from The Chief

Ben Barnes

hatito sawanoleniki, ninatoota yeesi howeesi ponameekwe kilaki meyanik’kato

Greetings tribal citizen,

As we look forward to the Christmas season that quickly approaches, I want to encourage you to take a moment to reach out to our own family members.

As I was trying to write this today, a relative called me and it reminded me of how much we need each other during these difficult times, particularly as the holidays approach us. I hope during this Christmas holiday, you and your family find new ways to share your joy and love for each other as we look after our most precious family members.

During this holiday season and for as long as the pandemic continues, if you know of an elder that is having difficulty or that might be all alone in an eldercare facility, I want to know about it so that our Tribe will be of assistance to them with a willing, helpful spirit. This is how we should always be, not just    during a holiday or epidemic. Our grandparents and their grandparents gave to us this tradition, a culture that cherishes and honors our elderly, so please reach out to me if you feel the Tribe can be of some assistance. My direct number is (918) 541-8950 and my email is  

As you read this, the Shawnee Tribe will likely have concluded our lawsuit against the United States Treasury (The Shawnee Tribe v. Mnuchin, et al. Case No. 20-cv-1999 (APM)) and while I have no insight as to how the court decides, we will have fought for our people, demanding that the Shawnee Tribe be equally-treated as a Tribal Nation. Should the Tribe prevail, we will send out   subsequent information regarding the lawsuit and what it means to our tribal nation. 

 In closing, I want to thank all our Shawnee people that have been inconvenienced with services at the Shawnee Tribe headquarters during the last few weeks. We had our fourth outbreak of COVID-19 at the office and this last was particularly worrisome. Fortunately, the employees and their families have recovered with no hospitalization needed.

Through the end of the year, the Shawnee Tribe staff will be working from home with very limited office access. We are increasing our ability to serve you without you physically having to risk your health to obtain the services of the Shawnee Tribe. Details of the ways in which we are making this possible are contained within the pages of this newsletter. 

From my family to yours, I wish you happy holidays and a Merry Christmas. 

 hini leki. kepikweholo.

Ben Barnes