Governor’s Report - November
Hello Tribal People
Hope everyone is doing well in this cold weather that we have been experiencing lately.
As the holidays are fast approaching, the Tribe will be very busy planning different activities. The Absentee Shawnee Tribal Christmas Party will be done differently this year. We will be doing a Wal-Mart Gift Card and Movie Pass. Parents will need their child/children’s Absentee Shawnee CDIB card (must be an updated CDIB Card) to pick up the gift card and movie pass at the Absentee Shawnee Tribal Finance Office from December 10, 2018, through January 18, 2019; Office hours are 9:00 am to 11:30 am and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Due to the location of the Movie Theater in Shawnee, out of state-tribal children will not be able to receive a movie pass and will only receive a Wal-Mart Gift Card.
AARP AWARDS BANQUET
The 10th annual AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors was October 2, 2018, at the
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Meredith Wahpekeche was selected as an elder from the Absentee Shawnee Tribe to receive the honor of being Indian Elder of the Year. Meredith is a devoted mother of three and grandmother to five. She is also a legally appointed guardian by the Kickapoo Tribal Court for a young man for the last six years; serves as president of the Absentee Shawnee Elders Committee, and spearheads the Absentee Shawnee Christmas Tree at the Red Earth Art Center in Oklahoma City.
Meredith is an active tribal member and in the community of Little Axe, Oklahoma. Also, she serves on the Election Commission of the Tribe.
The Executive Committee would like to congratulate Meredith for her honor of being AARP Indian Elder of the Year!!!
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY
Monday, October 8th, 2018 was celebrating OKC’s First Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the Oklahoma City University. I had the privilege to be selected to sit on a panel of four speakers. Another panelist was Stephanie Hudson, Phil Gover, and Dr. Heather Ahtone. One of the questions that were given to us was; “Why is it important to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day”? My response was, “Recognizing Indigenous People provides for an opportunity for ALL People to learn more about how we American Indians are known as the “First Peoples”. I believe that recognizing and valuing our Indigenous People will help to build a strong nation that is more understanding of all Indigenous People and American Indian roots.”
One other question was; “Indigenous people have called this place home long before statehood. What piece of that history do you think is most overlooked?” I believe the most overlooked aspect of our culture is in fact, our history. The roots we have with our homes, specifically Shawnees, is found in the northeastern part of the United States in and around the Ohio Region. There are many mounds and other cultural artifacts laying around in those mounds and many were recovered either by farmers plowing the ancient sites in the past or military conducting training exercises plowing them down for space. The land was more commonly shared among nations and there was respect between hunting grounds throughout the native country. The history of our main homeland area is important to each tribal nation as a whole, so we can understand our traditions more clearly. Each tribe had a specific practice tailored to them in that particular region they stayed in, and those cultural practices gave thanks to our creator. What nature provided us with was celebrated with dances. There are materials found all across these lands that could not have come from here and it points out that trade among native peoples was thriving from South America to North America. Many practices are similar once you begin to dissect the beliefs we share as Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere. Let’s not forget it was us that helped our first visitors from over the waters, and over time borders began to
be drawn creating segregation from people and most importantly, nature’s connection to our spirituality.
United Indian Nations of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas
UINOKT held a quarterly meeting at the Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma on October 15, 2018. The Oklahoma Governor Candidates Drew Edmondson, Democrat and Kevin Stitt, Republican were both invited to attend the meeting. Drew Edmondson sent a staff member from his team to the meeting. Kevin Stitt called Friday, October 12 and declined. The Lt. Governor Candidates was also invited; Anastasia Pittman, Democrat and Matt Pinnell, Republican. Anastasia Pittman attended the meeting and spoke to the tribal leaders on her strong points of working with Tribal Nations. Matt Pinnell was not in attendance at the meeting. An email was sent to me late Friday, October 12th for his unavailability to attend. I had sent numerous emails and called 30 days prior to the meeting. The Chairman of the UINOKT holds an election every year and at this meeting, the Chairman and the Vice-Chairwoman positions were up for election. During this meeting, the tribal leaders and members voted to re-elect George Tiger, who will serve for one year. He has been Chairman in this organization for a total of 12 years but not in succession.