Carmelita began her career at IHCRC in 1976 when she helped survey residents to assess health needs of the local urban Indian population. Survey results showed medical needs of Tulsa’s Native Americans were not being met. When she was hired as one of IHCRC’s original four employees, the agency provided referral services only. Within a year, the first medical services were offered. During her tenure with IHCRC, Carmelita has worn many hats, including Clinic Administrator and, since 1989, Chief Executive Officer.
During the past 45 years she has been the recipient of many awards, including (1) “Outstanding Community Leadership of the Year,” presented by the Oklahoma Native American Business Development Center, 1998; (2) an award for significant contributions in improving the health of American Indian and Alaska Natives presented by the National Indian Health Board, 1999; (3) the national Council of Urban Indian Health “Outstanding Program of the Year” award, 2002; (4) Maxine Cissel Horner Spirit of Community Excellence Award, 2003: (5) a Women in Communication Annual Newsmaker, 2011; (6) a Women of the Year Pinnacle Award winner; (7) a YWCA 100 Women of Moxie, 2014; (8) a Dan Allen Social Justice Award Winner, 2016; (9) City of Tulsa “Carmelita Skeeter Day” Proclamation, 2019; and (10) Kenneth Anquoe Lifetime Achievement Dream Keeper Award, 2021.
Carmelita has dedicated her life to the issues affecting Native Americans. She is never without drive and determination to add to and enhance the many services already provided by Indian Health Care Resource Center. She is admired and respected by the IHCRC patients, former and current staff, and the Board of Trustees. Indian Health Care would not be such a vital resource to the Tulsa community without the vision and leadership of Carmelita Skeeter.