In the interview series Meet Native America, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian invites tribal leaders, cultural figures, and other interesting and accomplished Native individuals to introduce themselves and say a little about their lives and work. Together, their responses illustrate the diversity of the indigenous communities of the Western Hemisphere, as well as their shared concerns, and offer insights beyond what’s in the news to the ideas and experiences of Native peoples today.
Please introduce yourself with your name and title.
Marshall R. Gover, president, Pawnee Business Council.
Where is the Pawnee Nation located?
Our headquarters are in Pawnee, Oklahoma.
Where were the Pawnee originally from?
How is your nation’s government set up?
The Pawnee Business Council is the supreme governing body of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.
There is also a Nasharo Council made up of two members chosen from each of our four bands—the Skiri, Kitkehahki, Chaui, and Pitahawirata. The Nasharo Council reviews acts of the Pawnee Business Council regarding membership and claims or rights growing out of our treaties with the United States.
How often are elected leaders chosen?
The eight members of the Business Council serve terms of four years. Elections are held every two years, so that the seats are alternated. All members of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma who are 18 years old or older are eligible to vote.
How often does the Business Council meet?
There are meetings twice a month. The Constitution of the Pawnee Nation calls for four quarterly meetings out of the year.
Approximately how many members are in the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma?
What are the criteria to become a member?
A person must have a Pawnee blood quantum of at least one-eighth.
To read the full interview, visit the NMAI series here.