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Governor's Report - February

Hello Fellow Tribal Members!!

Does anyone know when the partial Federal Government Shutdown will come to an end? Well, that is the BIG question that is asked of us as we start in 2019.  Ordinarily, Congress would have already passed a Spending Bill or a Continuing Resolution in the fall to fund federal agencies. Tribes and millions of Americans are put in the middle of this political battle since President Trump stated he will not sign a spending bill or CR that does not include $5.7 billion dollars for a board wall. Some federal agencies remain operating and are considered essential, but employees in those agencies are not being paid. Indian Health Service and the Department of Health and Human Services are among those agencies operating, however, the Department of Interior and BIA are not in operation currently.

Earlier this month I sent a letter to our Oklahoma Congressional Delegation expressing the Tribe’s concerns and to end the shutdown. Other tribal leaders have done the same and continue to express concern and the impacts of the shutdown on their respective tribes. As of January 18, 2019, I understand that Tribes receiving federal funds through funding agreements should have either received up to 22.47% base on 2018 appropriations or no funds for programs and services.

We began receiving our percentage of BIA funds based on the 2018 appropriations, but once these funds are exhausted, secondary funds will have to be used until the shutdown has ended. Although Treasure Ellis has assured the Executive Committee that the shutdown has not immediately impacted the Tribe, the concern of funding those programs without federal funds remain. Our health system can operate on its Third-Party Revenue, but only for a certain period. Unfortunately, our BIA programs do not have the same secondary source of funds
to operate with. A good number of programs funded through grants continue to receive their funding, due to the funds being allocated in cycles.

This shutdown does not only affect one political party or the other if effect all of us. In the letter sent to the Oklahoma Delegation, I stated we (the Absentee Shawnee Tribe) do not support the use of taxpayer dollars for an object that goes against the foundation on which the United States was created. I also stated that American Indians and Alaska Native are deeply affected by the lack of funds for IHS and BIA programs and services, and we should not be held hostage by
unrelated political battles.

I encourage any tribal member impacted by the shutdown to contact the Executive Committee and your Congressmen and let us know how you have been affected. Below are the addresses for the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation:


Congresswoman Kendra Horn

400 N. Walker Suite 210 Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Congressman Tom Cole

2424 Springer Drive Suite 201Norman, OK 73069

Congressman Markwayne Mullin

1 E. Choctaw Suite 175 McAlester, OK 74501

Congressman Fran Lucas

10952 NW Expressway Suite B Yukon, OK 73099

Congressman Kevin Hern

2448 East 81st Street Suite 5150 Tulsa, OK 74137

Senator James Lankford

1015 N. Broadway Suite 310 Oklahoma City, OK


224 South Boulder Suite 210 Tulsa, OK 74103

Senator James Inhofe

1924 S. Utica Ave Suite 530 Tulsa, OK 74104


On January 8, 2019, Tresha Spoon, Education Director of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and I met with Dr. Katricia Pierson, President of East Central University (ECU) in the AST Governors’ Conference Room. Dr. Pierson is reaching out for Tribal Partnership. The University has received funding for “Tribal Partnership’s to Help Native American Students Attain Graduation”. ECU received a grant from Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and is funded through the Lumina Foundation.

The East Central University program is called “Tribal Resources to Enhance Achievement and Completion in Higher Education (REACHE) Program.” Their mission is Long-term effort to serve and retain American Indian/American Native (AI/AN) students from their initial college first-year experience to their launching into graduate education or a professional career.

ECU envisions the Tribal REACHE Program as a comprehensive plan for:

  • Engaging AI/AN students in enriching and culturally-relevant, first-year seminars and first-year experience.
  • Providing experiential learning in the form of internships in career
    settings, particularly those relevant to their tribal affiliation needs.
  • Creating a Sovereignty Center on campus.

East Central University’s new program will need tribal input and expertise to develop and implement activities critical to the success of AI/AN students, develop and implement activities and services as well as provide resources that enrich the AI/AN students educational experience. Also, develop and implement final year or launch activities critical to the post-attainment success of AI/AN students and create a Sovereignty Center for ECU AI/AN students. 

ECU will host focus groups and other events that involve a Tribal Liaison, Elder(s), and other representatives.

Tresha Spoon will be working closely with the University and will keep our Tribal Members informed.


On Saturday, January 12, 2019, a Swearing in Ceremony for The Honorable Kendra Horn United States Representative for Oklahoma’s Fifth District was at the Douglass High School, 900 North Martin Luther King Avenue in Oklahoma City.  Tribal Leaders that attended was the Lt. Governor Gilbert Miles, of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribe, Representative Fletcher and Governor Butler-Wolfe of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe.


The Lieutenant Governor Blanchard and I attended the Inauguration only, of Oklahoma’s 28th Governor J. Kevin Stitt and all statewide elected officials were sworn in during the ceremony on January 14, 2019, at the State Capital. The event was outside of the Capital and the weather was in the high 30’s and low 40’s. Tribal Leaders were informed to arrive at 9:30 A.M., with the event, starting at 11:00 A.M.  There were about 20 Tribal Leaders in attendance.

The Inaugural Dinner and Ball were held in the evening of the 14th at the Cox Convention Center, Renaissance Grand Ballroom. The Cost of tickets was $250.00 per person.

Inaugural Prayer Service was set for Tuesday, January 15, at 9:30 a.m. at the First Baptist Church, 301 N.E. 27th Street, Moore, Oklahoma.

Many events were planned across the state for the newly elected Governor Stitt. 


The Absentee Shawnee Tribe was the host to the United Indian Nations of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Quarterly Meeting. It was held on January 17, 2019, at the Health Multi-Purpose Building. The meeting was a success as there were many tribal leaders that attended. Those in attendance were:

President Terri Parton, Wichita & Affiliated Tribes of Oklahoma President Deborah Dotson, Delaware Nation of Oklahoma Chairwoman Lori Ware, Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma Secretary/Treasurer Donya Williams, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma Governor Reggie Wassana, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma Governor Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation Lt. Governor Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation Chief Craig Harper, Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma Principal Chief Kay Rhoads, Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma Council Representative Larry Joe Brooks of the Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma Second Chief Norman Hilderbrand Jr., Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma President Bruce Pratt, Pawnee Nation Governor Edwina Butler-Wolfe, Absentee Shawnee Tribe Lt. Governor Kenneth Blanchard, Absentee Shawnee Tribe Secretary John Johnson, Absentee Shawnee Tribe Representative Atheda Fletcher, Absentee Shawnee Tribe

United Indian Nations of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Executive Committee: Former Chief George Tiger, Creek Nation, and Chairman UINOKT Governor Edwina Butler-Wolfe, Absentee Shawnee Tribe and Vice Chairwoman UINOKT Minerals Council Member Margo Gray, Osage Nation, Secretary UINOKT President Bruce Pratt, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Treasurer UINOKT 

The Presenters and Topics that were discussed:
Update of the National Congress of American Indians, President Jefferson Keel, and Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation

Cheyenne & Arapaho Governor Reggie Wassana Economic and Program Development 

Jacob Tsoigh, National Indian Education Association

Counsel Walter Echohawk update on Pawnee Fracking Litigation

Sheila Morago, Executive Director of Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Update

Quinton Romannose, Executive Director Tribal Education Departments National Assembly

Many issues were brought up at this successful meeting. It was nice to network with tribal leaders.

The next UINOKT Meeting will be held on April 18, 2019, in Oklahoma City.


For those families who may have lost a loved one this month, I offer my sincere condolences to you and your family on your loss. 


I appreciate Tribal Members that have come by my office or called with their concerns. My door is open unless I am in a meeting or attending a meeting elsewhere.

Help me make a difference – stand beside me and Let us Build for the Future

Thank you.


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