Cheyenne and Arapaho governor is first to be elected for second term in tribe


Gov. Reggie Wassana, right, and Lt. Gov. Gib Miles stand together shortly after their reelection the night of Nov. 2. (Photo provided by Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes)

Cheyenne and Arapaho Gov. Reggie Wassana and Lt. Gov. Gib Miles won the Nov. 2 general election by a landslide, the first time the tribe has reelected its governor.

The Wassana and Miles team received about 72 percent of the vote, while their  opponents — Wilma Blackbear and Roberta Hamilton, received 28 percent of the 1,887 votes cast.

The announcement was made in the early morning hours of Nov. 3 on the tribe’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Wassana grew up north of Weatherford in the Deer Creek Indian Community and graduated from Weatherford High School in 1986. 

He attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University before transferring to the University of Oklahoma, then returning to Southwestern State to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

In 1992, Wassana began working for Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes as a planner before moving to the business managers office. He was hired in 1996 to be the executive director of housing, where he served until 2011.

Wassana later held a number of other roles at the tribe, including casino manager, serving on the economic development and tribal farm and ranch boards, and serving on the Southwest Oklahoma Development Authority Youth Council.

He was elected legislator in 2016 for Cheyenne District 3 and served as speaker of the legislature for two years. He was then elected the tribe’s fourth governor and is now set to serve a second term for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.

Before constitutional amendments were made in 2006, the tribe was overseen by a business committee, not a governor.

Three district legislator incumbents saw victories in their runoffs, each also poised for another four-year term.

Kendricks Sleeper (Arapaho District 2) won with 57.55 percent of votes while opponent Juaquin Lonelodg, received 42.45 percent.

George Woods (Cheyenne District 2) won with 54.04 percent while opponent Frances White Thunder received 45.96 percent of votes.

Byron Byrd (Cheyenne District 4) won with 56.38 percent of votes while opponent Delfred White Crow received 43.62 percent.

Diane Willisa, a newcomer  was elected Arapaho District 1 legislator after winning with 53.59 percent, over opponent Debra Woolworth, who received 46.41 percent of votes. Willis was a newcomer to the general election.

Nancy Marie Spears, a Gaylord News reporter based in Washington, is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories from Gaylord News visit