Osage Nation Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle was recently elected as the Vice Chair of the United Indian Nations in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas (UNIOKT).
Red Eagle will serve a three-year term for the organization that was “formed to pursue the advocacy of law and policy to benefit all Indian nations and Indigenous Peoples,” according to an Osage Nation press release.
As vice chair, Red Eagle will be required to prepare and present the organization’s annual report during the UNIOKT convention. One of the items set for the UNIOKT agenda for May of next year is to hold a “State Impact Day” where the group and supporters will gather at the Oklahoma state capitol to raise awareness to issues concerning tribes in the state.
Red Eagle was in Washington D.C. this week to attend the 2013 White House Tribal Nations Conference. Prior to the conference he was among a small group of tribal leaders who met with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, on November 12, on ways for tribes to take advantage of educational opportunities. On November 15 Red Eagle met with Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs on the tribe’s water rights battle with the state of Oklahoma.
“We believe this is a strategic move on the part of the state to assert itself at a time when the two branches of Osage government are at odds. I will make every effort to see that the state is not allowed to encroach on the sovereign rights of the Osage Nation and the Osage shareholders,” Chief Red Eagle said.
Membership into UNIOKT follows three requirements. Tribes must be recognized within the states of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas; individuals must be members of those tribes recognized; and tribal, corporate and non-profit organizations must be within these states.