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The Governor's Report - May

Hello Tribal People!!

Hope everyone is preparing for the spring and the threat of tornadic weather. Seems this year is getting off to a fast start as it is already the middle part of April. My schedule has been very busy with public school consultations and tribal meetings.


The meeting was held at the Shawnee Public School Administration Building in Shawnee on April 15, 2019 @1:00 P.M. The issue has touched every Native American Community and public school system; pertaining to the Senior Students Graduating from a public school and not being allowed to wear tribal stoles, eagle feathers, and beaded caps. We had a room full of supporters expressing the rights of our Native American Students. Those present voiced their concerns to Dr. April
Grace, Superintendent of Shawnee Public School.

Those that attended:
Abby Owings, Senior Student
Tara Ann Winer, Senior Student
Dos Owings, Parent
Tammy Winter, Parent
Fustina Blanchard, Parent
Theresa Fife, Parent
Kandace Howell, Staff Member Congresswoman Kendra Horn
Principal Chief Greg Chilcoat, Seminole Nation
Principal Chief Kay Rhoads, Sac and
Fox Nation
Lt. Governor Kenneth Blanchard, Absentee Shawnee Tribe
Governor Edwina Butler-Wolfe, Absentee Shawnee Tribe
Former Principal Chief George Tiger, Creek Nation and Chairman of the United Indian Nations of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas, Inc.
Clint Walkingstick, Cherokee Business Owner
Phil Gover, Charter Schools
Quinton Roman Nose, Executive Director, Tribal Education Departments National Assembly (TEDNA)
Tresha Spoon, Education Director, Absentee Shawnee Tribe
Bruce Longhorn, Governor Office
Josh Gibson, Absentee Shawnee Tribal Member
Austin Fife, Absentee Shawnee Tribal Member
Graham Primeaux, Indian Education Director Shawnee Public School
Dr. April Grace, Superintendent Shawnee Public Schools
Meagan Wilson, Shawnee Public School
Alison Cleveland, Shawnee Public School

The Kickapoo Tribe has expressed support on this issue by David Pacheco,

Some states and Oklahoma school districts are beginning to recognize the importance of the diverse cultures and traditions of their high school student population. Some schools in Oklahoma encourage their Indian students to express their culture by allowing the wearing of feathers and tribal-themed stoles in recognition of teachings handed down through the generations. A student honoring their culture and tradition during Commencement should not be an issue in today’s Oklahoma.

I have expressed to the Superintendent that our Tribe will be honoring our Tribal Seniors with a Banquet and presenting a Tribal Stole to them and do expect those seniors to wear them to their graduation in May. We hope the Shawnee School System sees this is a change that needs to be made this year and not let it sit till next year.

We will keep you updated as the decision is made by the school system.


This year Self-Governance Annual Consultation Conference was at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

The meeting started on April 1 and 2nd for the Indian Health Service Agenda
and April 3rd and 4th was the Agenda for BIA. During the IHS portion of the agenda, the Oklahoma Tribes had a chance to talk to RADM Michael Weahkee, Principal Deputy Director, of the Department of Indian Health Services (IHS) one on one. Highlighted topics that were discussed:

1. Section 105(l) Leases

2. Advanced Appropriation & Government Shutdown Effect on IHS Operation

3. Joint Venture Programs

4. Contract Support Cost, 97/3 policy issue

5. Sanitation Deficiencies System (SDS) Guidance

6. Commissioned Officer Memoranda of Understanding (MOU’s)

In 2016, the District Court for the District of Columbia found that IHS must
negotiate lease agreements as permissible under Section 105(l) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA). Since the decision, Tribal Nations and IHS have entered into and executed many lease agreements. However, the approved agreements in Fiscal Year 2018 exceeded appropriation levels and resulted in a decrease in programmatic increases for IHS and tribal facilities.

Another breakout session at the conference was the Native Children and Youth. It was a discussion of the defense mechanisms being employed to protect the Indian Child Welfare Act to include litigation, state laws and state compacting. While some states have enacted state laws to increase protections for Indian children (i.e. Washington and Michigan) and others have started compacting child welfare services (Alaska), a Texas court has ruled the Federal statute is unconstitutional.

There are 12 open cases currently in Indian Country in the same line as the Texas Case. 


21st 8:30 am Individual inquiring of leasing Tecumseh Square

25th 8:00 am Special Executive Committee Meeting 

26th 9:00 am White House Webinar Tribal Leaders Task Force Team 

 11:00 am Senator Lankford Staff meeting in Governor Conference           Room 5:30 pm TEC, Inc. Board Meeting

27th 1:00 am – 3:00 pm ESSA Consultation at Mustang Public School, Piedmont
        Public School, Deer Creek Public School 

28th 11:30 am Area School Luncheon with retired teachers

31st  Self-Governance Meeting Michigan


1st   5th Self-Governance Meeting – Michigan

6th   10:00 am White Turkey Meeting – Shawnee, OK

8th   Meeting with AllNations Bank President

        3:00 pm – 6:00 pm Building Blocks III, second-year anniversary

        6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Building Blocks III Staff Meeting

10th 11:30 am I was the guest speaker at the American Indian Chamber of                  Commerce OKC Chapter Luncheon

11th 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm City Commissioner Ed Bolt and Barbara Loudermilk,                Executive Director, Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency

13th 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Congresswoman Kendra Horn round table discussion:              Chief Kay Rhoads, Sac and Fox Nation, Chief Greg Chilcoat,                                  Seminole Nation, Representatives from Choctaw, Citizen Potawatomi                    were present.

15th 9:00 am Directors Meeting

        1:00 pm Shawnee Public School - Meeting at the Shawnee Administration            Building Issue of the meeting pertaining to Native American Students being          able to wear Tribal Stoles and Eagle Feather. 

16th 10:00 am Choctaw/Nicoma Park Public School hosted the ESSA Consultation.
        Luther Public School and Harrah Public School. Tresha Spoon, Absentee                Shawnee Education Director and I attended.

17th 10:00 am Executive Committee Meeting

My General Council Report was for you, the Tribal People of our Great Tribe. It is information that I had obtained from an anonymous person. I guess I have hit a nerve in the Health Department to have to share with non-tribal employees. It leads me to believe that “time will tell if there is some truth to my report”. I had recently traveled to Michigan as I have stated in my newsletter article to a Self-Governance Conference only to have been told by a person in Indian Health Service that they had received an anonymous email from someone in the Absentee Shawnee Health Clinic. The email was pertaining to the Absentee Shawnee Convenience Store and the AST Health Clinic of funds being used from Health. 

Again Time will Tell!!


My Condolences to the passing of Amy Beth Littlehead Hilderbrand Family.
Amy and I were high school friends back in the day. We both attended Dale Public
School then she moved to Maud and attended Maud Public School. She was an
employee here at the Absentee Shawnee Tribe for many years. She worked in the
Health field, Cultural Preservation, Gift Shop, Governor Assistant and Finance.
The Tribe was honored to have Amy as an employee for many years of her life.
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 to my office or called with their
concerns. My door is open unless I am in a meeting or attending a meeting elsewhere. My office is open and not behind locked doors.

Help me make a difference and stand beside me and let us Build for the Future (BFF) 


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