City and tribe – aligned with each other

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For too long, an unnecessary and costly conflict between the City of Shawnee and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation has done little to improve our community. In fact, it has held us back and prevented us from attracting business and realizing our mutual potential.

On September 20, Shawnee City commissioners unanimously passed a measure to formally denounce land south of the North Canadian River and end ongoing lawsuits with the nation. This action frees both the city and the tribe from the deadlock that has stifled progress and opens the door for further collaboration. In addition, the commissioners approved an agreement on further cooperation with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

I had the honor of meeting Tribal Chairman Barrett on Tuesday to exchange gifts and publicly sign this joint resolution and collaboration agreement that will allow both entities to avoid duplication and to focus on important community projects such as water system improvements, fire safety, housing, Transportation, public facilities improvement, and more. The agreement is a high-level, mutual framework that will guide all future agreements, pave a path to improving the quality of life for all Shawnee residents, and making the community more attractive to economic investment – to position Shawnee for future growth.

This was a historic moment for our community that meant the tribe and city are ready to move forward – aligned with their intentions. When we decided to put past differences aside and move forward in a spirit of mutual respect, the city and nation launched a new initiative called Shawnee Aligned. Shawnee Aligned will serve as a platform for joint projects and collaborations between our two governments.

Together, we’re making Shawnee more affluent and more attractive to economic development, federal grant programs, and incoming residents. As neighbors, we benefit from each other’s successes. This positive and productive government-government relationship will strengthen our economies and improve the quality of life of our common citizens and beyond.

When Chairman Barrett and I signed a joint resolution at the CPN Cultural Heritage Center on Tuesday, the last two lines were touched as they were read by our District Commissioner, Travis Flood.

“THE city and nation move forward confident that they will achieve greater things in harmony than they could ever imagine in previous discord; and

CONSIDERING that this agreement will bring security, respect, acceptance and a common purpose that will usher in a new era of partnership. “

Over the coming weeks and months, CPN and City of Shawnee staff will work together to find ways to work together and avoid duplication. Updates on progress and collaborative projects will be posted on the ShawneeAligned.com website.

The future looks even brighter for the Shawnee Ward. I am confident that we will achieve great things TOGETHER.

Shawnee Mayor Ed Bolt graduated from Mustang High School and studied political science at the University of Oklahoma. He has lived in Shawnee since 2002. He worked for AT&T for 29 years, most recently as Regional Sales Manager for the state government and higher education. Since retiring in 2008, Bolt started his own photography business in Shawnee and opened a photography studio and art gallery on East Main Street. He bought a demolished building and completely rebuilt it to revitalize downtown. Bolt is very active in a number of local civic organizations. He is the community’s safe family events coordinator, vice chairman of the Historic Shawnee Alliance, and secretary of Visit Shawnee Inc. He and wife Phyllis attend St. Benedict Catholic Church and Wesley United Methodist Church.


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