“LET’S LOOK CLOSER” Tonya Tipton is a Shawnee citizen and has been serving as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) in a full-time capacity for the past two years. Tonya joined the tribe’s staff as Enrollment Officer in 2016, but she also helped coordinate the tribe’s responses to the numerous requests for consultation that pour […]
Ms. Halfmoon currently serves as the Shawnee Tribe Executive Director of Cultural and Historic Preservation. She supports the Shawnee Tribe leadership and staff in all cultural programs and efforts including language, historic preservation, and the Shawnee Tribe Cultural Center. She is a citizen of the Caddo Nation and is also Choctaw and Delaware and has over 25 years of experience in cultural preservation, tribal liaison work, consultation practices, cultural resource law and museum leadership. She holds a degree in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma and a certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism from George Washington University.
From 2007 to 2015, Ms. Halfmoon served as Director of Outreach/Museum Programs for the First Americans Museum (OKC) where she led a statewide tribal outreach effort and served as the exhibitions liaison with Ralph Appelbaum & Associates (NYC). From 2015-2019 she served as the inaugural Director of American Indian Relations for the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, Ohio where she initiated the Tribal Nations Conference and oversaw the development and adoption of the Ohio History Connection’s first American Indian Policy.
In 2019 she returned to Oklahoma to support the Choctaw Nation and lead the way in preparing for the grand opening of the Choctaw Cultural Center; a stunning 100,000-sf facility with immersive exhibitions, a retail store, a café, and daily Choctaw programming. Ms. Halfmoon oversaw the hiring of all staff for the new cultural center as well as facilitating vital components including branding, marketing, facilities maintenance, and construction. The Choctaw Cultural Center opened its doors on July 23, 2021.
Ms. Halfmoon is currently Chair of the American Alliance of Museums’ Indigenous Peoples Museum Network, and she was recently elected to serve as a council member on the American Association for State and Local History.