Final Chief of the Quapaw Nation
News about his death was published in the Joplin Globe & in the Miami Daily News Record.
Friday, April 11, 1958
Chief Victor Griffin Of Quapaw Tribe Dies
QUAPAW, Okla. - Victor Griffin,chief of the Quapaw Indian tribe of Ottawa county, Oklahoma,died at his home in Quapaw early Thurday morning. Chief Griffin was approximately B5 years old,although he did not know his exact age.
Born in the Osage nation in Indian territory on Quapaw creek where most of the Quapaws originally located, Mr. Griffin was left an orphan at an early age. He was reared by his grandmother, Mary Stafford, who was over 100 years old when she died. It was under Mrs. Stafford's instruction that Chief Griffin was schooled in the traditions and ceremonies of the ancient Quapaw tribe.
In his early days he was an interpreter for the old full-blooded Quapaws, who at that time wore their hair in braids and dressed in semi-Indian fashion. He received his English education in the Quapaw Indian schools and had hosts of friends among both the early pioneer white men as well as the Indians.
Chief Griffin always strove to keep alive the old Indian traditions and customs and it was near his residence on Spring river at the Devil's Promenade where the old time Indian stomp dances were held.
He was very active in Indian affairs as well as associations with groups of the white race. A highlight of Chief Griffin's life was during the term of President Theodore Roosevelt, when he made numerous trips to Washington on behalf of the Indians. Since that time, Mr. Griffin frequented Washington many times as an Indian representative in controversial issues.
Chief Griffin was one of the last of the old time Quapaw Indians. He was a full-blooded Indian, his ancestors being Quapaw and Osage. He was probably one of the most colorful and best known Indians in the territory.
A member of Quapaw lodge, A.F. & A.M., he also was a thirty-second degree member of the Masonic consistory at McAlester,
Okla., and was a member of the Akdar Shrine of Tulsa.
Surviving are two sons, Sidney Griffin of Lawton. Okla., Hayes Griffin of Wichita, Kan.: two daughters. Mrs. Ardena Buerkey of Quapaw and Mrs. Victoria Waters of Quapaw; 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be conducted at 10:30 o'clock Monday morning at the Promenade Baptist church, located near Devil's Promenade. Simon Henderson of Fairfax, Okla., a pastor of the American Indian church of which Mr. Griffin was a member, will officiate.
Masonic services will be conducted by members of the Masonic lodge of Quapaw. The body will lie in state at the home from 10 o'clock Friday morning until the funeral hour."
Miami Daily News Record
Thursday, April 10, 1958
"Death Claims Chief Griffin
QUAPAW (Special) — William Victor Griffin, for 29 years chief of the Quapaw Indians, died at 8 a.m. today at his home here following a long illness. He was 78 years old.
Widely known in Indian circles, Chief Griffin had spent his entire lifetime in or near this town which was named for his tribe.
Elected chief in April of 1929 following the death of John Quapaw, Griffin was a well-educated man and for several years served as official interpreter for his tribe. He made many trips to Washington in the interest of Quapaw affairs.
Surviving are two sons, Sidney Griffin, Lawton, and Hayes Griffin, Wichita; two daughters, Mrs. Ardina Buergey, and Mrs. Victoria Waters, both of Quapaw; 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
The body was received by the Hunter mortuary of Picher. Funeral arrangements were incomplete early this afternoon.
Tribal history notes that Griffin was the first Quapaw chief in history to wear short hair and was referred to as 'the shorthaired chief.'
The tribal leader, however,was keenly interested in preserving tribal traditions and he made a striking appearance in his chief's robes.
He was a member of the Baptist church at Devil's Promenade and of several Masonic orders, including the Quapaw lodge, consistory at McAlester and Akdar Shrine, Tulsa.
Chief Griffin was commonly known as Victor or Vic rather than by his formal first name, William.He was a leader in a Native Indian church and was instrumental in having it incorporated under Oklahoma laws in 1911. Articles of the church specified the use of peyote as a sacrament.
In August, 1956, the old Quapaw Tribal Council which Griffin had headed for 30 years, was replaced by a Tribal Business Council at the request of federal Indian affairs officials.
Robert Whitebird Sr. was ? head of the business committee. A resolution establishing the committee praised Griffin's
services In the interest of the tribe. It mentioned that the chief had conferred with every President of the United States during his tenure of leadership.
Griffin was chief of some 900 Quapaws of whom about one-eighth are full-bloods."
Created by: Virginia Brown
Record added: Dec 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 102237692