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Rocky Barrett has served as Chairman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation since 1985. He has served the tribe as an elected official for over 40 years, beginning with his first elected position as Vice Chairman in 1971. He was instrumental in the creation and adoption of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s current constitution and statutes which have led to the Nation’s extended period of stability and progress. Barrett is especially dedicated to preserving his Potawatomi heritage and language not only for his family, but also tribal members for generations to come.
Barrett earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business at Oklahoma City University (OCU), attended the Graduate School of Business at OCU, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of commercial sciences from St. Gregory’s University. He is president of Barrett Drilling Company, an independent oil and gas production company, and Barrett Land and Cattle Company, a registered Angus cattle ranch. Barrett has received national acclaim as a tribal leader, public speaker, and Native American advocate, and sits on numerous boards.
As author of the present day Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Constitution through its five amendments, Chairman Barrett has led his tribe into a unique and innovative governmental structure that has enfranchised and empowered tribal citizenship all over the United States. This governmental stability has resulted in an average of 20% asset growth of tribal enterprise each year for 20 years through 14 tribally owned businesses and 33 federal compact and contract operations with 2400 employees.
He initiated the purchase of controlling interest in First Oklahoma Bank from the FDIC in 1989, saving it from closure. Now operating as First National Bank and Trust Company of Shawnee, Oklahoma, it was the first operating national bank to be 100% tribally owned and has grown from its original $16,000,000 asset size to its present $300,000,000 in assets with seven branch banks in six communities in the state. Chairman Barrett was also responsible for initiating and developing the largest tribal CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) with lending capital in excess of $28,000,000.
Chairman Barrett has served as an active member or on the boards of many organizations, including the International Advisory Board of the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona, the Oklahoma City Area Indian Health Advisory Board, the National Tribal Chairman’s Association, the American Association of Petroleum Refiners, Saint Gregory’s University Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees, Seminole State University Board of Trustees, the City of Shawnee Mayor’s Advisory Board, the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation, and the United Indian Tribes of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.