Ethel Cook named Chief of the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma

Posted by cservaes on September 19, 2011 in Community, News, Other, "The College" Ethel Cook has no formal college education. She has a high school diploma and more real-world experience than she ever thought possible. But that doesn’t mean Cook, newly elected Ottawa Tribe Chief, doesn’t understand the value of a higher education. “I am totally in support of a higher education,” says Cook. “Our kids need to also be taught that common sense and hard work go hand in hand with the education.” Cook, who served on the Ottawa Tribe Business Council for four years, was named chief of the Tribe after the general election in May. She is the first female chief of the Ottawa Tribe. “I am honored that the tribal members had confidence, trust and faith in me to lead this great nation,” says Cook. “I will do my best with the guidance of the other four members of our [Business Council] to do great things for our Tribe and tribal members.” As chief, Cook’s primary responsibilities will be to help with day-to-day operations in the tribal office, oversee the High Winds Casino manager and lead the five-member Business Council. Her term ends in 2014. “I want to help start more tribal businesses so we can employ our tribal members and, of course, bring income into the Tribe to create social programs and benefits for our elders and the young,” says Cook. Also on Cook’s agenda is to continue pushing tribe members to take full advantage of the relationship between the Ottawa Tribe and Ottawa University. Cook was instrumental in 2008 when OU President Kevin C. Eichner signed a new agreement with the Ottawa Tribe. The agreement restored the historical connection between the two entities, allowing any certified tribal member to attend The College free of tuition and room and board charges, or any of OU’s adult on-ground or online programs tuition free. “We, as a Tribe, are very proud of Ottawa University and all it has become and done for our tribal members,” says Cook. “The alumni of Ottawa University are very proud people and they work very hard to promote OU.” Since the agreement’s renewal, Cook says she knows many more members of the Ottawa Tribe have taken advantage of the opportunity to enroll in college. “It takes a good leader to mobilize, energize and make this happen,” says Cook of the relationship between the Tribe and University. “We were very blessed when President Eichner and his wife, Marylin, came to our campus.”