Deviney Luchsinger/Multimedia Specialist
Tribal liaison to help citizens receive services
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — As the tribe grows and more citizens relocate to lands outside of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation jurisdictional boundaries, some citizens lose access to services that MCN provides its people, such as burial services, scholarships and school clothing. At-large citizens needed someone to contact, so a new position was created.
Geebon Gouge now serves as the MCN tribal liaison for at-large citizens. The goal of this new position was to connect people living outside the boundaries to the MCN services and resources that are otherwise inaccessible.
“A lot of the time, not just at-large citizens, but citizens in general fall through the cracks, or maybe they might be misinformed, maybe, but I do really want to be there to give them the correct information and direct them to the appropriate place they need to go,” said Gouge.
Gouge said he understands how difficult it can be to navigate receiving these services after growing up outside of the jurisdiction and having to watch his dad try to figure out how to navigate his way through the tricky waters.
Gouge has been working around the Nation for around 15 years, making connection with the different departments and services, and learning and understanding policy and procedures. He feels this makes him uniquely qualified for this position.
He finds one of the best ways for outreach is the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. A Facebook page has been set up for at-large citizens to express their needs and concerns.
“My job is to navigate our tribal services and be that extension to them,” he said.
He also said he tries to reach out directly to the people living outside of the boundaries by messaging them on social media and asking them directly what their needs are and how MCN can be of better service to its citizens.
This job falls under the executive branch. Gouge reports directly to Principal Chief James Floyd, and is under the Chief’s Office budget. Some worry this could effect the way the position could be used during election seasons, such as indirectly campaigning for whoever is in office at the time.
Gouge said that is not his focus. He believes he should focus on the citizens and their needs.
“I look at it as working for the people,” he said.
One of Gouge’s long-term goals is to set up local tribal associations for the at-large citizens in their areas. These associations would connect citizens with each other and the tribe as a whole.
Gouge said he is always open to citizens and their needs and that they should feel free to contact him with their concerns.
Gouge can be reached at his office number: 918-732-7752, or his cell: 918-752-5567.1 comment