“So I’ve always wanted to come back, but also wanted it to be the right opportunity.” — MCN Secretary of the Nation Elijah McIntosh
Secretary explains petition process
OKMULGEE, Okla. — The Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council confirmed Elijah McIntosh as the MCN secretary of the nation Dec. 17, 2016, with a 14-0 vote.
McIntosh said he is very excited to be working with the tribe.
“The past six years I’ve been a examiner with the National Credit Union Administration . . . within that role we go around to credit unions. We were the regulator and we also evaluated their business practices and so within a portion of that was strategic planning,” he said.
McIntosh said his office analyzes the economic and business development of the tribe.
He said he has a background in evaluating strategic plans.
“I’ve been inside a lot of large credit unions. Just last year I was inside over four credit unions that were over 1 billion in asset size, and so you get kind of used to seeing large numbers and then kind of business practices and how those large organizations are structured,” McIntosh said.
He said he oversees the Mvskoke Loan Fund and believes it can be a great program.
“Right now, what it was set up for is to do small business lending,” McIntosh said.
He said the Nation’s target market are Native individuals looking to start a business, who would not typically qualify for a loan at a bank or a credit union that does business lending.
McIntosh said within the program is a small business development center.
“The way we have that program set up is right now, if an individual is looking to set up a business they can start the small business development center and then they can work on their business plan get it developed, get the numbers all together and then they’ll be referred to the loan fund,” he said.
McIntosh said he hopes the youth will see that it is possible as a Native American to be a business owner.
“I believe going forward that will create diversity within our tribe, and make our tribal members more independent going forward. That they can be a driver within the economy and create their own independence,” he said.
McIntosh said the Tribal Employment Rights Office program has been renamed to Contracting and Employment Service Office.
He said they are still discussing and strategizing on how to improve CESO.
“We’re looking to move forward with it, to really to make it work on both sides. Make it work for the tribe and then to also get our citizens employed as well,” McIntosh said.
He said the goal of the program is to employ citizens.
McIntosh said under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, the Nation is deemed a self-determined tribe.
“What that means is the federal funds that are allocated to our tribe, they come to us through the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” he said.
McIntosh said the tribe has the authority to decide how the funds will be allocated.
“So the tribal leadership is then able to allocate those funds to different programs and it doesn’t always provide the full funding for a program, but it can provide a material amount to get the program going,” he said.
McIntosh said the Nation can also provide additional funding to strengthen a program.
He said they are going to Washington, D.C. in March to negotiate allocations with the BIA.
McIntosh said two representatives from the Nation were selected from the eastern district office to negotiate on the tribe’s behalf in Washington, D.C.
He said his office also deals with citizen petitions.
He said if a citizen wants to develop a petition that is different from legislation brought forth by Council or the principal chief, then the citizen must obtain eight percent of the voters signatures from the last general election in order for the principal chief to sign the petition.
McIntosh said even if it is addressed to the principal chief, it has to go through the Secretary of the Nation’s office, which then goes forward for a vote of Muscogee (Creek) citizens.
He feels that at some point, every Muscogee (Creek) citizen wants to work for the tribe.
“So I’ve always wanted to come back, but also wanted it to be the right opportunity,” McIntosh said.
He said it is a great opportunity to work for the Nation and to help provide a positive impact.