By: Aaron McColloch | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: May 2022
Muscogee Nation, City of Broken Arrow leaders
Blessed. Encouraged. Historic.
Those were the words City of Broken Arrow and Muscogee Nation officials used to describe the first-of-its-kind meeting between the two governments’ legislative bodies on Tuesday, May 3.
“We've never had any other municipality ever reach out and want to actually meet with elected officials, so I mean, it's historical for me,” said William Lowe, Speaker of the Muscogee Nation National Council. “I think a lot of the council representatives, that are veterans to our council, have never actually met with any other cities before. It’s very historical.”
Broken Arrow Mayor Debra Wimpee and the City Council invited the leaders of the National Council to lunch for the organizations to reaffirm their partnership and look toward future opportunities to work together.
With approximately 30 percent of Broken Arrow residents being Muscogee Nation citizens, Mayor Wimpee hopes the meeting will serve as a symbol of how government-to-government relations can co-exist for the betterment of the quality of life each provides.
“Let's find ways that we can work together and which, in my opinion, makes it a lot easier,” Mayor Wimpee said. “Building relationships, period, and building community is what I love to do, and I know our Council does as well. So, it just made perfect sense for us to be able to sit down together and have this breaking of bread per se.”
The City and the Nation have worked together on past endeavors, including the Museum Broken Arrow Mural and the Mission 22 War at Home Memorial. Without a shared vision, projects such as the mural would not clearly and accurately reflect the cultural and historical significance of the people and communities they represent.
Bringing the two legislative bodies together is something both Mayor Wimpee and Speaker Lowe see as a benefit to citizens. One area Mr. Lowe would like to explore is tourism and economic development, strong suits he said that both the City and the Nation have.
“I think we could sit down and really work our similarities, brainstorm, and get these good ideas to where we have more people and businesses moving into our communities, because it's your community, our reservation. So, what's good for you all is definitely good for us,” said Speaker Lowe.
Going forward, the leaders agreed to keep the lines of communication open and to meet more regularly, and next time at the Muscogee Nation complex in Okmulgee.
“We came together to build something new, and I know it’ll be accomplished,” said Council Representative Charles McHenry.
It was an historic meeting for the two governments that have forged a productive and respectful partnership.
“Just understand you have friends over here,” City Councilor Scott Eudey said.
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