Born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on September 10, 1910, to Guy Keel (Chickasaw Roll No. 1866) and Lula Potts Keel (Chickasaw Roll No. 1867), Juanita was the tenth of 12 children. At birth, her father gave her the Chickasaw name "Foshi," which she always cherished. She is a great-great-grandchild of Cyrus Harris, the first governor of the Chickasaw Nation; and a great-grandchild of Edmund Pickens, first elected chief of the Chickasaw Nation.