Jess Green, an attorney and citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, who dedicated his life to advocating for Native American people lost his battle with neuroendocrine carcinoma on September 8, 2012. He was 59.
He was born September 21, 1952 to in Ada, Oklahoma to J. L. and Mary Jo Green and graduated from McLish High School in Fittstown, Oklahoma in 1970. In 1974, he graduated with honors from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma and in 1977 he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma School of Law.
Green’s law career spanned more than 30 years. He served in the first Chickasaw legislature and was legislative chairman while also serving as Pontotoc County Associate District Judge. Soon after the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978, Green started the first juvenile court with the Comanche Tribe.
Green argued in the Tenth Circuit Court in the MegaMania case and the Seneca-Cayuga case, both of which led to Class II gaming as it is known today in Oklahoma.
His experience also includes eight years as a state district court judge, he served as a tribal court prosecutor, a tribal court trial judge, and chief justice of a tribal supreme court.
Green was honored with a number of awards throughout his career including being inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame in 2011 and was given a National Indian Gaming Association Lifetime Achievement Award this year.
“Jess Green was a brother, friend, colleague, and advocate for Indian country and has shown tireless dedication on behalf of Indian sovereignty, and a selfless commitment to Indian economic development in his work as an attorney representing Indian country in the private practice of law second to none. We honor his strong commitment to Indian country,” NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. said in a statement.
Green is survived by his wife, Nancy McAlister Green of Ada; parents, J. L. and Mary Jo Thomas Green of Ada; daughter, Destiny Jade Green of Austin, Texas; son, Judd Lawrence Green of Ada; stepdaughter, Charity Risner of Ada; granddaughter, Nixie Eppler of Ada; grandson, Van Risner of Ada; sister, Melissa Green Wilkerson and her husband, Richard, of Sunshine; sister-in-law, Sharon McAlister of Henryetta; brother-in-law, Gerald McAlister and his wife, Doreen, of Ada; brother-in-law, Jerry McAlister of Oklahoma City; niece, Keisha Sweeney Factor and her husband, Terry, of Ada; niece, Kristin Barbour of Ada; niece, Kandi Stuckey and her husband, Matt, of Edmond; nephew, Jeff McAlister of Ada; niece, Natalie Richards of Ada; nephew, Jerry Richards of Tribbey; niece, Amy Drescher and husband, John, of Ada; special “Mom,” Georgia Stewart of Fittstown; special “brother,” Jimmy Don Barlow of Tulsa; lifetime friends Steve Gregory, Ron Davidson, David Hatton and Eddie Easterling; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws and friends.
Services were held Wednesday, September 10 at Chickasaw Nation Community Center in Ada, Oklahoma.