Meet Native America: Marshall R. Gover, President, Pawnee Business Council
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, the 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 people today. —Dennis Zotigh, NMAI
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.
Is your language still spoken on your homelands? If so, what percentage of your people would you estimate are fluent speakers?
A handful of people are fluent speakers of the Pawnee language.
What economic enterprises does your nation own?
What annual events does your nation sponsor?
What other attractions are available for visitors on your land?
To read other interviews in this series, click on the banner below.
From left to right: Representative Ponka-We Victors (Tohono O’odham/Southern Ponca) taking the oath of office in the Kansas House of Representatives; photo courtesy of Kansas Rep. Scott Schwab. Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache) at the Sundance Film Festival; photo courtesy of WireImage. Sergeant Debra Mooney (Choctaw) at the powwow in Al Taqaddum Air Force Base, Iraq, 2004; photo courtesy of Sgt. Debra Mooney. Councilman Jonathan Perry (Wampanoag) in traditional clothing; photo courtesy of Jonathan Perry. Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee) at Blackhorse et al. v. Pro Football, Inc., press conference, U.S. Patent and Trade Office, February 7, 2013; photo courtesy of Mary Phillips. All images used with permission.