National Center Spotlight: Board Member William D. Lowe, Speaker of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council
William D. Lowe is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, a Board Member for The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development and was recently elected Speaker of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council. William Lowe has a long history of serving Indian Country, and credits his experience serving in the United States Marine Corps for inspiring his lifelong dedication to his community and tribe.
William Lowe was first elected to the Muscogee (Creek) National Council in 2020, representing the Okmulgee District. As Speaker, Will is now tasked with operating an effective legislative branch for over 90,000 citizens, maneuvering in a post-McGirt ruling Oklahoma, and following his mission to increase transparency and communication between Council Representatives and tribal members.
We recently talked with William Lowe about his election to Speaker, his vision for the role, and more. We hope you enjoy reading about William Lowe!
- Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is William D. Lowe and I serve as Speaker of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council as well as a Board Member for the National Center. My wife is Elsa Lowe, of Weleetka, Oklahoma, and together we have three beautiful daughters, Ashlyn, Jadyn, and Kaci. My parents are the late Jonas “Rusty” Lowe of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and May Marshall of Eufaula, Oklahoma. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bacone College and a Master of Business Administration from Grand Canyon University.
I served in the United States Marine Corps from September 1993 to May 2002. I have over 20 years of experience in governance, management, tribal business development, and negotiating government and tribal contracts.
In various capacities, I have been fortunate to have opportunities to work and partner with several tribal governments across the state. My experiences working with tribal entities taught me the value and significance of being a sovereign nation and to plan for future generations of Indigenous People. Also, above all, reinforced the honor and responsibility to advocate for ALL our citizens.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve my tribe and work alongside representatives to create and support legislation that ensures our Nation’s sustainability. I currently serve as the Speaker for the 22nd Session of The Muscogee (Creek) National Council. I also take great pride in serving on the boards of the National Center for the American Indian Enterprise Development, The Five Civilized Tribes Museum, Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance, The Okmulgee Lions Club – Second Vice President, and the Okmulgee County YMCA.
- You’ve served Indian Country in numerous roles; what inspired you to take such an active role in your community?
I’ve always prided myself in servant leadership. Once I served my country in the United States Marines Corps, I decided to get an education and use my knowledge, skills, and experience to serve the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
- You’ve been on The National Center’s Board of Directors since 2019. Tell us about your experience on the Board?
The experience of serving on the National Center’s Board of Directors is fantastic. I have learned so much from each board member and enjoy every opportunity to promote the National Center. I especially enjoy promoting the Native Edge Institute and the resources it provides to tribal entrepreneurs in Indian Country and how they can make an impact locally and globally.
- Please tell us a bit about your recent election and new role as Speaker of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s National Council.
I was elected to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council in 2020 to represent the Okmulgee District. I was elected to Speaker of the Council in January of this year. It is such an honor to be elected as Speaker by my fellow Council Representatives. Their confidence in me to fill this prestigious leadership role is greatly appreciated.
In my first election as a candidate, I won by three votes. That election taught me just how important every vote is and that every vote counts. I use the lesson learned to examine voting barriers in our communities, increase awareness in my tribe and areas of low voter turnout, and seek opportunities to overcome it together.
- What are you looking forward to in this new position? Are there any issues affecting your tribe that you hope to address in this new role?
I am looking forward to continuing the leadership impact that the Speaker of the National Council provides the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. I see an opportunity to show transparency of process and to demonstrate the importance of communication with my fellow Council Representatives. Working together as a Council, we can prioritize having well-informed tribal citizens. Ultimately, this role is responsible for ensuring an effective and efficient legislative branch of government for over ninety-thousand citizens.
A significant challenge – and opportunity – for me as Speaker of the National Council is the continued effort to address the SCOTUS ruling of the McGirt case that reaffirmed the Muscogee (Creek) Reservation in Oklahoma. This particular case addresses sovereignty and government-to-government relations with implications that far-exceed tribes in Oklahoma.
- What advice would you give to others who are trying to find ways to contribute and give back to their community?
I encourage others to always be involved in their communities regardless of their capacity. I advise the youth to go out and gain an education and experience and bring it home to the res and make a better community.