Family members, friends and Osage constituents joined Osage Nation Congressional candidate Berbon Hamilton at his family camp in the Pawhuska Village where he discussed his interest seeking public office.
Attendees enjoyed a barbecue dinner and listened to Hamilton at the camp located across from the dance arbor on May 1. “I was told this is the first time anyone’s ever had a campaign dinner at their family camp, so we got blessed with a beautiful (sunny) day.”
Hamilton introduced himself as the Whipman for the Pawhuska District during the Inlonshka. The family camp was built around 1950 and his parents are the late Otto Hamilton Jr. and Sandra Murphy-Hamilton, Berbon Hamilton added.
Hamilton is a Tulsa East Central High School graduate and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kans. Hamilton said he also earned a certificate from the U.S. Small Business Administration which covered government contracting.
He currently serves as program manager with Tribal Government Institute PTAC, which is a Procurement Technical Assistance Center. “What we do is we help Native and tribally-owned small businesses with government contracting and I bring 15 years of government contracting experience to the Congress (if elected),” Hamilton said.
“In (fiscal year) 2021, $145 billion was awarded to small businesses and we need to be in there,” Hamilton said. “Small business means you have to have a net worth of $700,000 and with American Indian federally recognized tribes, that don’t matter, we can just start a (small) business through the federal regulations.”
In learning about the Osage Nation’s business endeavors, Hamilton said “We have two 8(a) companies and I helped start one (wrote the business plan for one), but they only have a year left and they’ll graduate out of that program. It’s a business development program and only people with this certification can get these contracts, $34 billion was awarded to 8(a) companies last year.”
“There’s Indian tribes out there that don’t have gaming, but they have government contracting,” Hamilton said, adding he’s aware of an Alabama tribe that has 600 tribal members and has a $200 million business. “And so, we need to go into the 8(a) business, big time, I’m ready to go all-in,” Hamilton said.
For other endeavors, Hamilton said the Nation should also look at lowering the elder age from 65 to 55 to serve more people with the health benefit $1,000 annual amount currently available to elders. For higher education, Hamilton said he’d like to see more scholarship funding appropriated for master’s and PhD programs.
“On June 6, I’m asking for your vote to put me to work,” Hamilton said.