. She's also served as liaison for Money Follows the Person Tribal Living Choice, a federally funded program designed to transition individuals with disabilities and long-term illnesses from institutions back into their homes.
Edwards comes from a long line of accomplished Chickasaws and Choctaws. Her great-grandmother was a traditional Chickasaw healer and her great uncle, Otis W. Leader, was a famed Choctaw code talker in World War I. She is deeply committed to the preservation of Chickasaw history and culture, narrating and appearing in Chickasaw.tv documentaries such as "Elders Speak" and the award-winning "Winter Fire: And Our Mothers Cried," where she recounted her time at Carter Indian Boarding School in Ardmore.
She founded Fellowship American Indian Church alongside her late husband, Dr. John Edwards, which focused its ministry efforts on providing food and necessities to underprivileged children. She has served on the Oklahoma AARP's Executive Council and the Human Relations Committee for the City of Chickasha. In 2009 she was a recipient of the AARP's first Indian Elder award and in November 2021, AARP Oklahoma established the Dr. John and Tewanna Edwards Leadership Award.