The results of the Quapaw Annual Election will see the transition to a new name and incumbent Business Committee Chairman John Berrey retain his seat.
QUAPAW- The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma will now operate under the name of the Quapaw Nation after the tribe's members voted 456 to 314 in favor of the name change in the 2018 Annual Election in July, according to official results.
According to the Quapaw’s Public Relations Director Anna McKibben, the name will be officially adopted on August 18.
“The Okáxpa should no longer call itself the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, but should embrace the title of the Quapaw Nation. For reasons discussed, 'Tribe' is a word unbefitting the Okáxpa. 'Tribe' masks the true and unique nature of the Quapaw people, government, and culture, and it dishonors the social togetherness, common values, and shared vision characteristic of a unified people,” Barbara Kyser-Collier wrote in the Winter 2018 edition of the Quapaw Tribal News.
The Nastion's top leadership position of Chairman of the Quapaw Tribal Business Committee was retained by incumbent John Berrey who won with 449 votes to opponent Robert M. Weaver's 350 votes.
Berrey served as a member of the Business Committee for one term before being elected Chairman and has served in that role for the past 17 years. He was awarded the 2018 Tribal Leader of the Year Award in April by the Native American Finance Officers Association, an agency launched more than 30 years ago to support growing tribal economies and communities.
Although the Quapaw Nation’s main source of revenue comes through gaming enterprises, the Quapaw Casino and Downstream Casino, under Berrey’s leadership the has diversified into other business enterprises including a beef and bison herd, agricultural sector endeavors, a coffee roasting facility, a USDA-inspected meat processing facility, and most recently a craft beer brewing company.
The Quapaw have also contracted with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the instrumental role of cleaning up mining waste in the area’s Tar Creek Superfund Site.
In other races in the Nation's Annual Election, incumbent Tamara Smiley Reeves was re-elected as Secretary/Treasurer of the Business Committee with 432 votes to candidate Solomon Jones' 368 votes received.
Incumbent candidate Ranny McWatters lost his bid to retain the seat of Tribal Business Committee Member in a close race garnering 392 votes to winner Lloyd Buffalo's 406 votes.
“I’m blessed to have been given the opportunity to serve the Quapaw Tribe, I’m so happy Tamara Reeves was re-elected because she and I have worked together so long and we have worked very hard to create great growth. I’m very sad to see Ranny McWatters lost his election and I congratulate Lloyd Buffalo on his election and I look forward to working with him again,” Berrey said.
The Quapaw Nation's Election Committee reports the tribe has a total of 1,382 registered voters.
The committee reports for the 2018 Annual Election, walk-in voters totaled 248, with no ballots spoiled, 616 absentee ballots were mailed out and 555 were received, with two of the absentee ballots spoiled.
Total votes are reported for this election of 803 cast, 801 counted and two spoiled.
Members of the Quapaw Tribal Business Committee are elected every two years, and there are no term limits.
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.