Ha-way O-Gah-Pah Nation Members,
It is with much thought and consideration, along with the encouragement of fellow tribal members, that I come to you. I would like to announce my candidacy for a business committee position on the Quapaw Nation Business Committee in the July 24, 2021 election.
My name is Mike Shawnee, and I am a descendent of Widow Mary Stafford who was fullblood Quapaw. My great-grandparents were Peter and Julia Stafford Shapp. They were the parents of my grandmother, Mary Shapp who married Bill Shawnee. My father was Jerome Shawnee, Sr., who was chairman for 18 years of my childhood serving the Shawnee Tribe, formerly known as Loyal Shawnee Tribe. My two aunts, Mary “Bobbie” Jennings and Christina “Boots” Pettit, both served on the Quapaw Tribal Business Committee for several years in the 1970s. Growing up with my family involved in tribal politics is something in which I was strongly immersed and took a serious and strong interest.
As candidates, we all seem to have the same hopes for our tribal members; to advance and improve our educational, housing, and social services benefits. First¸ however, I feel that we must address the ongoing tremendous debt that was not paid down over the last 20 years. Becoming a financially solvent entity is my primary focus and reason for running in the upcoming election. Paying down the multi-million-dollar debt needs to be our key emphasis. To help further our growth and provisions, we need to look at ALL industries and enterprises of our tribe and push to make them profitable ventures. Those profits should then be used to increase the benefits that you, our tribal members, deserve to receive.
With my experience in the private sector, I have worked 17 years with a Fortune 1000 company and 10 years with a Fortune 500 company, focusing on revenue management and government contracting. Reading government contracts and drafting bids to gain the business of the government continues to be part of my responsibilities. It has been my duty to understand and adhere to federal acquisition regulations as well.
I feel that my experience more than qualifies me for a position to serve you and to voice your concerns. My position on the business committee would not only be to serve you but to also conduct your business, on your behalf, for the betterment of the whole tribe. I would hope that all candidates would come into this campaign with the same focus, for the betterment of the entire tribe, and not with an axe to grind over personal issues.
Thanks to each of you who have voted and supported me as your Quapaw Tribal Pow-Wow Committee Chairman for the past nine years. It has been a pleasure serving you. Hopefully, your support and confidence in me will continue so that I may be your voice in a tribe where voices were previously muted. You deserve the respect to be heard.
Please register to vote and remember to vote on July 24, 2021. I wish the best to all other candidates.