Leaford Bearskin

Leaford Bearskin
Chief of the Wyandotte Nation
In office
September 1983 – May 31, 2011
Personal details
Born September 11, 1921
Wyandotte, Oklahoma
Died November 9, 2012 (aged 91)
Wyandotte, Oklahoma
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
Years of service 1939–1960
Rank US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
Unit 90th Bombardment Group
Strategic Air Command
Fifteenth Air Force
Battles/wars World War II
Berlin Airlift
Korean War

Leaford Bearskin (September 11, 1921 – November 9, 2012) was a Native American tribal leader and US Air Force officer. He was Chief of the Wyandotte Nation from 1983 to 2011.

Military service

During the Second World War, Captain Bearskin was the commander of a B-24 Liberator bomber, operating in the Pacific. In 1948 he assisted in the Berlin Airlift as a squadron commander. During the Korean War he again served as a squadron commander. In 1960 Bearskin retired from the service with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Amongst his many honors and citations were the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Medal for Humane Action.[1][2]

Military awards

Chief of the Wyandotte Nation

In September 1983, Bearskin was elected Chief of the Wyandotte Nation. He served as Chief for 29 years, until his death in 2012.[2]

The new Chief, Bill Friend, said of his predecessor: "His influence has not only been felt by our Nation, but throughout the state of Oklahoma and across the United States. He was a loyal and fierce advocate of tribal sovereignty and rights for not only the Wyandotte Nation, but for all tribes across this great nation."[1]


  1. ^ a b "Wyandotte Chief Bearskin dies". Wyandotte Daily News. 2012-11-11. Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
  2. ^ a b "Leaford Bearskin". wyandotte-nation.org. Retrieved 2012-11-11.

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