Charles “Son” McHenry and Dierdra Michelle Thompson-Soap go against each other for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Office, Wagoner District seat.
1 In your view, what is the biggest issue facing the Muscogee (Creek) Nation?
Thompson-Soap: I believe the biggest issue that the Muscogee Creek Nation is facing is our Sovereignty. We are constantly under attack and defending the right to govern our own tribe. One of the biggest things that our tribe is defending the state gaming compact which the governor wants a larger percentage of casino profits. There is also the issue of the waiting on Congress to rule on the Royal vs. Murphy case which could affect whether or not we are able to regain some of the lands that should still be in reservation status since Congress never took away our reservation status in the first place. Another would be the right for us to control over who we allow to apply for citizenship because of the Freedman case, who are suing for that right but cannot prove they are Muscogee Creek by blood as our constitution requires.
2 How do you plan to address that issue for the Nation?
Thompson-Soap: Right now those decisions are the executive administration and their attorney’s responsibility to litigate these cases in court. The only thing that National Council would be able to would be to uphold the current constitution as it stands today.
3 What experience do you bring to the table that prepares you for this position?
Thompson-Soap: My experience that I bring to the table is that I am involved and educate myself on the issues we have at the tribe. I stay educated on the legislation we have and always ask questions on how we are spending the tribe’s money and voice my opinion on these issues. I think it also gives me an advantage since I am an employee for the tribe and able to see day to day the operations of our tribe it helps me more to understand how I could be able to give more insight to the council on things that need attention. People who work on the council don’t always know what is really going on with the tribe and aren’t able to connect with the citizens, and me working within the tribe has allowed me to see what problems we have and maybe will be able to help them to streamline our tribe to run more efficiently than what it currently does.
McHenry: I would be honored and privileged to serve the people of our great and mighty Muscogee Creek Nation. I have experience in leadership and in management. I have always had a desire to serve our people and lead by example through my character and integrity.
4 What prompted you to run for office?
McHenry: My desire to run for this position for me is to give back through service to our people, to help our people prosper and grow.
Thompson-Soap: I deal daily with our citizens and listen and talk to the citizens. Being an employee, that gives me an advantage of seeing what our citizens face daily and the red tape they deal with, and it has made me want to advocate more for them. I currently do that as a citizen, but I think I would be a greater help to all of our citizens from the legislative side and help all citizens. We are all equal as citizens and should be treated as such.
5 In your opinion, what is the role of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation government?
Thompson-Soap: I think the role of the government is to get us more self-sufficient. We rely too much on the US government, and we need to bring a more diverse economic development portfolios of revenue other than the casinos. We rely too much on the casino revenue, and I see other tribes who are doing things outside of that and it is working for them. They are employing more of their citizens and helping to improve the economy in poverty-stricken areas. We must try and help all of our citizens and not just a certain area like Tulsa. We have to start thinking outside of the box to come up with ways to generate revenue while at the same time helping with employment of our citizens and get better employee relations.
McHenry: I look forward to having all of our National Council meetings streamed live so more of our citizens can be informed and hear first hand. It’s great progress to clearer transparency. Our government gives us a sense of security of protecting our culture and our sovereignty.
Meet the candidates
NAME: Charles “Son” McHenry
OCCUPATION: Account Services Representative for Empire.
• • •
NAME: Dierdra Michelle Thompson-Soap
OCCUPATION: Admissions and Enrollment Administrative Assistant.
FAMILY: Family: Three children: Aaron, Laurisa and Emery Soap. Three grandsons: Xayvior and Ezekiel Soap and Kian Roberts. Parents: Newman Thompson Jr. and Late Lois Baker Thompson. Grandparents: late Newman Sr. and Cinda Sootawakey Thompson. Late Aaron Sr. and Juanita Billy Baker.