January 17, 2017

BIA's Eastern Okla. office finally has permanent director

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – After three years of interim leaders, the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Eastern Oklahoma office has a permanent director.

Nedra Darling, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, confirmed Thursday afternoon that Robert Impson, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, took office as the permanent director of the Eastern Oklahoma regional office in Muskogee earlier this month.

Since November 2009, the position had been filled by a series of interim leaders after Jeanette Hanna was reassigned to Washington, D.C. The position was not advertised as vacant until April after the resignation of then-Assistant Secretary of the Interior Larry Echo Hawk.

Prior to becoming the regional director of the Eastern Oklahoma office, Impson was the deputy regional director for trust services at the BIA’s regional office in Nashville, Tenn. A former superintendent of the BIA’s Chickasaw Agency in Ada, Okla., he also served as interim regional director of the Eastern Oklahoma office in late 2009 and 2010 after Jeannette Hanna was placed on detail to Washington, D.C. A citizen of the Choctaw Nation, Impson has been with the BIA for more than 30 years.

“We are very pleased that Mr. Impson has been named regional director,” Gov. Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation said. “He has worked closely with the Chickasaw Nation and other tribes in this region for many years. We believe he has the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure the BIA continues to work alongside tribes to help enhance the quality of life of Indian people in this region.”

Serving 19 of Oklahoma’s 39 federally-recognized tribes, the Eastern Oklahoma regional office has agency offices in Ada, Okla.; Miami, Okla.; Wewoka, Okla.; Pawhuska, Okla.; Talihina, Okla.; and Okmulgee, Okla.