The Otoe-Missouria Tribe

The Otoe-Missouria Tribe


    on February 9, 2020

    The tribal complex will be closed Monday, February 10 for the funeral of Frank McIntosh. A traditional noon meal will be served with burial to follow at Otoe Cemetery.

    The tribal complex will be closed Tuesday, February 11 for the funeral of Bruce Hess. A traditional noon meal will be served with burial to follow at Otoe Cemetery.

    The funeral information for Jon Dailey is still pending

    On behalf of the Tribal Council and administration, our deepest condolences are extended to the families of Frank McIntosh, Bruce Hess and Jon Dailey.

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  • WIC EBT Cards can now be used at Walmart Self-Checkout

    on January 7, 2020

    PONCA CITY, Okla.--The Otoe-Missouria Women Infant and Children supplemental nutrition program announces that on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 WIC clients would be able to use the WIC EBT CARD at any self-check register at Walmart Stores. 

    WIC serves to safeguard the health of income eligible pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets at no cost.

    An example of the nutritious foods available for free through WIC include: formula, cereal, cheese, eggs, fruits and vegetables, legumes, peanut butter and baby food. Participants can use their EBT card to purchase these items at any approved store where WIC is accepted.

    Otoe-Missouria WIC Director Dawn Briner says that the ability to use the EBT card at self-check registers should make shopping easier for WIC participants.

    “We are so excited to be able to share the accomplishment with you,” Briner says.  “All our partners in WIC have worked diligently in making this happen for you.  We hope that this will make your shopping experience much better and quicker.  Just be sure to use your WIC EBT card first, then run other methods of payment afterwards.”

    In addition to providing food packages to clients, WIC also provides information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care as well as breastfeeding guidance including breastfeeding pumps at no charge.

    Participants must meet income guidelines and a State residency requirement and must be individually determined to be at “nutritional risk” by a health professional.

    WIC is an equal opportunity program. The Otoe-Missouria WIC program has offices in Ponca City, Red Rock, Pawnee, Stillwater and Enid, Oklahoma. 

    More information is available by calling 844-729-5700 or by emailing or visit

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  • Health Benefit Card Changes in 2020

    By Courtney Burgess, Tribal Treasurer on January 1, 2020

    The Otoe-Missouria Tribal Council decided it was best not to renew the AirMedCare flight insurance and put the funds instead toward the Tribal Assistance Health Benefit program.

    This change is necessary to maintain the Health Benefit assistance program at a similar level in the new year. Since changing the Health Benefit program to a benefit card from a reimbursement program, more tribal members have taken advantage of the program.

    The Tribal Assistance Program was created to help tribal members when all other resources have been exhausted. The Health Benefit card was provided to give you, the tribal member, for ease of accessibility to direct assistance for such services when needed.

    Although the cards have always been preloaded for our tribal members with the amount of assistance offered, the tribe only pays what is being used. In other words, if someone decides not to use the Health Benefit Card, then the tribe does not lose money at the end of the year because someone did not use the benefit. Those funds remain in the tribe’s Health Benefit Card budget.

    In addition to more people taking advantage of the Health Benefit Card, the tribal enrollment continues to grow. In 2020, our enrollment will exceed 3,300 members, which will increase the funds needed to offer the tribal assistance.

    In 2020, the Health Benefit Card amount will decrease by $50 so that quarterly assistance of $300 can be divided equally for a total of $1,200 yearly. The benefit card will be loaded with $300 each quarter and will expire when the new quarter begins. Balances will not carry over.

    The cost for the Health Benefit of $1,200, plus administrative fees to manage the card through Keystone Flex is over $4.2 million. The Extraordinary Direct Assistance is eligible quarterly as well, with a limit of $250 per tribal member. This is another assistance offered that alone is over $3.2 million. These two tribal assistance benefits total $7.4 million. The Otoe-Missouria Tribe has been fortunate enough to provide these services along with, school expenses reimbursement, holiday assistance, and elder assistance to its people thanks to our successful tribal enterprises.

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  • A Message Regarding Air Evac/AirMedCare

    on December 9, 2019

    As of October 13, 2019, coverage by Air Evac/AirMedCare Air Ambulance Services expired. Letters were mailed by Air Evac/AirMedCare to all head-of-household contacts on December 1, 2019 to notify members of this termination.

    For administrative reasons, it has been decided by the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Council that the service will not be renewed by the Otoe-Missouria Tribe.

    The funding for the Air Evac/AirMedCare was part of the Tribal Assistance Program budget. The money previously spent on the Air Evac/AirMedCare will be used to supplement programs in the TAP budget, which are used more frequently i.e. Medical/Dental assistance.

    Individuals may purchase family coverage for $85 a year through Air Evac/AirMedCare directly at 855-213-4300 or online at

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  • Tribal Council Members Take Oath of Office

    By Heather Payne, Otoe-Missouria Public Affairs Office on November 15, 2019

    The Otoe-Missouria Tribal Council is from left to right: First Member Wesley Hudson, Second Member Myra Pickering, Vice Chairman Ted Grant, Chairman John Shotton, Secretary Darrell Kihega, Treasurer Courtney Burgess, Third Member Alvin Moore. Chairman Shotton, Secretary Kihega, First Member Hudson were all re-elected to office at the November 2 election. Second Member Pickering was elected against incumbent Melanie Harader. Council members hold three year terms of office.

    RED ROCK, Okla.— The newly elected members of the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Council took the oath of office on Friday, November 15 at the historic old agency in Red Rock.

    In the November 2, 2019 election, Chairman John R. Shotton, Secretary Darrell Kihega and First Member Wesley J. Hudson were all re-elected to office and the position of Second Member was won by Myra Pickering. 

    Chairman Shotton won his race with 78.57% of the votes against challenger Freeman Marlow. Secretary Kihega maintained his position with 65.44% of the votes against Lisa Black-Porter. And incumbent First Member Hudson retained his office with 60.73% of the vote against duel challengers Anthony Burris and Arlen Lightfoot. Newly installed Second Member Myra Pickering was elected with 63.79% of the votes against incumbent Melanie Harader.

    The Otoe-Missouria Tribal Council is run by a seven-member Tribal Council who hold three-year terms. The offices of Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Third Member were elected in 2018.

    Of the 2,517 registered voters, 18.63% voted in the recent election with a 56% of the votes were cast in-person at the tribal complex and 44% of the votes were by absentee ballot. 

    New tribal election board members Linda Francis, Elsie Whitehorn, Cory DeRoin-Little Wounded, Melea Hoffman were also elected to office by a quorum of eligible tribal members at the Annual General Council Meeting. Together, the election board is charged with the duty of conducting all tribal elections and the Annual General Council Meeting. 

    The Otoe-Missouria Tribe has more than 3,300 members located throughout the United States. The tribe was relocated from Nebraska to Indian Territory in 1881. Today, they are one of the largest employers in Kay and Noble County with five casinos, two convenience stores and gas stations, a drive-thru smoke shop, propane company, financial services, hotel, entertainment centers, cattle ranch and indoor water park.

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    on November 2, 2019

    Tribal Council Election Results 2019

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  • Tribe Partners with County and American Red Cross to Dispense Medication

    By Heather Payne, Otoe-Missouria Public Affairs Office on October 17, 2019

    RED ROCK, Okla.--The Otoe-Missouria Tribe has partnered with Payne County and the American Red Cross to become a “Push Partner” Point of Dispensing (POD) site in the event of a biological emergency such as an epidemic flu outbreak.

    The tribe has been working on this project for seven-years. The tribe’s Emergency Manager James LeClair spearheaded all the agreements with area health agencies such as the American Red Cross and Indian Health Services who will help in the event the POD is activated.

    The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) developed the “Push Partner” Program in 2006 in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) medical countermeasures requirements for the Cities Readiness Initiative.

    The push partner program builds capacity so that community partners know how to conduct dispensing operations at a proficiency level equal to that of current public health staff. The program helps partners be successful in demonstrating their dispensing plan.

    The Otoe-Missouria POD will dispense life-saving medications to tribal members, tribal employees and their families. Those who fall under this criterion, but do not live near the Red Rock area are encouraged to go to a POD near their residence. Limiting the movement of other populations will help reduce the spread of any possible contagion and allows the tribe and county to have the proper supply of medication on hand at the dispensing site.

    “By partnering with American Red Cross,” LeClair says, “we are able to use their nurses to help dispense medication at our POD, which will ease the burden on our volunteers and help us reach more people, faster.”

    Push partners, including the Otoe-Missouria POD volunteers, are trained in all aspects of the planning process and participate in exercises that allow them to demonstrate understanding of dispensing operations. Training and exercises are tracked and documented using the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). This helps develop a strong professional relationship with partner agencies as well as ensure push partners will be successful.

    The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the American Red Cross and the tribe includes training, exercises and natural disaster assistance.

    “This has been in the works for many years,” American Red Cross State Relations Director/Tribal Relations Lead Chele Rider says. “We are very proud to formalize this partnership, which will provide services for many years to the community members who count on us to be prepared.”

    The tribe has already held training exercises with Payne County Health officials and state health officials at the tribal complex to determine the best practices, logistics and volunteer training in the event the Otoe-Missouria POD is activated.

    Beyond training, the tribe will begin an awareness campaign so that people will be prepared should a biological emergency, such as a flu epidemic, be declared and the POD be activated. These messages will be dispensed through the tribe’s newsletter, website, social media and community alert system. To sign up for the Otoe-Missouria Community alerts visit

    Each year, there is a flu season, but rarely is an area declared to have a flu epidemic. While the POD will help in the case of a declaration of a flu epidemic or other biological event, the best practice is to maintain your family’s vaccinations including getting a flu vaccine each year. To learn more about vaccinations, contact your local Health Department.

    Caption: Representatives from the American Red Cross and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe finalized an agreement for the American Red Cross to provide training and assistance to the tribe in the event of an emergency. Present at the signing were (back row L to R) American Red Cross Disaster Service Phil Oura, American Red Cross Leon Lively, American Red Cross Sound the Alarm Lead Keith Armstrong, American Red Cross Sound the Alarm Lead Callie Armstrong, American Red Cross Senior Disaster Program Manager Serving Oklahoma Johnny Munn, American Red Cross Volunteer & Board Member Bill Presley, American Red Cross State Relations Director/Tribal Relations Lead Chele Rider and American Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Celeste Carpenter; (front row L to R) Otoe-Missouria Tribal Treasurer Courtney Burgess, Otoe-Missouria Emergency Manager James LeClair and Otoe-Missouria Executive Director Michael Gawhega.


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  • Tribe receives Federal Credit Union Charter from NCUA

    By Heather Payne, Otoe-Missouria Public Affairs Office on May 21, 2019

    RED ROCK, Okla. – The National Credit Union Administration granted a federal charter and Share Insurance Fund coverage to the Otoe-Missouria Federal Credit Union on Monday, May 20 at a special ceremony in Red Rock, Oklahoma.

    The Charter was presented in-person by NCUA Board Chairman Rodney E. Hood who traveled from Washington D.C. to present the first charter of 2019 to the tribe. NCUA is the independent federal agency created by the U.S. Congress to regulate, charter and supervise federal credit unions and manages the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

    “I congratulate the tribal community for making their vision for this credit union a reality,” says Hood. “This charter supports the President’s plan to perpetuate economic growth and establishes greater opportunity and financial security for individuals and businesses by providing affordable services tailored to meeting the needs of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, its employees, and its businesses.”

    The Otoe-Missouria FCU will serve the employees and enrolled members of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, located in Red Rock, Oklahoma, including 17 businesses owned by the Tribe.  Their mission is to provide financial services tailored to meet the needs of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, its employees and its businesses.

    “Like most Native American communities, the Red Rock area has always been underbanked,” Otoe-Missouria Chairman John Shotton says. “Access to banking services and credit has been limited. This credit union will open those services to our people. It’s an exciting time.”

    When the credit union opens in late summer, it will offer key financial services for its members, including regular shares, share draft accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, club accounts, auto loans, unsecured loans, share secured loans, payroll deduction, and h

    OMFCU President & CEO Leilani Harpole welcomed the guests to the charter presentation ceremony and acknowledged the effort the tribe had made to achieve this success.ome banking.  Future services planned include debit cards, courtesy pay, mobile banking, and reloadable gift cards.

    “This project has been a long-time coming and I am grateful to everyone who helped us achieve this goal,” Harpole says. “This credit union is the result of the tribe determining what they needed for their community, for their people and for their nation.”

    Harpole says she expects to hire three employees to operate the first branch of the OMFCU, which will be located in the lobby area of the 7C Land & Cattle Steakhouse and 7 Clans Paradise Event Center in Red Rock.

    NCUA has designated Otoe-Missouria FCU as a low-income credit union based on their potential membership.  This special designation allows the credit union the ability to accept non-member deposits, obtain grants and loans from the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, offer secondary capital accounts, and qualify for exemptions from statutory limits on member business lending.  NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion will provide ongoing assistance to the new credit union.

    The Otoe-Missouria Development Authority, established in 2006, is sponsoring the new credit union. The mission of OMDA is to serve all Otoe-Missouria Tribal members while assisting the Tribe to become self-sufficient in the operation and development of revenue sources needed to provide for the Tribe's present and future needs.

    NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood (left) with Otoe-Missouria Chairman John Shotton stand in front of the new Otoe-Missouria Federal Credit Union. Chairman Hood presented the tribe with their federal charter at a ceremony on Monday, May 20, 2019.

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  • Youth Become the First Tribal Emergency Response Team Instructors in Nation

    By Heather Payne, Otoe-Missouria Public Information Office on January 15, 2019

    NORMAN, Okla.--Four Otoe-Missouria tribal youth became the first Tribal Teen CERT Team Instructors in the United States this weekend in Norman.  

    CERT teams are Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They are a national program of volunteers trained in disaster preparedness and emergency response.

    The youth participated in a 20-hour training that taught them how to be instructors for other youth and adults. Upon completion of their training, the youth are now certified to instruct others on the creation of CERT Teams.

    Previously the youth were part of the first Tribal Teen CERT Team also through the Otoe-Missouria Tribe.

    The new Teen CERT Team instructors are Anias Bible, Derek Bible, Michaela Kihega and Breanna Kihega (the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Princess). Their chaperone was Carolee Bible Pratt who also completed the instructor training.

    The instructor training took place at the Norman Fire Department with participation from the Norman Fire Department, Oklahoma County Emergency Management and the Oklahoma City Emergency Management. The training was sponsored by the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security.

    During their previous trainings, the Otoe-Missouria Teen CERT participants learned: how to extinguish small fires; conduct light search and rescue; assist those who are injured; set up medical treatment areas; assist emergency responders; identify and anticipate hazards; reduce fire hazards in the home and workplace; help reduce survivor stress.

    For the last several years the Otoe-Missouria Emergency Manager James LeClair has worked with FEMA to prepare the tribe and the surrounding community for natural and manmade disasters. His efforts have resulted in the establishment of an adult and teen CERT teams.

    “The youth plan on teaching their own TEEN CERT Camp sometime in the future and they would also like to do a leadership camp in participation with other tribes,” LeClair says. “I cannot tell you how proud I am of these kids. They gave up a whole weekend to become Certified CERT instructors.”

    The Otoe-Missouria Teen CERT will also be presenting at the Intertribal Emergency Management Coalition (ITEMC) Summit as well as volunteering their time to help to help at the event.

    For more information about the Otoe-Missouria Teen Cert Team contact James LeClair at 580-723-4466 ext 142.

    The Otoe-Missouria Teen CERT Team became the first Tribal Teen CERT Instructors in the nation during a training over the weekend in Norman. The new certified instructors are (L to R) Michaela Kihega, Derek Bible, Breanna Kihega, chaperone Carolee Bible Pratt and Anias Bible. 

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  • Tribe Opens New Water Treatment Facility; Provides water to rural Oklahomans

    By Heather Payne, OMT Public Information Office on December 6, 2018

    Red Rock, OKLA.--The Otoe-Missouria Tribe held a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, December 5 in Red Rock to officially begin operation of the tribe’s new water treatment facility.

    After years of enduring issues with poor quality water, the tribe created an intense reorganization plan for the utility authority and the water plant in the fall of 2016.  The Tribal Council appointed the Otoe-Missouria Utility Authority Board and the members began reorganization immediately. 

    Municipalities in the area where the tribe is located struggle with plentiful water sources and effective treatment of water. With the completion of this water treatment facility, the tribe will be able to support some of the communities, residences and businesses in the area that previously did not have access to potable water.

    The new water treatment plant is over 6,500 square feet, much larger than the previous 1,000 square foot water treatment facility. The new water cleaning equipment is state-of-the-art and includes a plate settler system.

    Plate settler systems are designed to remove particulates from liquids. They are often employed in primary water treatment in place of conventional settling tanks. Unlike conventional clarifiers they use a series of inclined plates. These inclined plates provide a large effective settling area for a small footprint. The inlet stream is stilled upon entry into the clarifier. Solid particles begin to settle on the plates and begin to accumulate in collection hoppers at the bottom of the clarifier unit. The sludge is drawn off at the bottom of the hoppers and the clarified liquid exits the unit.

    The pilot study for the equipment was completed in the summer of 2016 and demonstrated how well the water was cleaned through this system.

    The previous plant cleaned about between 40-55 gallons per minute depending on the turbidity of the inflowing water. The new plant will clean a maximum capacity of 175 gallons per minute using just one of the two cleaning lines. The two-line system allows for continuous water output on one line while maintenance and cleaning occur on the other line. The cost of the construction was $4.4 million.

    The new facility can be monitored remotely and in-person. At any given time, one of the six staff members of the water treatment plant will be present in the facility to insure high water quality. 

    The tribe worked with many different agencies including the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma Rural Water Association as well as Bronze Oak who constructed the plant itself and who provided training to the water plant staff.

    The Otoe-Missouria Tribe is located in North Central Oklahoma in Red Rock. There are a currently 3,259 members enrolled in the tribe with the majority living in Oklahoma. The tribe was relocated to Oklahoma in 1881 from its first reservation on the border of Nebraska and Kansas. The tribe currently owns five casinos, two gas stations, two event centers, a hotel, a cattle company, a steakhouse, financial service companies, a propane company and it will open a water park in 2019. 

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