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Yahola speaks on issue regarding church receipts during LNC

Yahola speaks on issue regarding church receipts during LNC
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council Land, Natural Resources and Cultural Preservation Committee met Nov. 7 at the Mound Building in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. (MNN File Photo)

Tiger responds to other committees voting without sponsors present

Darren DeLaune/Reporter

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — A Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council Land, Natural Resources and Cultural Preservation Committee meeting was held Nov. 7 at the Mound Building in Okmulgee.

All legislation passed during the session will go before the full Council Nov. 21 for vote. Mvskoke Media will provide coverage of this session.

LNC addressed the following legislation, the interpretation of which is attributed to language in the bills:

TR 17-148 Authorizing the principal chief to execute a memorandum of agreement among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charlton District, the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer; and Bishop Gadsden in regards to the expansion of Bishop Gadsden Retirement Community, in South Carolina. Rep. Thomas Yahola sponsored the resolution, which passed 3-0.

As part of the Gadsden expansion program, an archaeological survey was done and there were findings from the late 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Because of this, planning for the construction has stopped and an MOA must be made for the Corps to keep the burial in place. It is unknown at this time if the remains are Muscogee (Creek) or from another tribe.

TR 17-149 Authorizing the principal chief to execute a national purchasing cooperative inter-local participation agreement between MCN and National Purchasing Cooperative. Rep. Del Beaver sponsored the resolution, which passed 3-0.

The MCN Fleet Department seeks to enter into a cooperative for the benefit of efficiency and procuring purchases at a cost savings.

NCA 17-207 Authorizing the expenditure of $70,000 awarded from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the MCN Geospatial Department. Rep. Mark Randolph sponsored the amendment, which passed 3-0.

The Geospatial Department would like to participate in the Brownfields 128 response program, and will use the grant funds for this purpose.

NCA 17-208 Authorizing an appropriation of $296,234 to the MCN Cultural Center and Archives Department for the restoration and maintenance of the MCN Council House. Rep. Randolph sponsored the amendment, which passed 3-0.

The department wishes to restore the Council House to reflect the original use of the building. They seek an appropriation to restore and maintain the Council House as well as continue the development of historical exhibits throughout it.

NCA 17-214 Authorizing an appropriation of $228,833 for the MCN Tribal Driveways Department for the purchase of equipment. Del Beaver sponsored the amendment, which passed 3-0.

The department needs new equipment to replace old and less efficient equipment in order to continue to provide proper services to citizens.

NCA 17-217 Authorizing an appropriation of $3,000 for the purchase of trust property located in Hughes County. Yahola sponsored the amendment, which passed 3-0.

The 2.5-acres of trust property was offered for sale Oct. 9. No bids were received however the Nation submitted a letter of intent to purchase the property.

In other business, Yahola asked the committee about the applications for churches. He brought up churches that have received funds in the past had to submit receipts on allocations before they are eligible for any other types of funding.

Yahola said currently, there is a church that has submitted an application that has not presented receipts from a past appropriation.

“My question is, do we not fulfill their application for the Church Christmas Fund,” Yahola said.

He said he was made aware of this situation by another Council representative. He looked up the church at the courthouse after they received their $50,000 grant. The money was to renovate the church that they were currently in. They purchased another church for $30,000.

“Which left $20,000 they do not account for,” Yahola said.

Yahola said the church has not presented any receipts and they have been contacted.

“According to our policy, we shouldn’t be issuing any funds to that church for anything,” he said.

MCN Attorney General Kevin Dellinger said the Nation knows about the circumstance, and believes they are ineligible for the Christmas funds. He said the Nation is looking into and there may be further action.

Yahola said he attended the Health, Education and Welfare Committee meeting Nov. 6. He said there were items on the agenda and the sponsor was not there to speak, but the committee acted on the proposals.

“I think the rules of procedures said there’s no action can be taken if the sponsor is not here, or co-sponsor,” he said.

Speaker Lucian Tiger said the issue will be addressed.

Rep. Mitch Jack was absent.

DARREN DELAUNE
Reporter
918.732.7703 | DDeLaune@MvskokeMedia.com
Darren has been with Mvskoke Media since 2009. He has always (and still does) played sports so he wanted to write about it. What started with sports, turned into features, columns, articles, whatever he can find around the MCN. He enjoys trying new things, which helped him become an avid dancer of bachata. Darren has one daughter, Syeann.

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