It is with great honor that Delaware Nation would recognize Mary Dean Rice, the last living tribal citizen allottee of 169 original allottees and their siblings considered as possessing 4/4 degree of Delaware Nation Indian Blood. She is the great-granddaughter of Black Beaver!

Mary Rice was raised on a farm in Verden, Oklahoma on land allotted to her mother and father. Growing up, Mary had to walk to school and she lived a mile from town. She remembers seeing and riding the school bus. She worked in the fields with the mules and helped with the family’s cotton and corn crops. Mary’s tasks were completed by using mules and driving tractors. She did everything on the farm that there was to do!

Ms. Rice and her husband of 50 years, Edward, once lived in California and were known as “rock hounds.” Before moving to California, they resided in Maysville, OK. They would travel to the desert and dig up rocks to break, grind, polish, and cut for a stone dealer in Pasadena, California. Edward passed in 1994, leaving Mary to sell their home in California and move to Purcell, OK, where she currently resides.

Mary Rice is proud of her sewing, knitting, and traveling hobbies. Mary loved traveling to Hawaii in the 80s. She is well-known for making 300 “lap quilts” by hand, which were donated to dialysis patients in Texas, with the help of her talented niece, Joy.

June 16 is annually declared “Mary D. Rice Day” by a 2018 proclamation signed and approved by the Delaware Nation Executive Committee. Her 106th birthday is May 25. Happy Birthday!

Wanìshi, Mary, for all of your contributions to the Tribe and to your local communities!