Kansas City, Missouri

Keynote Speaker

Jim Gray

Former Principal Chief of the Osage Nationheadshot
2002- 2010

James Roan Gray was the youngest Chief in the history of the Osage Nation of Indians.

During his term, Chief Gray, led the Osage Nation through a comprehensive restoration of Osage sovereignty, the right to determine their own citizens and form their own government. This led to enrollment of thousands of Osages who had been left off the rolls for nearly 100 years and a referendum vote that adopted a constitutional form of government for the first time in generations. This effort gave all Osages over the age 18 the right to vote in tribal elections.

From 2002-2010, Chief Gray has served as both Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Inter-Tribal Monitoring Association (ITMA) consulting with the Department of Interior’s management of Native American trust funds. He was elected as Chairman of the Board of the Council of Energy Resource Tribe’s, served as Co-Chair of the National Budget Advisory Council, which sets the priorities for the Bureau of Indian Affair’s $2.3 billion budget. Chief Gray has accepted appointments to the Office of the Special Trustee Board of Advisors, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Native American Rights Foundation, and Intertribal Economic Alliance. Most recently, Chief Gray accepted the Presidency of the Indian Country Renewable Energy Consortium.

From 1996 to 2002, he was also a distinguished journalist and Publisher of one the largest independently owned Indian Newspapers in America, the Native American Times. He watched the newspaper grow over the years to become the leading Native American media group in Oklahoma. During his time at the Native American Times, Jim helped pace public debate on issues important to Native Americans in Oklahoma and across the Nation.

Chief Gray’s work has been recognized over the years by numerous organizations like the Native American Business Development Center. The Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission awarded him the Lewis B. Ketchum Award for Excellence in Business. He also received the Abe Venable Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005, and he was recently awarded the American Indian Tribal Leadership Award at REZ 2008.

Chief Gray is a much sought out speaker in Indian Country, academia and in Washington D.C., as the leading spokesperson on Native American issues throughout the United States. In recent years, he has stayed busy doing work for the The TiLeaf Group, Native American Contractors Association, the Cherokee Nation and the Delaware Tribe.

Chief Gray is married to Libbi Chissoe Gray (Osage) and is the father of four children, Henry, Naomi, James, and Annette (Nettie) Gray and the step father of three children, Mary, Sarah, and Oli Ramirez. He is culturally versed in his Osage Traditions and has been dancing in his tribe’s ceremonial dances since he was six years old.

Harvest Moon American Indian Festival is delighted to have Jim as our featured Keynote Speaker at this year’s festival.