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Cherokee Nation citizen named BIA regional acting director
By JAMI CUSTER
Wed, Nov 17, 2010
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Vicki Forrest has been appointed the acting director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Eastern Oklahoma Regional Office in Muskogee.
She said she feels ready for the jobs because all her work experience has been in Indian Country.
“I am from Rocky Ford, Okla. I have my bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Northeastern State University. I am a certified public accountant licensed in New Mexico,” Forrest said. “I have worked for the Indian Health Service in Claremore, the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians in Albuquerque, N.M., and currently have been working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as the deputy bureau director in Washington, D.C., since 2007. Most importantly, I was the controller for the Cherokee Nation from 2000 to 2002. I was the first woman to hold that position.”
Forrest took over the BIA Eastern Oklahoma Regional Office on Nov. 1 as a 90-day detail.
“BIA Director Mike Black announced he wanted me to utilize my extensive experience and leadership skills to carry forward the priorities and mission of the Bureau in the eastern Oklahoma region,” she said.
Forrest said she is happy to be home and to work with the regional tribes. She added that she is where she is today because of the mentorship she’s had to help her grow each day.
“When I make mistakes, they are quick to remind me of the tremendous learning opportunities I have had by taking risks. My biggest influence is my mother, Thelma Vann Forrest from Chewey, Okla. A single mother of two, she demonstrated how strong and resilient Native women are to my sister Kelly and myself every day. She instilled in us the critical need for higher education and showed us how to draw upon our strength in difficult times,” Forrest said.