Tonya Blackfox, of the Southside Deer Clan, is a Miami local and proud member of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation, Mrs. Blackfox has always had a passion for helping her people. She is the daughter of our late Ceremonial Chief Richard White, and feels privileged to have learned many of our ways through him. Mrs. Blackfox has also been working for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma for 16 years.

After graduating high school in 1998, Mrs. Blackfox went on to earn a Certificate of Mastery in Early Childhood development from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. Working in childcare for many years has instilled in her “the importance of the Nation owning and operating our own childcare/learning facility.” A project that will add good paying jobs for tribal members, and provide a state-of-the-art learning experience for our youth. The youth are our future. “We must provide for them and allow them an opportunity to be the best they can be.”

Along with the other members, Mrs. Blackfox also believes economic development should be a top priority for the current business committee. In the coming year, they will be working to develop new income-generating assets, as well as strengthening current tribal businesses. To not only sustain a Tribe of our size, but also prosper as a whole, economic progress is paramount. And this progress has already begun.

In the last six months, she and the committee have been working “tirelessly and together on a united front for the benefit of our Nation.” Both the Nation’s Housing Board and Tax Commission have been reestablished. Both are of vital importance moving forward to meet the needs of our tribal members—the primary mission of the current committee.

When she’s not busy working with the committee to improve the Nation, Mrs. Blackfox enjoys spending time with her husband of 21 years, Damian Blackfox, their three children, and two beautiful grandchildren. Weekends are often filled with camping, days at the creek, sporting events, powwows, and stomp dances. And of course, Greencorn is their favorite time of year together as a family.

In the coming year, Mrs. Blackfox plans to serve the Tribe and its people anyway she can. She looks forward to seeing our Nation not just continue to heal from past divisions, but to learn and grow from them too. Knowing what’s possible when we work together, when we stay united, is a driving force behind her work with the committee. And while things don’t always happen overnight, they are happening. Progress is a gradual process, but she believes the Nation is on the rebound. The Nation is healing.

When asked why she spends most of her time and energy fulfilling her role on the business committee, her answer was simple. “Passion. It’s important to me because the value of helping our people has always been instilled in me. Our Seneca-Cayuga people help each other, that is just what we do.”