Many rumors have been spreading in the Osage blogosphere about a 1995 Playboy issue featuring Osage Nation assistant principal chief runoff candidate Amanda Proctor.
Proctor, 35, said it’s true, she posed for Playboy when she was 20-years-old while attending Harvard University in Cambridge, Ma. The runoff election for assistant principal chief is Monday and her opponent, Scott BigHorse, had no comment for this story.
Proctor’s opponents have spread such rumors that she was nude in the photo, that she had worn only select pieces of Native regalia and called into question her moral character.
“I never imagined that my picture would appear in the magazine, but a picture of me did appear on one-eighth of one page,” she said. “Those who have not seen the picture enjoy speculating that I was nude, that I was the centerfold or that I was wearing selective pieces of my Native American regalia. Those who have seen the picture have had no problem with it.”
In the photo Proctor is fully covered. She is wearing a pink sweater with a sheer pink shirt underneath. At the time she posed for the photo she said she was overweight and the photographers had her cover her mid-section with a blanket. Proctor said she was one out of 10 girls chosen to appear in the magazine. She was among more than 300 girls that posed and was paid $300.
At the time she was a broke college student whose parents couldn’t help her financially. Harvard is one of the most expensive college institutions in the world and with a mother who is a teacher and a father who works in construction, $300 was a lot of money, she said. Proctor said that while attending Harvard she worked four jobs simultaneously.
“I re-shelved books at the largest academic library in the Nation, safeguarded Native American objects at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology, worked as a Secretary for the Economics Department and sold clothes at an off-campus retail store,” she said.
The photo appeared in the 1995 October issue of Playboy that featured female college students who attended Ivy League colleges. An article in Harvard’s school newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, featured an interview with Proctor. In the article she said she had been talked into posing by her boyfriend but she suffered repercussions and backlash from not only other college students but also the Native community.
Her boyfriend couldn’t handle the attention she was receiving and consequently broke up with her and she felt pressure to step down as co-chair of Harvard’s Native American association, according to the article.
“For me, the most interesting part of the picture is the caption,” Proctor said. “The caption indicates that my career aspiration is to become a lawyer and that my future law practice would involve advancing the civil rights of racial minorities. That is exactly what I have done and what I am doing.”
The Osage blogosphere
On osageshareholders.org, where Proctor is a regular contributor, some have taken shots at Proctor for posing in the magazine and others have come to her defense.
On Election Day June 7 an anonymous poster remarked that Proctor’s posing in Playboy made her unable to be the Nation’s assistant principal chief and showed that she was someone of bad character. “Is that the best you can do?” wrote Kelly Bray, an Osage from Long Beach, Calif. “. . . That would be 15 [plus] years ago. What does that have to do with today? She has proven over and over she is a hardworking, intelligent attorney, and loving parent. She has my 100 [percent] support yesterday, today, and tomorrow and will make a great Assistant Principal Chief.”
A poster responded that Bray was suggesting what happens in the past should stay in the past and if that were true Bray would let Virgil Griffin, the imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, be his accountant. Bray said, “Are you trying to equate this silly college fling with real ethical lapses? Time, proportion, and subject are what intelligent people use to decide the moral implications of someone’s acts. You should try being an intelligent individual instead of trying to be a sleaze ball throwing last minute mud.”
If elected, Proctor would be the Nation’s first female assistant principal chief. She received the second highest number of votes to be in the runoff election, beating Everett Waller, Cecelia Tallchief, Osage Congressman Anthony Shackelford and Jeff Irons.
Proctor is a single mother of three children under the age of 10. She is the attorney of record for the case Fletcher vs. United States. The plaintiffs in the case, William Sam Fletcher and Charles Pratt, are asking for all Osage minerals shares that are in non-Osage possession be returned to the tribe. Something Proctor believes in and openly advocates for.
Proctor is the co-founder of Tulsa-based Shield Law Group PLC, which focuses on representing Native American tribes and organizations. She represents nine area tribes, which includes serving as general counsel for the Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation (Okla.) as well as the Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority. She is licensed to practice law in the tribal courts for the Osage, Iowa, Ponca, Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee Nations.
She was selected to be in Super Lawyers magazine in 2009 as one of their Rising Star attorneys under the age of 40. According to the magazine’s Web site: “[The Super Lawyers selection process] is a comprehensive, good-faith and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, meet ethical standards, and have demonstrated some degree of achievement in their field.”
On June 7, her response to the bloggers who were calling her character into question she said this: “And maybe you would like to know that I also am in a magazine called ‘Super Lawyers’ – not 15 years ago, but this year – that includes only 2 percent of the lawyers in the state of Oklahoma,” she wrote. “I am the only lawyer mentioned in the ‘Indian Law’ category for the present year. This is the only publication that is recognized as legitimate for this purpose, and selection is based on peer review and other factors.”