Governor's Report - January 2020
Hello Tribal People
Hope everyone had a peaceful holiday and fellowship with family and friends. Like to start out with my arrival back in office as the Governor on December 10, 2019,
I came into the Governor Office with new office furniture and a new tribal vehicle that Secretary John Johnson had purchased during his time as Governor. He purchased over $4,000.00 dollars of furniture and is assistant was spending over
$5,000.00 dollars for her furniture but her furniture was canceled when I once took office. The tribal vehicle was over $17,000.00 dollars. There are a couple of major concerns while John Johnson was Governor and one is the tribal resolutions that were passed during the months of October and November of 2019 and also a concern of documents that were signed by John Johnson as Governor and Ezra Delodge as the Secretary. The federal government did not recognize John as Governor but did recognize him as the Tribal Secretary and the federal government did not recognize Ezra as an official elected member of the Executive Committee due to the pending court case. On December 20, 2019, we the Executive Committee called a Special Executive Committee Meeting to clean up some resolutions pertaining to the new tribal enrollment we also made a correction to the resolutions of bank signatures and the Absentee Shawnee 2020 Holiday Calendar.
One other major issue was the 2020 AFA (annual funding agreement) with the BIA (Bureau Indian Affairs). The AFA funds programs such as; Social Services, Education, Law Enforcement, Reality, Road Program, Indian Child Welfare
again due to the federal government (BIA) not recognizing John as the
Governor of the Tribe, the Tribe was in jeopardy of not being funded for
2020. John submitted his signature on documents for funding on October
14, 2019 to the BIA. The documents were returned to the tribe on October
30, 2019 for corrections due to signatures being signed in the wrong places on the documents and to have documents corrected and signed by the officially recognized Governor for the Tribe so that the funds would be available as soon as possible.
Lt. Governor Blanchard and I have had numerous calls to the BIA in Anadarko and Washington DC to clear this issue up. On December 26, 2019, I hand-delivered all documents to BIA Southern Plains Regional Office in Anadarko. We are in hopes
that the tribe will be able to draw down the funds soon when funds are made available to the Tribe.
GAMING COMPACT UPDATE
On December 19, 2019, Lt. Governor Blanchard and I attended the Tribal Leaders round table discussion hosted by Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) at the River Spirit Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There were 32 tribal leaders in
attendance of the state’s 35 gaming tribes. The round table discussion was the governor’s request to extend the compact and negotiations to August 31, 2020.
Governor Stitt believes that the compact expires January 1, 2020, and that Class
III gaming will be illegal without another agreement. The governor is seeking higher fees from the tribes in exchange for additional exclusivity in the gaming industry, which could include sports betting.
Governor Stitt said the extension was offered to protect the parties’ legal positions and to provide legal certainty about casinos’ operations as January 1, 2020 approaches.
Oklahoma tribes decline Governor Stitt’s gaming compact extension proposal.
Tribes pay the state between 4% and 10% to operate Class III gaming, which includes slot machines, roulette, and craps. Tribes do not pay fees on Class II gaming, which is electronic bingo.
We the Executive Committee of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe along with other Tribes in Oklahoma believe that the compact automatically renews, and we plan to continue operating normally on January 1, 2020.
We will keep you updated as we receive dates.
Governor Edwina Butler-Wolfe
Tribal Cell number 405 827-2442