President’s Report May Edition
Things get really busy, and the days run together sometimes. There is a lot to update you on. There is a lot that we have been working on here at the Tribe. I
am going to give you a few brief updates below.
I just want to congratulate all of the graduates from Head Start to College. Just know we are all proud of your accomplishments. We pray for good things for each
of your futures.
Recall Meeting Set
On June 22, 2019, there will be a RECALL HEARING OF TERRI PARTON, PRESIDENT. As President, there are certain requirements under the Governing
Resolution. The Governing Resolution was originally written in 1961. The President for the 2016-2020 term had 243 votes in the last election, but it only
takes 20 people to petition for a Recall of an elected official. The Wichita Executive Committee made attempts in 2013 and 2014 to change that to a percentage of the voting population so it grew with our enrollment and also for
more fairness. We backed off that in 2016 and focused on the two most important issues: absentee voting and the blood quantum. This needs to be addressed in the 2020 election for changes that we will work on to update the Governing Resolution to be passed during an election held by our Tribal Council, which includes all tribal members 18 years and older who are eligible to vote.
Those individuals also make the decision to cast a vote. Under the Governing Resolution, “Upon the signed petition of 20 members of the council, the President shall call a special meeting of the Council to act upon complaints of misconduct
in the office of members of the Executive Committee, provided such complaints are supported by affidavits. The Council shall have power, by majority vote, after giving the accused a hearing and if found guilty of charges to remove him from office and proceed to elect a successor.” The Governing Resolution does not
say when the President has to call the meeting. Special Meetings are held at the President’s discretion. In reality, a President could be given a petition for a
Recall the day after they were elected and wouldn’t have to call it until the last day of the term. I have called the Recall Meeting for various reasons, such as CFR
filings in court and other things that I will expand on in the next newspaper and during the Recall Hearing.
There are a few things to keep in mind. The Tribal Council did vote to approve Absentee Voting. Also, the individuals that filed the Recall in CFR Court originally submitted documents naming them as the new Wichita Executive Committee. That was dismissed, and then they filed against the President, Vice President, and Secretary for not calling the Recall Meeting. It was dismissed, and an appeal was filed. The Appeals Court remanded the case back to the Trial Court. As of this date, the President has not been directed by any court to call any meeting. However, I have called the meeting to put this behind us so that our Tribe can move forward. Too much time is wasted on political gains instead of working for our people. Recalls are detrimental to our Tribe and businesses, especially when the Recall petitions aren’t based on the actual duties of the individuals.
The Recall Hearing on June 22, 2019, will be a vote. People need to be there. So please make sure that you make plans to attend. The agenda is included in this newspaper and has specific instructions on what will take place at the meeting. No other business will be conducted. This is a specific meeting for a Recall Hearing only. Please see the agenda for full details.
Indian Health Service National Budget
Formulation Meeting On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, I traveled to Arlington, Virginia to attend the FY 2021 National Budget Formulation Work Session. Travel was reimbursed by the Indian Health Service. On Thursday, March 14, 2019, we had the Tribal Caucus and Election of Tribal-Chairs for the workgroup. The Pawnee President was re-elected and served as the only chair due to the other
two not being able to be at the meeting. IHS leadership provided the welcome and budget updates. The 12 area representatives gave their presentations
for their area requests. I gave the report for the Oklahoma City Area. The presentations are approximately five minutes to give an overview of the needs for your specific area.
The Oklahoma City Area serves the states of Oklahoma, Kansas and a portion of Texas along with Richardson County, Nebraska. The Oklahoma City Area represents 43 tribes with a user population of 376,796, with the largest user population. The Oklahoma City Area is the lowest area funded per capita.
The Oklahoma City Area’s top five priorities were: (1) Indian Health Care Improvement Fund; (2) Maintenance and Improvement; (3) Purchased and
Referred Care; (4) Hospitals and Clinics including Health IT; (5) Urban Facilities. The Area weighted some of the priorities knowing that other important priorities such as Substance and Alcohol Abuse, Mental Health, Dental Services, etc. would make the top priorities for all areas. All of our priorities plus the ones that the Area knew would be top priorities for everyone else also made the top priority list
for the National Roll Up. The Hot Topics for Oklahoma City Area included: Workforce Development; the establishment of a Special Cancer Program for
American Indians and Alaska Natives; the Joint Venture and Construction Program; funding Contract Support Costs for grant programs; and ending the practice of grantmaking to establish a permanent reoccurring base funding; giving funding flexibilities to help Direct Service Tribes, and developing a Regional treatment Center for substance and alcohol abuse.
On Monday, March 11, 2019, President Trump had released his proposed FY 2020 Budget. Community Health Representatives (CHR) funding was cut, but funding to expand the National Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) was proposed to
be funded to eventually replace Community Health Representatives. In addition, Ending HIV Epidemic/Hepatitis C Initiative and the Electronic Health Record System was in President Trump’s FY 2020 Budget request.
Other major discussions during the meeting included the 105L Leases; supporting the CHR program funding; supporting tribal management grant funding; Direct Service Tribe funding flexibility; long-term care; SDPI; Medicaid work requirements; Level of Need Funding; upcoming meetings; background
checks; advanced appropriations; retention and recruitment; RPMS; opioids funding; and Indian Health Care Improvement Fund.
Admiral Weahkee, Acting IHS Director, provided updates, and the FY 2021 National Budget Recommendations were presented. Those recommendations
included: Hospitals and health clinics; purchased and referred care; mental health; alcohol and substance abuse; dental services; maintenance & improvement; health care facilities construction; Indian Health Care Improvement Fund; sanitation facilities construction; Community Health Representatives;
health education; Urban Indian Health; Public Health Nursing; equipment; Indian health professions; facilities & environmental health support; direct operations, self-governance, tribal management grants; and Alaska Immunization.
The meeting ended on Friday, March 15, 2019, and I returned home that evening.
EPA Region 6: 22nd Annual Tribal Environmental Summit
On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, I traveled to Dallas, Texas, for the 22nd annual Tribal Environmental Summit. The Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, Inc. offered reimbursement for tribal leaders to attend the Summit. I met the EPA Acting Deputy Administrator, Henry Darwin, and the Acting Regional Administrator for Region 6, David Gray, at the Summit.
On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, I attended the EPA Region 6 Tribal Operations Committee (RTOC) Meeting. One of the main topics during the meeting was the
EPA Tribal Environmental Plans (ETEP’s). The ETEP’s are jointly developed plans and communication tools that outline how a tribe and the EPA will work together to support the tribe’s environmental goals within the context of all EPA tribal programs. A discussion was held on the value of the ETEP’s to the tribes and
tribal priorities, inventory, EPA and funding. The ETEP’s model plans can include implementation of Safe Drinking Water Programs; Indoor Air Quality;
Restoring and Maintaining Ecosystems; Solid Waste/Recycling Programs; Climate Change; Pesticide Programs; Resource Conservation and Recovery; Brownfield Programs; Underground Storage Tank Programs, etc.
There is money for some of those programs through grants but really not enough funding to do anything meaningful unless the Tribe puts money into it also. The GAP funding is only $110,000 for the base funding. With staff, fringe benefits and
training, that doesn’t leave much for any tribe to implement full programs. We have to find ways to be creative to accomplish more environmental projects with less funding. Water, children’s health issues, fracking, and the potential it has to contaminate water, along with policy issues, were the major topics for the day.
On Thursday, April 4, 2019, I attended the breakout sessions for Drinking Water, Surface Water, Solid Waste/Recycling and the General Assistance Program. On
Friday, April 5, 2019, I attended the breakout sessions for Grants Management and the National Environmental Policy Act. The Tribe has the Clean Water Section 106 grant. We do not have the Clean Water Act Section 319 grant, and so I learned a little bit more about those grants. There appear to be some ways that we could apply for the CWA 319 grant.
The Recycling session was useful. We got to see what the Citizen Pottawatomi Nation has done with its Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan that included
a waste audit; bin monitoring; green team meetings with directors; tribal-wide emails about recycling efforts; Earth Day events; and face-to-face conversations
with tribal members and staff to encourage recycling. In the Solid Waste/Recycling session, a discussion was also held on dump cleanups. In the Grants Management session, a discussion was held on the workspace in grants.
gov; equipment disposition; having grant funds in interest-bearing accounts; Indirect Costs; funding levels; the need to spend all of the grant dollars; and looking at the past performance of the grants.
Ira Hight, a tribal member, and a GAP Project Officer discussed Performance Partnership Grants (PPG). The EPA provides financial assistance to Tribes to help
Tribes plan, develop and implement environmental programs. A tribe can choose to combine their grants in a Performance Partnership Grant (PPG). PPGs
streamline administrative requirements, give tribes greater flexibility to direct resources to their most pressing environmental problems and make it easier
to fund environmental protection efforts.
I returned home on Friday, April 5, 2019. I hope that as a Tribe, our EPA Program can increase its recycling efforts and at some point enter into a Performance
The Tribe will pursue a 501(c)3. This will allow us to take donations from entities for a variety of programs such as Youth Programs, Scholarships, Veterans Program, Child Care Development, History Center, Education and for people who just send donations. We will work on creating the non-profit organization that would allow donations to flow through the non-profit
organization. This will allow us to partner with other organizations in order to do more to create things within the Tribe while providing more unique services
to our tribal people.
Elder Appreciation Day
On Monday, May 6, 2019, I met with Directors to discuss many things. Myles Stephenson, Jr. asks me sometimes during the AoA dinner announcements
if we can do something just for our tribal elders when we give out our elder checks. Due to late timing to pull something together and not having funds readily
available in the budget, we haven’t done it. This year we are trying to be ahead of the game so that we can get something ready to submit for the FY 2020 Budget
and be able to plan for it. Some ideas from the meeting and then also emailed by staff included:
• The meal should be catered so that the elder AoA staff can also enjoy Elder Day.
• Door prizes & drawings (jackets, Pendleton, etc.)
• Need to determine if it is just enrolled tribal elders or enrolled tribal elders plus 1
• Dinner or a banquet
• Oldies dance
• Time of year and weather issues
• Snack bags with Christmas candy
• Being able to cash elders checks on site
• Gifts for the oldest elder (of the tribe or in attendance? Or both?)
• Recognizing full blood members
• Booths for outreach
• Volunteers/having staff to wait on them
• Shirts for staff who volunteer to be uniform
• Transportation to get elders to the event/using handicap van/scheduling for pickup
• Presentation by the Child Care Programs
• Presentation by youth groups on Wichita language
• Having the tribal princess present
• Tour the Wichita Tribal History Center
• Having them to RSVP for an accurate count
• Photo sharing
We will work on something for the FY 2020 Budget so that we can have something specific for our tribal elders.
We are still working towards getting a Veterans Program in place. Politics gets in the way sometimes of us working on the things that really matter. Recently, we
had a tribal elder, Stuart Owings, who is also a Veteran, come and inquire about a ramp. The Maintenance Supervisor and a staff person told me I should contact the Veterans Administration. The Committee approved the ramp, but I went ahead and called the Veterans Administration anyway. One phone call led to the VA contacting Home Depot. We needed a 501(c)3 for Home Depot to help, and so the
Southern Plains Tribal Health Board stepped up as the 501(c)3 entity. The City of Anadarko arranged for a dumpster with Total Waste Systems for the project.
Home Depot provided new windows for the home, a new stove and two ceiling fans.
This just took one phone call. I would like to thank Mary Culley from the Veterans Administration; the Lawton Home Depot; the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board; the City of Anadarko along with the City Manager and Ms. Spanglehour; Total Waste Systems; the Wichita Service Club for providing lunch; our Maintenance staff and Lawn Crew for volunteering to help install the windows; and my staff for various work on getting this done. This was a great thing that was done for one of our Veterans, and we hope to do this for others in the near future.
Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce: Governor’s Tribal Economic Development
On May 8, 2019, I attended the inaugural meeting of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Tribal Economic Development Council. Approximately 11 tribes in the state were represented. Some of the discussion included: goals; workforce development; right of ways; tribal transit programs; broadband; New Market Tax Credits; tribal/state partnerships; rural infrastructure; Youth Summit at the State Capitol; research; data; opportunity zones; the Governor’s Economic Development Conference in August; Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium; and the next meeting. Hopefully, this will eventually turn into something useful that can benefit the tribes in Southwest Oklahoma.
New Program: Commodity Supplemental Food Program
Great job to Ms. Beth Parker, Food Distribution Program Director, and all of her staff for implementing a new program. In April, the Food Distribution Program gave out their first lot of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for elders. This is a great new program to provide more services to our elders. Ms. Parker has been wanting this program for a while, and we were finally able to get it in place.
Child Care Development Fund: New Center
Ms. Hopen, CCDF Director, has worked diligently on the beginning stages of a new Child Care Development Center. An RFP has been sent out for a design/
build team. We have approved a contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers to provide oversight for inspections.
Sugar Creek Casino Meeting & Best Month for Casino
On March 18, 2019, the Wichita Executive Committee met with staff at the Sugar Creek Casino. The Minutes from that meeting are included in the WEC Reports. Please look to that page for updates on the things that were discussed. I would like to say congratulations to all of the staff and General Manager for a job well done for the month of April. April 2019 has been the largest distribution to the Tribe. We are working to reward staff on their contribution to that effort.
Sugar Creek Casino: Cafe Renovations
The metal building piece for the expansion to the café arrived for the Sugar Creek Casino Café Renovations. Some construction has begun but due to rain, the renovations and repairs have been delayed. Hopefully, the rain will stop for a little while soon so that they can continue with the renovation and repairs.
Sugar Creek Casino Expansion
An RFP for a construction contractor has been sent out, and we received four responses. We will conduct interviews on May 29, 2019. We are working through
items that have to be done with NIGC, the bank where the loan for the expansion will take place, and the final phases of the architectural work.
There is a lot more that I wanted to give updates on but will save that for the next newspaper. Our Tribe becomes hindered when, as elected officials, we aren’t all working towards the same goals for our people. I know people don’t like when I reference the 2012-2016 Wichita Executive Committee, but none of us were out to replace one another. We all recognized our contributions to the end goal to provide more services to our people, to increase economic development, to increase job creation and to leave something for our future. When we worked together, we achieved a lot even when we didn’t always agree. We vowed
to work as a Committee.
My vow continues this term, but politics have to be set aside. I have not tried to replace anyone or recall anyone. My job is to do the best I can for our people
rather than fighting political battles. Our people will decide on June 22, 2019, whether or not I continue to serve as your President. My future is in the hands
of the Creator, and I know I will be okay no matter what the decision of our people is.