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HomeGovernmentOsage Congress confirms individuals for board service, discuss possible board restructuring

Osage Congress confirms individuals for board service, discuss possible board restructuring


Benny Polacca

Photo caption: The 7th Osage Nation Congress met for the 2021 Hun-Kah Session in April. CODY HAMMER/Osage News

Six individuals received confirmation votes from the Seventh Osage Nation Congress to serve three-year terms on various ON government boards.

The Congressional confirmation votes took place as part of legislative matters during the 2021 Hun-Kah Session. The individuals subject to confirmation consideration were appointed by Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. The Congressional committees also vetted the appointees’ professional resume information before motions were made and passed to place the appointees on the April 23 session agenda for confirmation votes.

Before the votes, some Congress members said there will be forthcoming discussions on plans to overhaul the Nation’s board structure. The comments came after the Congressional Commerce Gaming and Land Committee met the day before to discuss board restructuring with the Executive Branch during a closed-door executive session.

After the committee meeting, some Congress members stated they would not be voting to confirm some business board members with discussions to overhaul the board structure to come.

During motions for the confirmation votes, Gaming Enterprise Board appointee Justin Mays did not receive a second following Congresswoman Alice Goodfox’s motion for a confirmation vote. This means he is no longer serving on the gaming board as an interim member. A second gaming board appointee, Julie Malone, received a confirmation vote after a 6-6 tie was broken with a “yes” vote from Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn.

On the board restructure idea, Goodfox said “I came away from that (April 22) meeting with a very strong opinion I believe on where our board restructure needs to go, and this will be a very hard vote for me because I realize that Ms. (Julie) Malone is the only person on the (gaming) board that has gaming (work) experience. But I also have a very strong opinion on how I want to see our boards restructured, so I will be a ‘no’ vote.”

Second Speaker Jodie Revard said the current GEB make-up has enough to make a quorum (three without Malone and Mays), so she would also be voting ‘no.’” Other sitting board members are Mark Simms (chairman), Mark Revard and Susan Kneeland.

Congressman Eli Potts noted a board restructure has not taken place yet, adding: “We’re not in these seats to make decisions based on laws we hope to have. The Gaming Enterprise Board is in law, it’s in place, I strongly believe it should be fully staffed.”

Congresswoman Brandy Lemon said her “no” confirmation vote for Malone is not personal, but “based on where we want to go and the board can function in full capacity (as is with three members) … Our job, in my opinion, is to look ahead but also don’t forget where we come from. It’s time for change, what we’re doing now with our boards since 2006, as far as economic development, the majority of them have not been successful and I think it’s time to regroup and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

The Congressional confirmation vote for Malone tied 6-6 with “yes” votes from Congress members Scott BigHorse, Billy Keene, John Maker, Potts, Joe Tillman and RJ Walker. Voting “no” were Goodfox, Lemon, Revard, Pam Shaw, Stabler and Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt. After the Congress members voted, Red Corn voted “yes” to break the tie to confirm Malone.   

The other individuals confirmed for board service were:

–        Julie O’Keefe received an 11-1 vote to serve another term on the ON Foundation Board with Stabler voting “no.”

–        George Stabler Sr. received an 11-0 vote to serve an inaugural term on the Traditional Cultural Advisors Committee with one abstention from Congresswoman Stabler who said she would also abstain from Congressional committee discussions to initially consider Stabler Sr.

–        Belle Wilson received an 11-0 vote to serve another term on the Election Board with Goodfox, who is Wilson’s niece, abstaining.

–        Ladd Oldfield received a 12-0 vote to serve another term on the ON Ranch Board.

–        Nancy Pillsbury Shirley received a 12-0 vote to serve another term on the ON Foundation Board.

On May 18, the newly reformed Commerce Gaming and Land Committee met and had another executive session discussion on boards and commissions restructuring. Shaw, now the committee chair, said “we want to continue our discussion on a possible restructure of the boards as our Nation has changed, our businesses have changed. We want to make sure we put ourselves in the best possible situation to be even more successful and continue growth. We’ve had the opportunity to talk to a few of the boards and I assure you that we will continue our effort to include all of the boards that are potentially impacted as part of any restructure that may come about.”

For more information on the Legislative Branch, filed legislative bills/ resolutions, session and committee meetings, visit:

Original Publish Date: 2021-05-24 00:00:00

Benny Polacca

Title: Senior Reporter


Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.


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