Hatito or hello friends and fellow citizens, I am Heidi BigKnife. My Shawnee roots stretch from Vinita, Oklahoma to our tribal lands in Kansas and Ohio. I am an artist and live and work in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Most of my art practice is focused on designing and fabricating contemporary jewelry. I have operated my business BigKnife Designs for almost 30 years. I am a graduate of Beloit College (BA) and The Institute of American Indian Arts (AFA 2-D and 3-D Design). Although I did not grow up around our tribe and traditions I returned to the stomp ground over 30 years ago and am an active participant in ceremonial activities at White Oak.

 A Business Committee position will allow me to increase my service to the tribe, bring attention to arts, culture and resources, and honor the ongoing needs of our citizens.

If elected, what personal qualities will you bring to the Business Council?

I will bring the qualities of logistics, passion, deep integrity, cultural conscience, environmental awareness, dedication to my tribe and a solid work ethic to the Business Committee. Managing an art business for three decades has equipped me to manage time and resources in the studio while juggling side jobs and contract work. Many of my designs are inspired by our culture and stories that I have absorbed at ceremonial and community events and art shows across the country. At these events I am often the sole Shawnee member. At public events I strive to present myself in a way that brings honor to our tribe while I educate the general public about our history and culture in a way that informs without revealing too much. As a self-described recycling fanatic, I collect and haul home anything from the stomp ground that I can keep out of the waste stream to be recycled. I am passionate about art, the environment and Shawnee culture and am eager to bring this energy to the Business Committee.

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

Our tribe has seen incredible growth in citizenship and finances over the last decades. I am incredibly proud of the way our leaders have worked to secure our success and to allocate our resources to citizens in the areas of education, childcare assistance, home improvement and maintenance. Our funding has also been used to create an incredible Shawnee language program with a full time staff of language professionals. With these programs receiving attention and funding I would like to encourage an expansion of our scope to include environmental awareness and arts and culture. With new federal grants coming online for renewables, can we transition our tribal complex, our stomp ground and even citizen homes to solar and wind power? Is it possible to bring recycling to our grounds and complex? What will it take to reopen our Cultural Center? What part can art play in the future of the Shawnee Mission? My goal is to answer these questions and then work towards bringing them to fruition. Please vote for me in September and let’s show the world more of the wonderful things the Shawnee tribe can do. Niyaawe!

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

For questions or concerns citizens can contact me through my gmail address: Please type “Shawnee Tribe” in the subject line





Hato (Hello), My name is Jana Johnson, Holly-Ma-Peashe – Rabbit Clan, the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Newton and Nancy McNeer, a mother to two incredible women, a grandmother, an advocate, and a citizen of the Shawnee Tribe. Growing up on my family’s allotted land on Hudson Creek taught me that life experiences and family is what is important. We cared for each other and worked together to ensure food was on the table and, most importantly, our elders and children were cared for. After graduating Phi-Theta Kappa with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Pittsburg State University, my 24-year career in education began. My tenure in education was spent mediating and advocating on behalf of children, their parents, and teachers. After leaving education to pursue my dream of working in tribal administration, my new title is Director of Health and Social Services/Vital Statistics for the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.

Attending every Business Council meeting, serving on the Shawnee Elder Advisory Committee, Chairing the Shawnee Tribal Salary Commission, and being elected to Seat 1 of the Business Council will allow me to remain a strong voice and advocate for our citizens.

If elected, what personal qualities will you bring to the Business Council?

It would be an honor to be a member of the Shawnee Business Council. As your Business Councilwoman, voting for programs and legislation that will benefit many Shawnee citizens, not just a few, will be my objective. Strong leadership, advocacy, mediation, and organizational skills will be brought with me to Seat 1. Working on my Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law at the University of Oklahoma can provide me with knowledge of state and federal laws that could impact the Shawnee tribe and our citizens. Genealogy and tribal history are a passion of mine; history continues to tell us that our elders are the key holders of our collective history. We must ensure they have a holistic life by supporting their health, safety, and food security needs. As our elders are our collective history, the Shawnee children are our future. Chief Wilma Mankiller has been quoted as saying, In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people. As a Shawnee citizen, ask yourself whether we are making decisions that support Chief Mankiller’s philosophy on generational prosperity.

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

During Business Council’s allotted time for public comment, I have addressed the following: Developing an Elders Department; Promote Shawnee-owned businesses on the webpage; Internships/Apprenticeships within the tribal government, or with Shawnee business owners; Food security, elders shouldn’t have to choose between medicine and food; Business development beyond the casino; Daycare at the casino for the employees; Housing/employment opportunities in Guymon; Youth community service program to work with elders; Transparency of how tribal monies are spent; Accessibility to tribal records/information that doesn’t violate HIPAA; Business Council meetings accessibility via live streaming; Continue to develop programs to ensure educational, vocational, leadership, and citizenship.

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

Lastly, I will represent you with honesty and integrity. Listening to your concerns while being a voice for all Shawnee citizens. My vote will be yours as I am your elected representative on Business Council. Please feel free to email me at or text me at 918-605-9711. Niyaawe (Thank you)





My name is Rusty Satterwhite, my wife and I have just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and we have two adult children. I have spent most of my adult career in public service. I served in the Oklahoma National Guard for eleven years and was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I retired from the Craig County Sheriff’s department as a Captain after 12 years of service. I have been a small business owner and have volunteered my time as football coach for over 15 years. I currently belong to two community service organizations and look forward to serving the citizens of the Shawnee Tribe.

I believe that I have a lot to offer my fellow citizens and would enjoy the opportunity to serve.

If elected, what personal qualities will you bring to the Business Council?

I’ve been on the welch city council for 8 years and the bluejacket city council for 6. I’m a driven person to better myself and better the people I represent.

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

I look forward to growing the Shawnee nation through expanding our economic and cultural ties to this state and all the states of the Shawnee nation.

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

Anyone can reach me on my cellphone (918) 961-7664, on Facebook or in person at my residence in Welch at 589 south commercial street. I look forward to hearing, meeting and helping the Shawnee community in any capacity I can.





»Graduate of Picher High School

»Graduate of NEO A&M, Assoc. of Arts Degree (Bus. Admin.)


»Volunteered many years and Chaired, Picher Mining Field Reunion Committee. Helped to establish Picher Mining Field Museum.

»Served 18 years with Picher Public Schools Board of Education, 10 years as President.

»Executive Director, Picher Housing Authority (HUD program) for 23 years. All clean audits.

»Formed Tar Creek Basin Steering Committee to address health is-sues of children and environmental issues facing residents. Worked with local, state & federal officials, Committee’s work brought about a $50 million dollar buyout of Picher-Cardin residents from the EPA Superfund Site.

»Past President, Picher Lions Club.

»Miami Masonic Lodge

»Grand Lake Shrine Club, Local Out-reach Coordinator Shriner’s Hospital for Children

»Shawnee Development, LLC.

“I am here to help” I would consider it an honor to work with our elders and other tribal members for the future of Shawnee Tribe.

If elected, what personal qualities will you bring to the Business Council?

It would be my ability to listen and work with all people. I have worked with thousands of citizens over the years in the private sector. My experience working with local, state and federal elected officials along with state and federal agencies, could be a benefit for the Shawnee Tribe. Developing relationships is very key for Shawnee Tribe’s future.

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

For our elders, what can we do to aid them in utilities, housing, food availability, healthcare, etc,. It’s so difficult for our elders to get by in this day and time. We can never do enough for them. I’m sure we can come up with ways to assist them. Education of our youth is very important for our tribe’s future. Education covers so many aspects, not just book learning, but education regarding the dangers of addictions our tribal youth face. We can never let up in this battle protecting them. They depend on us and we will be depending on them in the future.

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

I am old school, just give me a call at 918-533-1010 or drop a note to P.O. Box 66 Quapaw, OK 74363 I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Sincerely, John Sparkman





I am a 66-year-old Army veteran and attended Vinita Public Schools and White Oak schools. I have been married to Donna for 42 years. We have a daughter, Jennifer Cates, and husband Kevin, and a son, Jay White, and wife Laura. We have three grandchildren, Cody, Adriana, and Korbin. I was raised on my grandma’s homestead in a 2-bedroom house, with no running water and no electricity until the 1980s. I have coached little league in Vinita for over 25 years, refereed, was an umpire, and a rodeo judge. I have been invited to schools to talk about native culture and teach how to make Cherokee baskets. In the army, I was top secret background investigation and traveled to Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Germany. I was a member of the Big Red One Fort Riley, Fort Carson, Fort Sill, Fort Leonardwood, and Fort Benning. I am running to help Shawnee citizens with food, housing, and jobs.

If elected, what personal qualities will you bring to the Business Council?

I earned an associate’s degree from NEO for Industrial Safety and completed the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. I also completed the Department of Correction Training, numerous Fire Fighting Trainings, and Afton Vo-Tech for Accounting I & II. I am a retired Vinita Fire Fighter after 25 years. I was an Assistant Chief for the Fire Department and worked for the City of Vinita as the Safety Coordinator for 15 years, wrote a grant to get Craig County citizens smoke detectors. I also served on the Johnson O’Malley committee for 15 years getting Indian funds for education.

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

Issues affecting Shawnee citizens are housing, food distribution, and veterans needing grants that are available to them. To carry forth by creating laws of the tribal law through supervision of all government department services, contracts, and programs to keep pace with governmental goals and federal requirements. Helping young people understand how to start applying for scholarships at an early age.

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

Citizens can contact me by phone at 918-944-6483 or by email at


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Jul 9, 2024


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Summer Solstice Will Be Celebrated at Serpent Mound June 20-23

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Shawnee Tribe Chief Ben Barnes Shawnee Statement on Committee Vote on Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: In response to today’s vote by the House Education and Workforce Committee on the “Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act of 2024” (H.R. 7227), Chief Ben Barnes of the federally recognized Shawnee Tribe made the following statement: “We are deeply grateful to the Committee for passing […]

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Introducing ta'saawanwaatoweeyakwe ("Where We Speak Shawnee")

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Messages from the Chiefs – Spring 2024 / / Chief Barnes discusses tribal tags in Oklahoma and defeating OK SB 1907, while Chief Baldridge highlights Shawnee leader’s roles and efforts, past and present.

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On April 13, Golden Mesa Casino was the presenting sponsor of a 5K race in Guymon, OK. About 20 team members from the casino and the Shawnee Tribe Gaming Commission participated as runners and event volunteers, helping to raise nearly $6,000 to benefit local Special Olympics athletes.

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May 2, 2024

Tribal Leadership Gathers To Discuss Workforce & Economic Development

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