The Tribal election is scheduled for 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 3 at the Peoria tribal Administration Building Conference Room located at 118 S Eight Tribes Trail in Miami.

MIAMI – A big election is set for March 3 for the Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma to determine if incumbent Chief John P. Froman or contender Craig Harper will take the seat for next term.

Froman has now served as Chief of the Peorias for five terms and is running again in this election to keep the seat.

Challenger Craig Harper, a member of the Peoria Tribes’ Business Committee has declared his candidacy for the seat as well.

The Tribal election is scheduled for 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 3 at the Peoria tribal Administration Building Conference Room located at 118 S Eight Tribes Trail in Miami.

Two candidates filed for the two seats in this election for the Grievance Committee. In accordance with Article XVI-Filing for Candidacy, Section 1 (i) Unopposed Candidate(s), Mary Lembeke Davey (incumbent) and Lela Kay Stand (incumbent) have both been declared by the Election Committee to be elected. A Special Election will be called to fill the vacated seat on the Business Committee, according to the Peoria Tribe Election Committee.

Any member of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma shall be eligible to vote, provided the member is 18 years of age or over on the date of the election. Each member is required to show proof of identification at each election in the form of government-issued photo identification showing their name to match the Official Voter's List provided by the Tribal Enrollment Office. The ballots will be counted and tabulated and the results will be announced at the Annual General Council Meeting on Saturday, March 3 convening at 1 p.m.

Both men were asked to submit a 300 word biographical and or platform message for the Miami News-Record, and submitted the following information:

John P. Froman

“My name is John P. Froman I am running for Chief of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. I was first elected Chief in 2001 and have won five terms. I would like to have your vote on March 3rd once again.

As Chief, I not only represent the tribe but in our structure, I also am tribal administrator over all employees and grant programs. This is a full-time job that takes experience dealing with federal agencies. I am very proud of the tribal employees for the work they perform.

During my time as Chief, the tribe has experienced very little turnover of employees. I feel this assists tribal members as they feel comfortable dealing with the same people that know the programs. During my tenure, the tribe has achieved a level of growth that allows tribal programs to expand. With this success, the tribe has purchased land that has allowed programs to expand. I would like to create additional tribal programs to assist our membership in my next term.

I have been very active in the community serving on the Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Vice-President of Inter-Tribal Council for several years. These two groups are important to our community, as they allow access to individuals that can and have helped the tribe to expand economic development opportunities. With additional help from these two groups, I plan on developing our own industrial park on tribal land. This will allow us to recruit business to increase employment opportunities for all members of our community.

Once again, I am asking for your vote on March 3rd to continue the growth and success we have achieved over the past 17 years.”

Craig Harper

“My name is Craig Harper and on March 3, 2018, I am seeking the office of Chief of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. Over the past five years, it has been my honor to serve as Second Councilman of the Peoria Tribal Business Committee.

I believe a new season and new direction for our efforts is vital for the future of the Peoria Nation. This new direction must lead us into new, untapped areas of economic development, political growth and creative business ventures far beyond our current position.

Economic and financial diversification, along with business and land acquisitions, need to be at the forefront of our Tribal government efforts in order to position the Peoria Nation for greater long-term success. One example of future projects is the development of the former Miami Golf & Country Club. This property has been neglected far too long.

Looking ahead, I believe a stronger cultural presence is needed to revitalize our native heritage and traditions, as well as encouraging fellowship among our Tribal citizens and other local Tribes. I am proud of the Peoria Tribe and understand the courage it takes our members to put their trust into their elected officials. I sincerely thank those of you who have supported me in the past and humbly ask for your Vote at this year’s Tribal Election.”

Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at mstotts@miaminewsrecord.com or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.