Updated from The Quapaw Post magazine.
QUAPAW, Oklahoma -- Official election results show Quapaw Nation voters returned all four incumbents to their Quapaw Nation Business Committee seats in July's election. Callie Bowden will serve a second term as Vice-Chairwoman, a position she’s held since 2019. Voters also chose to return Zack Turley, Michelle Newton, and Jeremy Olsen to their positions as the Quapaw Nation Business Committee members. Turley begins a third term. Both Newton and Olsen start their second. This is Olsen’s first full term on the Business Committee, as he was seated in a special election in March.
The Quapaw Nation’s 1956 Governing Resolution sets each term for elective office at two years, with staggered elections every year.
The vote tallies for Quapaw Nation Vice Chairwoman were:
Callie Bowden, 379.
Mary “Heather” Dismuke, 169.
Under the Quapaw Election & Voting Ordinance, each eligible voter may cast one vote for each open seat on the Business Committee. The top three vote-getters are declared the winners. For the three contested seats on the Business Committee, vote tallies are as follows:
Michelle Newton, 212.
Zackary D. Turley, 181.
Jeremy Olsen, 163.
Mike Shawnee, 156.
Linda Davis, 149.
Kathryn Wena Supernaw, 144.
Henry M. Ellick, 130.
Brandon “Everett” Bandy, 115.
JoKay Dowell, 83.
Larry Mercer, 72.
Grant Schalk, 47.
Sean C. Matthews, 36.
Lauren M. Cousatte, 32.
Brandy Shapp, 11.
Mandy Gilmore Riddle, 9.
Typically, the Quapaw Nation Election Committee must certify election results by noon on the third business day after the votes are counted unless a challenge of those results occurs. A challenge did take place, as two candidates felt several issues, including an error by the Election Committee, were concerning and had possibly affected the outcome. When Absentee ballots began making their way out, approximately 80 did not identify how many member candidates each registered voter could select.
The Election Committee denied their challenge on the grounds that extra steps were taken to ensure the relevant information was made available by sending out a mailer the very next day. Notice was also posted online and at the community building on the date of the election. The challenge then moved to the Grievance Committee for final and unappealable review, where it was also subsequently denied.
In most cases, Business Committee members are sworn in the following BC meeting after the election, but the results of the challenge were not made known until the date of that meeting. That swearing-in process will now take place at the September Business Committee meeting.
Callie Bowden, Vice-Chairwoman-elect
“I want to thank the many voters who believed enough in me to allow me to continue in service to the Quapaw people. In my time on the Business Committee, I’ve done my best to be a leader, not a follower, and I am humbled the voters recognized that. I will continue to use my education in Business Administration and Indian Law to strengthen our government and help us become more self-sufficient through our businesses. And I pledge to always keep the Quapaw people’s best interest at the forefront while doing so. So again, I extend my gratitude to all the voters for allowing me two more years to ensure all Quapaw tribal members have a strong future to look forward to.”
Zack Turley, Member-elect
“I have proudly worked for the Quapaw Nation Fire and EMS for thirteen years and served on the Business Committee for four. But nothing could have prepared me for the challenges of this past year, so I could not be more grateful for the Quapaw people’s faith in returning me to the Business Committee. I don’t take this pandemic lightly or my responsibility for the health and safety of the Quapaw people. I’m proud we provided COVID relief funds twice during this pandemic to our citizens and my role in strengthening our partnerships with local agencies. I also helped develop and implement a program for elders to see a paramedic in their homes rather than go for a doctor’s visit. I helped increase access to telemedicine, both initiatives that keep our elders safe during this uncertain time. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue important initiatives like these and will serve with that same commitment for the next two years.”
Michelle Newton, Member-elect
“I am so grateful you, the Quapaw people, have entrusted me to help lead our Quapaw Nation for another two years. I’m eager to continue moving our nation forward in a much-needed, positive direction that cuts waste in our businesses and expands benefits to all tribal members. I’m proud that I’ve worked on initiatives that expand services to youth and elders, like completing the Methadone clinic, the justice center, the last phase of elder housing and the new OLC. In addition, I will help diversify our businesses and strengthen self-governance by increasing transparency and establishing a constitution. And over the next two years, I’ll place an even greater emphasis on preserving Quapaw culture by expanding programs for youth. But above all, I vow to strengthen our nation through honesty, transparency, and a passion for serving.”
Jeremy Olsen, Member-elect
“I would like to thank each of you who voted for me in this election and the special election held in March. It is a privilege and an honor to serve our Quapaw people. During my short term in office, I have been busy with many issues regarding our businesses, affordable tribal housing, and relief through the American Rescue Plan Act. I feel in my heart I have cast many votes that will better serve our nation in a good way. But we can also never forget our culture. I am an officer of the Quapaw Native American Church, a member of the Quapaw Gourd clan, and an active Quapaw Grave Digger. I have been a ceremonial Firemen and Headmen for our people on many occasions. As someone raised with our Quapaw people and culture, I know we owe it to our children and future generations to make wise and informed decisions. I am humbled to be returned to this position and look forward to serving with honesty.”