Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear is tapping two Osages who live in Missouri to serve on the tribe’s Gaming Enterprise Board that oversees the casinos.
Standing Bear recently nominated Claudette Carnett of Roach, which is located on Lake of the Ozarks not far from the Nation’s proposed Missouri casino, and next week he expects to name Bruce Pollock, who lives in suburban Kansas City.
Carnett, 64, has a long career with gaming that began when she was the director of marketing for the Cherokee Nation’s Bingo Outpost in Siloam; she and her husband, Randy, were also the first co-managers of the Osage bingo operation at Wakon Iron Hall in Pawhuska but moved on to new jobs.
When she was hired at Cherokee, Carnett said she had no idea that her career would center on casinos for the next 29 years.
“I didn’t know a thing about gaming,” she said. “But I had an Indian card and a resume that said marketing on it, so I became marketing director.”
She has worked since for a variety of companies, some of them gaming consulting companies that she and her husband formed, and some of them run by others, including two years at International Game Technology or IGT, a major slot machine manufacturer, and three years at Casino Money LLC, which makes automated teller and ticket redemption machines that are used at casinos and other businesses, including at Churchill Downs race track and Safeway grocery stores.
Pollock, whose grandmother was the Osage original allottee Ora Tinker, has spent his career as the operations manager for a large towing company in Missouri but has also acted as an unofficial ambassador and cheerleader for the casino that the Nation is pursuing at Osage Beach on Lake of the Ozarks.
“The reason why I’ve been involved is simply because I’m Osage,” he said. “I got interested years ago because my son and nephews and nieces got to use casino money for college and better themselves.
“I wanted to do something for the Osage to give back, so I started pushing to see Osage gaming in Missouri, just on my own accord.
“We are so fortunate to have these casinos, and we’re going to be so much more fortunate to get an Osage casino in Missouri.
“I want to make sure that college fund is there for my grandchildren.”
Pollock said that he never imagined he would be nominated for a seat on the Gaming Enterprise Board.
Standing Bear said that he was impressed by Pollock for a variety of reasons but especially that he had long ago read the entire 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and had great familiarity with it.
When Standing Bear’s comment was repeated to him, Pollock chuckled. As it turned out, the pursuit of knowledge about all things related to Osage is his passion, whether it be long sessions with his father’s now-deceased first cousin, the historian Louis Burns, or participating in the writing of the 2006 Osage Constitution and strategic plan.
“I don’t take vacations like regular people do,” he said. “I come to the Osage and learn.”
Carnett, who grew up in Pawhuska and is a member of the Tayrien and Revard families, attended her first gaming board meeting on May 25 and has been issued a temporary gaming license while awaiting a full-blown background check. (She said she excused herself from a closed-door session because she hasn’t been fully licensed yet but added that she has repeatedly been licensed in other jobs.)
She’s being sworn in on June 1 and will have to be confirmed by the Osage Nation Congress, as will Pollock.
Because she’s in Missouri, Carnett has relations with the community and helped smooth some feathers that got ruffled by an Osage Nation employee who came down on the school in Osage Beach over its mascot, “Chief Wahoo,” and logo.
Carnett said she took a more diplomatic approach and introduced school administrators to the Osage-developed curriculum for students in grades K-3 to educate the locals, and said the school appears interested in adopting it.
“I do not subscribe to the philosophy that we need to be adversarial with each other for any reason.
“I can get along with anybody and that’s my goal with the board.
“It’s a very crucial time. It takes not playing games. It takes not being petty. It takes not worrying about what people are saying or spreading gossip.
“It’s about doing the work.”