While serving as the elected Governor of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, I hired Dr. Richard G. Benefield as director of the tribal social services.  I hold four degrees, including the Doctoral of Education from Arizona State University.  I  also served in education services of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for many years.  My education and experience enabled me to recognize the educational accomplishments of Benefield.  (Benefield, because of his education in many different arts and sciences, and because he taught courses in so many areas of study, has been called a twentieth century Renaissance Man, now one of the 21st century).  He did a superb job as director of the social services, and he did a great job of teaching college and university courses for the Tribe.  His Indian background contributes to his understanding of Indian problems and programs.  I am Absentee Shawnee and Seminole.  My wife is Choctaw and Chickasaw.  We greatly appreciate Benefield's contribution to the study of American Indian history and culture.  He has boundless energy and is dedicated to the intellectual life.  I expect his future contributions to be greater than his accomplishments to this point.
Dr. John L. Edwards
BIA, Retired
Shawnee, Oklahoma
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