Jessica McBride/Managing Editor
MCN looks to sign MOU for youth agriculture education
OKMULGEE, Okla. — A joint session of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council’s Health, Education and Welfare Committee and the Land, Natural Resources and Cultural Preservation Committee was held June 6 at the Mound Building in Okmulgee.
HEW/LNC addressed the following legislation, the interpretation of which is attributed to language in the bills:
TR 17-081 Authorizing the principal chief to execute a memorandum of understanding with Oklahoma State University relating to the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program in Oklahoma. Rep. Mark Randolph sponsored the resolution, which passed 8-0.
MCN wants to support extension education programs related to food, agriculture and natural resource conservation and wants to partner with OSU.
Under the MOU, MCN would be required to recruit volunteers and participants for youth events such as archery, shooting sports, speech contests and livestock show, host events and provide agriculture based internships. The MOU would expire June 30, 2020 and does not include a waiver of the Nation’s sovereign immunity.
MCN Secretary of the Interior Chris Azbell said during the meeting that the MOU will supplement the Nation’s current programs and possibly create avenues to new ones.
TR 17-087 Authorizing renovation to the Morris Creek Indian Community building roof. Rep. Dode Barnett sponsored the resolution, which passed 8-0.
The legislation states that the MCIC building needs to have its roof replaced to prevent water leaks and water damage. MCN Tribal Construction will oversee and supervise the renovation.
Legislation appropriating $61,847 to fund the renovation was discussed later in the session.
During the session, a Tribal Construction representative said the roof and decking need to be replaced, and additional repairs are needed to the exterior of the building. The representative could not be identified by Mvskoke Media through the audio recording of the meeting available on the Council’s website.
Rep. Del Beaver said during the meeting that when he spoke with the community, they were not aware of the legislation funding this project and the building has other repair and renovation needs as well.
TR 17-088 Authorizing renovation to the Tulsa Creek Indian Community building roof and other necessary repairs. Rep. Lucian Tiger sponsored the resolution, which passed 8-0.
The legislation states that the TCIC building needs to be repaired to prevent water leaks and water damage. Construction would include replacing the roof, repairing the downspouts and grading the property for proper water drainage.
Tribal Construction will oversee and supervise the renovation.
A Tribal Construction representative said during the session that the roof and decking would be repaired.
Legislation appropriating $78,322 to fund the renovation was discussed later in the session.
NCA 17-108 Appropriating $61,847 in order to replace MCIC’s roof. Barnett sponsored the amendment, which passed
This is the companion bill to TR 17-087, authorizing the renovation to the MCIC building.
During the session, a Tribal Construction representative said the project has not gone out for bid, but if the funds are approved through Council, Tribal Construction will obtain bids to try to get a better price.
NCA 17-109 Authorizing a special $295,673 appropriation to the Okemah Creek Indian Community. Randolph sponsored the amendment, which passed 8-0.
The Nation is currently constructing a new OCIC building, approved through TR 15-089, and appropriated $855,250 through NCA 13-172 for the construction cost.
OCIC is requesting an additional $295,673 to complete the construction.
A Tribal Construction representative said when he reviewed the contract between MCN and Edo Building Systems, he realized that Edo was in breach of contract.
“And they were in breach of contract simply because they did not do what the contract asked them to do, which was to get competitive bids and give us that information so we could look at it,” the representative said.
Edo is a company owned by Onefire Holding Company. Onefire is an MCN independent agency, and 100 percent owned by the Nation.
The department wrote the company a notice to cure letter, giving them 10 days to provide the information. The representative said only partial information was provided, and Edo was given a second chance to correct the issue.
Edo provided additional information, raising the amount of money needed to fund the project’s completion.
“These numbers they were getting, we still didn’t have any evidence they got competitive bids to get these numbers,” the representative said.
He said Tribal Construction took over the project as general contractor, obtained their own numbers and approached Council for the $295,673 appropriation.
The representative said the project is scheduled to be complete in September.
NCA 17-110 Appropriating $78,322 in order to replace the roof and make other necessary repairs to the TCIC building. Tiger sponsored the amendment, which passed 8-0.
This is the companion bill to TR 17-088, authorizing repairs to the TCIC building.
Rep. Darrell Proctor was absent.
Legislation for appropriations were sent to the Business, Finance and Justice Committee to approve the funding source.
The legislation passed through the joint session will move on to be addressed during the June 17 Council regular session.