from The Chiefs

Chief Barnes
Ben Barnes

hato saawanooki (Hello Shawnee citizens)

Our offices have been very busy these past winter months.

On September 30, we commemorated Orange Shirt Day at the Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site in Fairway, Kansas. Our efforts to learn more about and honor our Shawnee children who attended the mission continue, and we will not stop until we have a full understanding of the mission’s history.

After the Orange Shirt Day event, we shifted gears to commemorating the anniversary of the death of Tecumseh. We did not celebrate his death, but rather his life. He has been attributed as to having said... 

"Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.”

Tecumseh also said that from his tribe, he takes nothing, that he himself was the master of his own fortune and destiny. It is with this mindfulness and with full remembrance of all our former Shawnee leaders, chairmen and women, chiefs, and hokimaki and hokimawikwaki, boceli noki bocelikewe, men and women, that gave themselves to our people that we will commemorate Tecumseh day every October 5 into perpetuity.

On November 12, tribal leadership gathered at waapakomiisi—our White Oak ceremonial grounds—in Northeast Oklahoma with Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin, Jr. Our people have been practicing our traditional ceremonials at White Oak for over 100 years. And on November 12, Chief Hoskin and I entered our two tribes into a memorandum of agreement to establish the 155 acres at White Oak as a cultural preserve, which ensures that our sacred place there will be protected for our future generations.

Second Chief Baldridge and I also spent much time lobbying for support of the Shawnee Tribe’s interests in the Kansas State legislature and at the federal level in Washington D.C.

November was widely commemorated as Native American Heritage Month. My hope for our tribal nation is that our work as a government shows the world how we are proud of our culture and our people all 365 days of the year. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

niyaawe, (thank you)

Ben Barnes 


Roy Baldridge
Second Chief

hatito caaki wiyeefa, (Hello everyone,)

I hope all is well as we enter the winter season. In addition to events and meetings, our tribal programs officers have been busy strategically planning for upcoming social service program rollouts, and more information will be mailed to you in early 2022.

I’m also very pleased that even with all the new growth in our staff at headquarters, over 60% of our workforce are Native citizens, and nearly half of those are Shawnee citizens.

As I previously mentioned, we continue to engage the federal, state and local governments in issues that affect our tribe. In several cases, we are exploring ways we can enter partnerships that can benefit our tribe and the communities we reside in. We strive to build a future that will guarantee a positive future for our families, specifically our children, grandchildren and generations that follow.

I always try to make the point to say we. I say that because it takes all of us working together to make it all possible. Whether it is the Business Council, support staff, volunteers or citizens, we all share in the successes and failures. We cannot afford to think of ourselves as individuals because any decision we make can have blanket effects on each of us and across Indian Country positively and negatively. With that being said, I will state that we always carefully study outcomes as we work toward a positive future for our Shawnee Communities.

niyaawe, (Thank you,)

Roy D. Baldridge

Second Chief