MEET THE CANDIDATES – Business Council Election 2022

The Fourth Seat, Seventh Seat, and Treasurer’s Seat are up for election at the Annual General Council Meeting on Saturday, September 17 at the Ottawa Powwow Grounds in Miami. Polls will be open from 8:00-11:00 am. 

Seventh Seat Candidate

Kenneth Hood (Incumbent)

Councilman Hood is running unopposed. His name will not appear on the September 17 ballot, and he will be confirmed during the General Council meeting that afternoon.

Treasurer Candidates

Mark McDowell (Incumbent)

Hometown: Miami, OK

Current City: Afton, OK

Occupation: Management and Development

I was elected to serve on the Shawnee Tribe Business Council in September of 2018. I accepted the appointment to Treasurer in October of 2019. Since that time our business council has made so many positive growth decisions and I am so proud to have been part of that process. I hope that I am able to continue with the honor of serving the people of the Shawnee Tribe. In addition to being Treasurer of the Tribe, I relatedly serve on the Shawnee Development Board, the Golden Mesa Business Board and the Shawnee Tribe Investment committee. During my time of service to the Shawnee Tribe, we have seen the opening of the Golden Mesa Casino. We have developed an internal Revenue Allocation Plan that uses our resources to help with (1) the immediate expenses of today, (2) the reserve that will help build solvency for the future of our tribe and (3) to develop business for future income to the Tribe. During this time, we also successfully and rapidly used our CARES fund allocation and Citizen Impact Relief. If re-elected, I want to continue with the forward path of growth and continue my service for the Shawnee people.

What personal qualities do you hope to bring to the Business Council?

I bring my management and development knowledge and experience coupled with a desire to continue my service to provide growth and preservation of the Shawnee Tribe and its people.

What issues affecting Shawnee citizens would you intend to prioritize most?

I would like to continue with the improvements being made to the Fiscal and Fiduciary responsibilities that we have. We have made great improvements to our accounting processes and to our Federal Compliance where needed. I would like to continue working with our professional finance team in the preparation of comprehensive tribal budgets that help with the services that we are now able to provide to our citizens. I would also like to continue working on our Golden Mesa Casino expansion and its ancillary development planning as this is the greatest current source of income. I would also like to continue with the exploration of other development opportunities so that we become more diverse in our sources of income.

If a citizen has further questions for you, what is the best way for them to contact you?

If a citizen has a comment or question, I can be reached by email, mmcdowell@sdllc.org

Brittany Hall

Hometown: Claremore, OK

Current City: Lawrence, KS

Occupation: Grant Coordinator

Hato! My name is Brittany Hall, and I am running for Treasurer. I am Bird Creek Shawnee and the great-great granddaughter of Joseph Axe Washington. I graduated from Haskell Indian Nations University with a degree in Indigenous American Indian Studies in 2012 and then earned an MBA from Baker University in 2015. I have been working in the business since 2016 and in higher education since 2018. Currently I am a grant coordinator at The Life Span Institute with a work portfolio totaling 10-11 million. I was also an adjunct professor in the School of Business at Haskell from 2020-2022 academic years. I currently serve as the Secretary for the Shawnee Tribe Cultural and Historic Preservation Committee and Treasurer for Native Staff and Faculty at Kansas University, the advisor for the Phi lota Alpha chapter at KU and was recently elected as the President Haskell National Board of Regents. I believe in change. I have a strong background in finance, planning and grant administration from my profession and volunteer organizations which contributes to knowing the tribal need to build a stronger financial framework for all citizens.

What personal qualities do you hope to bring to the Business Council?

Some of the personal qualities I will bring to the Business Council is honesty, leadership, transparency, resilience, interpersonal skills, time management, problem solving and the drive I have for our culture and citizens. When I set my mind to a goal I always finish! With goal setting comes listening, which I am great at! I will listen to all citizens on any concerns and always prioritize tribal members. Living in Kansas has allowed me to stay invested with our tribal interests in our historical presence. I am also just a few hours from our tribal headquarters where I have traveled regularly to attend general council to vote in person. My son and I enjoy being with our people for ceremony and stomp dances so I can better raise him in his Shawnee identity. Commitment is huge for me. I have made the commitment to be involved in our Tribe and our culture. My commitment is with our people and I will be there to show it.

What issues affecting Shawnee citizens would you intend to prioritize most?

If elected some of the issues I will prioritize are our Elders, Healthcare, Cultural Sustainability, and more Economic Developments. Our elders deserve more. There are multiple avenues in helping our elders, such as a retirement account or caregiver program. This will help our elders who are on fixed incomes and truly give back to them. Everyone deserves healthcare and not every Shawnee lives next to an IHS. We can develop a healthcare system, such as health insurance for every individual to help ease financial burdens to help with dental, vision and RX. We have a fabulous language program that has reached more citizens during the pandemic. Let’s add to that and bring a secure app and be current in today’s technology trends and could encourage more individuals to want to learn our language. Adding more social events, such as feeds and stomp dances, that target our diverse counties instead of solely in Miami, OK. We have great programs provided by the Tribe but we can add more. Create more job opportunities for our citizens and revenue opportunities to build our Tribe.

If a citizen has further questions for you, what is the best way for them to contact you?

The best way to reach me is my cell phone via text or phone call, 785.218.8204. My email is bhall@shawnee-nsn.gov or bkhall@ku.edu. I will be hosting a series of videos for my campaign so please join me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bcheer12.

Fourth Seat Candidates

Corey Winesburg (Incumbent)

Hometown: White Oak, OK

Current City: Vinita, OK

Occupation: Welding Educator

I’m a lifetime resident of NE Oklahoma and was raised around powwows and ceremonial dances. Father to two young ladies and one young man, I attended welding school in Afton, OK. The past 13 years, I have been a welding instructor at the same school I attended, working to improve the job prospects of our area teenagers and adults. I want to stay involved in educating our tribal citizens and taking care of our elders. I hope to work to motivate our young people to get more involved in tribal affairs and be a voice for those who are unable to serve on the council.

What personal qualities do you hope to bring to the Business Council?

With my background in industry and education, I have been able to better support my family and lead others to do the same. I’m not afraid to speak up when necessary and advocate for others. I pride myself on being honest and carrying myself with integrity.

What issues affecting Shawnee citizens would you intend to prioritize most?

Creation and maintenance of programs to help tribal members with education, career advancement, emergency assistance and improving the health of our citizens maintaining solvency of our tribal funds.

If a citizen has further questions for you, what is the best way for them to contact you?

I welcome any questions, please feel free to contact me, preferably by email or text.

corey@shawnee-tribe.com

Jana Johnson

Hometown: Miami, OK

Current City: Tulsa, OK

Occupation: Special Education Compliance Specialist

It is an honor to introduce myself to the citizens of the Shawnee Tribe.

A graduate of Miami High School with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Pittsburg State University. An educator of 23 years, an advocate for children with disabilities, and an employee of Tulsa Public School as a Special Education Compliance Specialist. Currently, attending the University of Oklahoma, College of Law, working towards a Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law. Seeking election to the Business Council allows for the opportunity to assist with the developing, administering, and maintaining the implementation of growing tribal operations. Additionally, the development and continuation of programs supporting the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of tribal elders to ensure a wholistic life.

What personal qualities do you hope to bring to the Business Council?

Being an elected Business Councilman allows the opportunity to share a passion for research and tribal historical law. At the same time, utilizing the ability to abide by all state and federal guidelines and staying abreast of new tribal laws. As your Business Councilman, communication, interpersonal, problem-solving, and program management skills will be effectively utilized. The knowledge gleaned from the Indigenous Peoples Law program will enhance advocational skills needed to address today’s ever-changing tribal laws.  

What issues affecting Shawnee citizens would you intend to prioritize most?

A Business Councilman’s role is to advocate for the tribe as a community and individual tribal citizens, hearing their needs and desires and not allowing personal opinions or biases to drive decision-making, a daily skill in present employment. The Shawnee Tribe is forward-thinking and has many ongoing services and cultural programs. As a Business Councilman developing an understanding of programs already in place and the proposed future programs is a priority. One must understand where the tribe is before being able to add to the discussion.  

A potential focus issue is the decline of Indian students attending post-secondary educational institutes, especially students with learning disabilities. Educating tribal parents on the necessary steps and how to access information will empower our parents and our tribal students when entering the post-secondary world. Helping develop educated and successful tribal members and leaders is essential for tribal growth. It has been a life-long goal to have a seat at the council table to assist in helping the Shawnee Tribe continue to flourish as a sovereign nation.

If a citizen has further questions for you, what is the best way for them to contact you?

Please get in touch with me with any questions regarding my candidacy for Business Councilman. You may reach me by email at johnsonje226@gmail.com or by phone at 918-961-7300

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