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Native Sovereignty

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College hosted a special panel on Friday, Sept 16, 2022, in recognition of United States Constitution Day. The panel focused on the unique interaction between the United States and federally recognized sovereign Indigenous tribes and nations.

​Sitting for the panel was Chairman Joseph Byrd of the Quapaw Nation, Chief Doug Lankford of the Miami Nation, and Cynthia Donohue Bauer, coordinator for the NEO American Indian Center for Excellence.

“Each year, colleges and universities around the nation highlight the United States Constitution,” said Jordan Adams, NEO Social Sciences instructor. “Northeast Oklahoma is at the epicenter of federal government relations with sovereign native tribes and nations. I am excited to bring together this panel of leaders who have a first-hand perspective on that evolving relationship.”

Joseph Byrd was elected Chairman of the Quapaw Nation in 2020 and was recently reelected to a second term. Chairman Byrd received his juris doctor with an Indian Law certificate from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Chief Doug Lankford of the Miami Nation was first elected to the office of Second Chief in 2008, where he served until his election as chief in 2013. With a background in I.T., Chief Lankford continues to maintain the Miami Nation infrastructure in addition to his responsibilities as chief.

Cynthia Donohue Bauer was recently named coordinator of the NEO American Indian Center for Excellence. Bauer served as a special education instructor for more than 20 years and is currently completing a master’s in Indigenous Peoples Law at the University of Oklahoma. She has held several positions within the Seneca Cayuga Nation and currently serves as First Councilperson.

In accordance with federal law, all higher education institutions commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, which originally took place in Philadelphia, Pa., at the Constitutional Convention on Sept 17, 1787.

For more information on Constitution Day, contact Barbara Patterson at bpatterson@neo.edu.

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