Government

Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear announces his appointees

Newly elected Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear has announced his Executive Branch appointees.

“Assistant Chief-Elect Raymond Red Corn and I sought to create a staff with less people than before and with proven capabilities,” Standing Bear said in a prepared release. “The staff represents the diversity of the Osage people with women and men of different backgrounds. We thank each of them for accepting this challenging assignment. Our selections include several Veterans of the United States Armed Services.”

With some familiar faces and some new to walk the halls of the executive branch building, it’s a smaller staff than the administrations preceding Standing Bear under the new form of government. Standing Bear said although it is a reduction in the number of staff he believes all are ready and able to take on the challenges ahead for the Osage Nation.

Appointments

Serving as Chief of Staff for the Osage Nation will be Jason Zaun. The former budget analyst for the Third Osage Nation Congress, Zaun has worked for the congress for four years. He was Standing Bear’s right-hand-man during his campaign and stayed up with Standing Bear on election night when the results were announced at 4:41 a.m., June 3. An Osage shareholder who resides in Bartlesville with his wife Naoko Sakumotoand three children, he is a United States Navy Veteran, has his bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership (with a business focus) from Rogers State University and will begin his Masters of Arts in Administrative Leadership with the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2014.

According to a prepared release, Zaun achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer of the Religious Ministries Department on the aircraft carrier USS RONALD REAGAN for two years while serving in the U.S. Navy. This tour included a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. His awards include three Navy Commendations Medals, seven Navy Achievement Medals, the Fleet Marine Force Enlisted Warfare Specialist Badge, Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Badge and the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist badge. He was also recognized as Sailor of the Year three times and Recruiter of the Year twice during his military career

Standing Bear’s second appointment is Christian “Casey” Johnson, of the Grayhorse District, who will serve as Special Advisor to the Office of the Chiefs. Johnson has two associate degrees, one in business administration and a second in arts and sciences from Northern Oklahoma College. He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial safety from the University of Central Oklahoma and will begin his Masters of Arts in Administrative Leadership with the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2014. He currently resides in Fairfax with his wife Johnna Johnson (who served as administrative assistant under the Jim Gray administration) and three adult children.

According to a prepared release, Johnson is a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry having served in every Non-Commissioned Officer position from Fire Team Leader to Infantry Company First Sergeant. He performed combat operations during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (with Star), the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, nine Army Achievement Medals, the Parachutist’s Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Drill Sergeant’s Badge.

A familiar face returning to the office of the chiefs is Debra Atterberry. She will serve as Executive Advisor to Chief Standing Bear, a title she’ll keep from both the Red Eagle and BigHorse administrations after she replaced Faren Revard Anderson in the Red Eagle administration. Before she was elected in 2006 to the First Osage Nation Congress, she worked in the Osage Language Department developing curriculum. According to a prepared release, Atterberry has spent 17 years in education as a public schoolteacher. She graduated from Northeastern Oklahoma State University with a dual major in elementary and secondary education and minored in business. She is married to Duke Atterberry, the new Pawhuska High School football coach, and has three children and four grandchildren.

Standing Bear’s fourth appointment is also from the Grayhorse District. John Williams will serve as Government Affairs Advisor. Williams served as director of operations for the Gray administration. He is currently an advisor to the Grayhorse War Mother’s and to the Grayhorse In-Lon-Shka Drumkeeper. According to a prepared release, for several years he was the Health Systems Administrator of the Pawhuska Indian Health Clinic. He had previously served as CEO of Winnebago Indian Hospital and a Contract Health Service Officer at the Aberdeen Area Office. He has also served as the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer for Aberdeen Indian Health Service. Williams is a trained Physician’s Assistant. He is a Vietnam Veteran and served with the U.S. Army Special Forces where he specialized as a Combat Medic. He is married to Francis Ann (West) Williams with whom he has three adult children, one of whom is Osage Nation Chief of Police Nick Williams, and many grandchildren, including two former Osage Tribal Princesses Dora and Autumn Williams.    

Long-time legal assistant to Standing Bear (18 years), Sheryl Decker, will be his Executive Assistant. She will also assist Assistant Principal Chief-elect Raymond Red Corn. Decker, a Cherokee/Osage, has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Oklahoma. According to a prepared release, she is active as a basketball coach for the Bartlesville YMCA Youth League and has been a church Leader in the mentoring program for young women at Grace Community Church. She is married to Matt Decker and they have three children.   

Also returning is Rebecca Fuhrman who will keep her position as Legal/Legislative Analyst. She served for both the Red Eagle and BigHorse administrations. Fuhrman has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northeastern State University and a juris doctorate from the University of Tulsa College of Law, with certificates in public policy and comparative and international law. According to a prepared release, while in law school she served as Senior Candidates Editor for the Tulsa Journal of Comparative & International law. She began her career with the Osage Nation in 2006 working with the First Osage Nation Congress. She has also worked in public policy as a consultant with several non-profit organizations. Her children are descendants of the Eastern Band of Cherokees and her grandchildren are members of the Cherokee Nation.

Danielle Cass and Jane Perrier Harris were also appointed as administrative assistants. Both are Osage tribal members.