Peoria Nation Chief speaks of economic success, scholarships

Economic development and educational opportunities were the themes of Tuesday night’s presentation by the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center.

John Froman, Chief of the Peoria Nation, and Second Chief Jason Dollarhide told the audience of roughly 80 attendees that their nation is progressing economically, despite the rest of the country’s rough financial times.

They described the Peoria Nation as one of the economic engines of Ottawa County, Okla., where their headquarters are located.

One of the achievements Froman discussed was the establishment of two casinos. He said both have a payroll of $9 million and employ hundreds of people.

The housing authority of the Peoria Nation also received $700,000 from the federal economic stimulus package, Froman said.

Besides economic growth, Froman said post-secondary education opportunities for Peoria Nation members have improved.

Upon his election as chief in June 2001, one of Froman’s priorities was to increase scholarship funding. Before he took office, he said members were eligible for college scholarships that totaled $4,000 spread over eight semesters. Now, scholarship awardees receive $3,500 per semester.

Notable attendees included University Chancellor Richard Herman, trustees David Dorris and Frances Carroll and student trustee Paul Schmitt, senior in LAS.

Stephanie Ashton, freshman in LAS, said being from Peoria, Ill. has always sparked her interest in Native American culture.

“I was surprised at how well they seemed to be doing financially,” Ashton said. “They seem to be prospering. I thought that was interesting.”