MCN land office recognized as top office for fourth year
LAS VEGAS — On Feb. 11 the 21st Annual National Indian Realty Awards [NIRAs] were presented in Las Vegas, Nevada where the MCN Realty Department was named the Indian Land Office of the Year for the fourth year in a row.
In addition to the whole department performance award, MCN Realty’s, TAAMS Coordinator LouAnn Smith and Realty Specialist Brandy Kaler were recognized for individual achievements. Smith was ranked 10th in the entire country, and Kaler came in 15th.
The awards were presented to the top 20 Indian Land Professionals in the nation and the top 15 Realty Offices.
The NIRA awards were presented by Lela Beckwith, President of ICC Indian Enterprises.
ICC organizes the NIRAs.
“ICC Indian Enterprises is the premier realty training and consulting services organization for American Indian Tribes, and the companies and government organizations that support them,” ICC Indian Enterprises President Lela Beckwith said.
According to Beckwith, the NIRA awards are based on test scores on all aspects of Indian Trust/Restricted realty subjects.
“We test the participants at the end of each class,” Beckwith said.
The top individual score receives 10 points, 2nd receives 8 points, 3rd-6 points, 4th-4 points, 5th- 2 points, and 6th – 1 point.
“We keep a running test score on each participant from year to year,” she said.
For example, Lou Ann Smith started training classes in 1998 so any points she scored then continue to count on the scoreboard today.
Office scores for MCN are based on all the rankings of everyone from the Nation.
“We have the realty staff for the most part, but we also have had people from Housing,” Beckwith said. “Grace Bunner from Housing is also way up on the ICC 100 list.”
“One year we had the cabinet leaders like Secretary of Interior, so their scores count,” Beckwith said.
Landowners often come to the classes ICC holds in Okmulgee.
“When people from MCN come to our classes, they come with the intent on getting the top score,” Beckwith said. “You can pretty much say that about everyone that comes to ICC training.”
MCN staff consistently scores at or near the top of the scoreboard, making them the overall winners four years in a row.
Consistently racking up the points, Smith and Kaler placed in the top 15 realty professionals in the U.S.
Smith has been climbing the ranks since 1998. She started working for the tribe in the mid-1990s, compiling title history on allotted lands. She is a descendant of original allottees and has given presentations on the Stigler Act.
Kaler is a Realty Specialist in the MCN Realty Trust Services office where she has devoted the past seven years to serving Native people.
She has extensive training and experience in Indian land issues. She is responsible for handling all Rights-of-Way, Service Line Agreements, Seismic Permits/Prospecting Permits, Restricted and Trust Conveyances, Removals of Restriction, and Sales of Restricted and Trust lands for the Individual Indian Landowners and well as the Nation.
The Realty office is involved in community outreach where they donate their time after work to inform their citizens about current issues affecting their land. Kaler, as well as the rest of the staff, is extremely devoted to keeping Indian Country alive and thriving.
“I am proud of them and that they always go above and beyond to help our landowners,” MCN Realty Officer Sonya McIntosh said of her department.