In 1878, Iowa Tribal members began moving into Oklahoma. In 1883 they were given lands within the Sac and Fox Reservation. Originally the tribe’s main settlement was in the Fallis area, but later, headquarters was moved a few miles south of Perkins, where it is today.
The Iowa Tribal Nation is in Lincoln, Payne, Oklahoma and Logan Counties. The tribe owns several businesses and is one of the largest employers in Payne County and in the Perkins area, with over 350 employees filling a wide variety of positions. According to Wikipedia, the tribe’s estimated annual economic impact in 2009 was $65,259,059. Since their headquarters are in Lincoln County, they have donated extensive funds toward the repair of roads and bridges in that area.
A little over 1/3 of District 2 in Logan County is part of the Iowa Reservation. This includes areas between Indian Meridian to Pottawatomie and Waterloo north to the Cimarron River. Consequently, we have reached out to partner with them in helping to rebuild road infrastructure in east Logan County.
On June 16, 2009, I met with the tribe’s attorney, Truman Carter, and with a representative of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Tom Simpson. This was the springboard to a series of meetings with Mr. Carter, the Iowa Tribal Chairperson, Janice Rowe-Kurak, Vice Chairman, Perri Ahhaitty and others with the tribe. On July 29, 2011, we submitted a proposal to Mr. Carter to partner in the replacement of 10 bridges and the paving of 11 miles of roadway. We anticipate that the proposal will be presented to the tribal board sometime in September, where they will decide which bridges and roads to submit to the BIA for funding.
This has been a rather long process, but we are encouraged that the Iowa Tribe has been made much more aware of the mutual benefit of partnering with Logan County.
Mike Pearson is the Logan County Commissioner for District 2.