Trey Hays

I am the elementary general music teacher at Tishomingo. I started writing a book about a turtle who gets turned over in 2002 and got it published with Chickasaw/White Dog Press in 2018! I wasn’t writing the entire time, of course; I had to eat and sleep:) I actually finished the very short story in 2002 as a college class assignment and turned it in with only four of the characters.

Fast forward to 2014, when I told a fellow teacher about the story at Quartz Mountain, during the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute, a free workshop for teachers. The fellow teacher told me I should add to the story and make it a real book.

After that suggestion, I had notepad and pencil, six-year-old son Jax, and several animal puppets from the Chickasaw Tribe. We sat at a picnic table, while my wife, Lindsey, and an eighteen-year-old son, Quade, slept in the cabin at McGee Creek. We named all the puppets and thought of how each one might help Little Turtle turn back over.

The next thing you know, I had written a full-length book and sent it to my really great friend to be illustrated. He illustrated it using Southeastern Indian design for his artwork, I submitted it, and the process culminated to Little Loksi’s book birthday of October 5th, 2018!

Loksi is Chickasaw for Turtle. All the animals are given their Chickasaw names. The Chickasaw Language Committee even made a new word for porcupine for my book!


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