CARNEGIE, OKLAHOMA – Bacone College conferred an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on one of the Kiowa Tribes’ most esteemed elders, Dr. Phil “Joe Fish” Dupoint, on Saturday in an outdoor ceremony held at the Kiowa Tribe headquarters in Carnegie, Oklahoma.

“Bacone College recognizes Phil “Joe Fish” Dupoint as a cultural treasure of the Kiowa people. His eminent knowledge, experience, and expertise of Kiowa history, culture, language, philosophy, and ceremonies deem him an important and valuable Indigenous  Scholar, Teacher, and Leader,” said Bacone College President Dr. Ferlin Clark. “He has made a lifetime contribution to the cultural, spiritual, and ceremonial health and well-being of the Kiowa people for many generations.”

“We are proud to honor Mr. Fish for his dedicated service to improving the lives of people in our Native American communities,” Clark said. “We cannot stress enough the importance of making all tribes stronger through the sharing of cultural knowledge and beliefs.”

Saturday’s honoring ceremony took place outdoors in Carnegie in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in order to offer more social distancing opportunities so Dr. Dupoint’s family and friends could safely attend.

The ceremony featured the posting of the colors by the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society and Kiowa singers led by Daniel Cozad Sr. Lonnie Emhoolah offered the opening prayer, while Mr. Cozad offered the closing prayer.

Dr. Clark, Bacone College Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Beverly Jean Smith, Bacone College trustees: Neely Tsoodle and Chairman Matthew Komalty, conferred the degree on Dr. Dupoint.

Also in attendance were National Indian Education Association Executive Director Diana Cournoyer,  Mrs. Gwen Clark, Bacone College School of Indian Art Director Gerald Cournoyer, Bacone College CFO Mary Jo Pratt, interim Bacone College Vice President of Student Affairs Jana Taylor, and Bacone Center for American Indians Director Aaron Adson, special organizer of the event. 

Bacone College next honors the Osage Gaming Board Chairman Mark J. Simms with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters later this month.

The Kiowa Tribe and the Osage Nation are two of the college’s chartering tribes.

For a photo album of today’s event, please visit

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Wendy Burton, director of college relations, at [email protected] or 918-360-3866.