Jo Ann Kessel, an Oklahoma Choctaw, received her Associate of Arts at Christian College in Columbia, Missouri, and Bachelor of Arts and Master of Social Work degrees from the University of Oklahoma. She worked with children and families in adoption, foster care, parenting classes, and school social work as clinical social worker, as well as Consultant with the Indian Education Program at the Oklahoma City Public Schools.

As Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma, she managed a child welfare student training program and developed and taught courses in family and Indian Child Welfare.

Her appreciation for Indian and western art, combined with a love of history, has allowed her to showcase her contemporary Indian fashions at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum banquet sponsored by the Cowbelles Auxiliary of the National Cattlemen’s Association, on the late Jerome Bushyhead’s television program UNITY, and at Indian arts shows throughout the southwest.

A docent at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Kessel’s other hobbies are travel, reading, riding, and breeding and showing smooth standard dachshunds.