Ha-way Ogahpah Nikashi,
My name is Grant Schalk of the Crawfish Clan, and I'm 37 years old. I humbly announce and
ask for your support as I declare my run for candidacy, seat as Member of the Quapaw Nation
Business Committee. My Great/ Great- Grandfather was Harry Crawfish, and my Great-Grandmother was Alice Crawfish Gilmore. My Grandfather was Harry Gilmore, who served on each seat of the Business Committee throughout his year's including Chairman, Vice-Chairman,and Secretary. My Mother is Bonnie
Gilmore- Schalk. I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, when I was 14 years old. I graduated from Tulsa Union High School in 2001 and attended Tulsa Community College for two years from 2002-2004. My college career was cut short as I had my firstborn Son, Braden Schalk, in 2004, which led me back to working two full-time jobs in order to support my family and fulfill my parenting obligations.
When I first joined the Downstream Casino Resort team in the opening of 2008, my goal was
to run for Tribal Council within ten years. It has now been thirteen years, and I feel without
hesitation it is time to run, get my ideas out there to the tribal members where I can showcase
my skills and experience to make a positive impact. The main reasons I am running for Council
is to give back to the Tribe, the community, and tribal members. As Tribal members, we receive
many benefits, and our people have had our quality of life improved simply because we are
Tribal members. I have often wondered when and how I would try to give back, and I believe
now is the time and being on Tribal Council is the how.
A little something about myself, I have Tow’-wah (Four) children- Braden (17), Sequoyah (10),
Ella (10), and Sage (7). I am strong in communications, with a background and proven success
assisting people to achieve their purpose and fighting for what's best for the Tribe and our
future. I have always been taught to help others when I can and treat others how I want to be
treated. An aspiration of mine is to see the Title VI Building acquire a board certified nutritionist
that overlooks the foods served for lunch to our Elders as the foods they are currently receiving
seems to lack the nutritional value needed. One of my main goals is to assist the Elders with
their needs, such as improving their landscaping by aiding in planting flower beds that they
envision being in their yards but haven't been physically able to plant such things themselves. If
I'm elected, I offer ingenuity and will volunteer my services, helping our Elders with tasks they
want or need done. Staying focused and committed to the health and wellness of our Elders, try
to set up programs that maybe one day reach all our members near and far. Another goal is to
see what we can do for our youth around here on the Rez. A Recreation Center for our children
of all ages, from teens to tiny tots. A nice clean facility for them to be proud of and to use all
the time and connect with other Native children their ages. I remember when growing up, we
had the Center where we could go to play pool, sports, swim, and other activities, which was
absolutely helpful when I needed a place to be active while staying safe.
Although I was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, my family made it a tradition to come and visit for
Powwow each year. A few of my childhood memories of the Quapaw grounds include staying
late out at Powwow's, dancing myself to exhaustion only to end up falling asleep in my Great
Aunt Pearl Crawfish's lap! Going over to my Great Aunt Gladys and Charlie Bill Hirsch's house
and learning how to do beadwork and other Indian arts and crafts, playing Indian Dice games,
and learning how to master the game of Poker as my Great Aunt Gladys and Charlie Bill would
always want to sit and play cards while sharing stories about growing up in a different world
than today. Teaching me the Indian ways of our ancestors, always telling me how important it is
that I sit and learn these ways to pass them down to the next generations and generations that
follow so that our culture always lives on and never gets forgotten. I'm a firm believer in
keeping our culture alive; I have always been involved in Powwow, sweats, and other Indian
events. I would like to also hold the current administration up to their election promises in
regards to the vision seeing through and ensuring that the Elder Women for Guidance and
Council “Chief System” move forward and established in our governing constitution and
extending language classes utilizing modern technology that can reach any Quapaw no matter
where they live, as I also feel preserving our language is key to our heritage and culture.
I have worked at the unequivocally impressive Downstream Casino Resort for seven years and
have worked in three different departments! I keep coming back because again I love helping
my people and giving back to the Tribe and community. When opening Downstream, I was the
Guest Service/Valet Manager from 2008-2010. Returned to Downstream and worked in the
Player Development Department as the Executive Casino Host, 2012-2016. Recently at the start
of 2021, I rejoined the Downstream team and am currently, Senior Sales of Hotel and Banquets.
Although I am new to the sales team, I am not new to the Hospitality Industry. I bring fifteen
years of gaming experience with ten years of casino and hotel management experience to this
new position, where I execute sales plans, strategies, and client development. I was hired for
the sole purpose of this position to network with all tribal-owned businesses and Sovereign
Nations throughout Indian Country. I am meeting and talking with Native business owners and
tribal leaders in efforts to host their larger Meetings/ Conferences at Downstream not only to
increase profits but to showcase all of the Quapaw Agricultural Programs throughout our
property, perhaps providing them a glimpse of our culture and how we maintain immersed in
tradition. I firmly believe that we have our ancestors in our hearts and souls, and they are
guiding me in this chapter in my life.
I won't write my biography here nor wax nostalgic about simpler, more innocent times. But I
share this hoping you understand how much this community and Tribe have meant to me. With
your vote, I hope to take the next step. We know there has been unrest within the Tribe,
dissatisfaction with the leadership and overall direction of the Tribe. The discontent is not
unjustified, but I won't engage in the usual Council-bashing. Truthfully, I believe most of the
Council are doing their darndest, but their most challenging obstacle is distractions. They are so
busy tripping over one another or engaging in petty battles that the big picture is often
forgotten. Sadly, that big picture is us, the Quapaw's. I feel our future is bright, and tough
decisions will be necessary, unpopular ones even, and now more than ever, our Tribe needs
stable, objective, and strong leadership.
We need people unafraid to face criticism who recognize that our general membership is tired
of empty campaign promises of change. We deserve new ways of governance, of doing
business, and new approaches to recurring problems. We need to reform our government, and
we need to modernize our Tribal laws and Tribal Constitution. Recognizing the importance of
healing these historical wounds and restoring trust. With respect to Tribal benefits, I believe all
Tribal benefits are important, Health Care, Elder's/Disability/Veterans, Education, Housing,
Substance Abuse Programs, Violence against Native Women, and our Agricultural Resource
Programs. I believe that by working together as a Tribe, we can strike the correct balance that
permits all of these to continue for Tribal Members for many years to come.
The following is a list of qualities that I know I can bring as a member of the Council:
• Respect: I have a great deal of respect for the office of Tribal Council. I believe the
position of a Tribal Council member is not to serve their own interests or just the
interests of the people that support them, but to serve all Tribal members, and that
is what I intend to do if you vote me as a member of your Tribal Council.
• Trustworthiness: I believe trust is essential to any relationship. I will work to gain your
trust and work even harder to never lose it.
• Dependability and Self Responsibility: I have held numerous positions throughout my
22 years of employment within the hospitality industry. I have always had an
excellent attendance record despite difficulties and hardships that come along with
• Honesty and Integrity: Holding management positions for over 10 years, I have learned
it is vitally important to provide a work environment where employees can speak
freely when there are disagreements within the department, or if they have an
opportunity to bring an idea forward that they believe has merit. I also believe, for
multiple reasons, this has been difficult for some Council members. My many years
of management skills have allowed me to develop the ability to put aside personal
differences and do the job that I was hired to do.
I want unity within all the Clans. I seek to unify the entirety of the Business Committee to work
together as an ultimate team, and I will work side-by-side with the administration to better the
Tribe. I don't promise revolution. But as somebody whose life has been forever bound to my
Native heritage, I promise this: Elect me, and you will notice a positive impact on change and
Blessings and love to the Quapaw Nation, A'ho! If you have any questions or concerns, please
feel free to contact me anytime at (918) 998-1283 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I respectfully urge you to mark a vote on your ballot for Grant Schalk on July, 24, 2021!
Grant Schalk, Candidate for Member of the Quapaw Nation Business Committee