MIAMI, Okla. —
Seneca Black Elk Mathews wanted to get his degree from Oklahoma State University.
He never got the chance. The 27-year-old was killed on Feb. 10 after an auto accident, where his vehicle was struck by a drunken driver.
Originally, funds donated in Seneca’s name went toward tornado recovery relief efforts, said J R Mathews, a former chair of the Quapaw Tribe. But people close to the family recommended a change.
“The recovery will be done one day, and we wanted Seneca’s memory to live on,” Mathews said. “He always wanted to go to Oklahoma State, so we decided to honor Seneca by helping others with the same dream.”
A fundraising concert will be held Tuesday to set up a scholarship fund in Seneca’s name. Money raised will establish a scholarship endowment at Oklahoma State University, the school where J R Mathews said his son wanted to attend.
Seneca had worked at Downstream Casino as a shift manager for table games, and at Quapaw Casino. Both of those casinos made donations for the concert, Mathews said Ñ officials with Downstream covered travel expenses for the three artists, and Quapaw officials covered the rental fee for the theater.
The concert will feature the following artists:
Bobby Bridger, a singer-songwriter who has performed a one-man show around the world. He has appeared on “Austin City Limits,” “Good Morning America,” NPR, and has recorded numerous albums. Known for performing in buckskin, Bridger sings songs about Western and Native American culture. He is also a poet, actor, playwright, author and painter.
Mathews said Bridger knew Seneca all his life, and that the concert was his idea.
- Williams and Ree, a comedy duo who have performed together since the late ’60s. Known as “The Indian and the White Guy,” the two have performed with Garth Brooks, the Oak Ridge Boys and Tim McGraw.
- Guitarist John Inmon, who has performed with Jerry Jeff Walker, Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, the Lost Gonzo Band, Michael Martin Murphy and Joe Ely.
In addition to setting up the scholarship, the concert will pay tribute to Seneca, who was remembered for his mischievous grin and contagious love of life.
Mathews said his son was the smartest person he knew, and that his son was always moved to help other people. After the May 22, 2011, tornado, Seneca used Mathews’ truck for a few consecutive weeks in order to help Downstream employees who were tornado victims.
“After his shift, he would get a couple of hours sleep,” Mathews said. “He’d then head right out and help who he could, picking up stuff and clearing debris.”
Want to go?
Tribute Concert for Seneca Black Elk Mathews will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Coleman Theatre. Tickets range from $10 to $25. Proceeds will benefit the Seneca Black Elk Mathews Scholarship at Oklahoma State University. Details: 417-918-540-2425.