Native American Indian Commission

2022 Community Elected Commissioner Candidate

John Only A Chief

Candidate Biography

Nawa (hello) my name is John Only A Chief enrolled full blood member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. I was born and raised in Pawnee Oklahoma until the age of 10 years old. Not having a traditional family unit, I was a candidate for adoption (prior to the Indian Child Welfare Act) and was relocated to Los Angeles in 1972 where I became a ward of the Superior Court of Los Angeles for four years while my adoption was being finalized. Since that time, I made my home in and around Los Angeles County having attended Paramount Unified School District and graduating from Paramount High School, Class of 1980. I attended Cerritos College of Norwalk with an interest in Administration of Justice. I started a family and relocated to Pawnee, Oklahoma from 2002-2017 where I was given full custody of my son and daughter whom I raised as a single father. I returned to the L.A county area September 4, 2017.

I have outlined some timelines of interest I have been involved with in Los Angeles County and with my tribal government of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.

  • Los Angeles County community member from 1972-2002 returned 2017-present.
  • Resided in Paramount CA and a graduate of Paramount High School 1980
  • Attended Cerritos College 1980-1982 Administration of Justice
  • Grassroots President of the Native American Community Action Coalition
  • 1998-2002 Original founder/CEO of American Indian Changing Spirits and signed the first contract with the County of Los Angeles receiving unanimous Supervisor support, a big thank you to previous Supervisors Don Knabe and Supervisor Yvonne Burke.
  • Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma 2002-2017
    • Title 7 Indian Education President 1 term and Vice President 1 term
    • Johnson O’Mallev JOM President 1 term and Vice President 1 term
    • Council Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) Managed by David Lester, National member for Pawnee Nation Department of Environmental Conservation & Safety
    • Pawnee Chapter Native American Church treasurer, helped to incorporate with the State of Oklahoma
    • Pawnee Nation Utility Authority Chairman 2003-2011 presented to the Pawnee Business Council partnering with Indian Electric Co-operative to provide electricity on tribal lands.
    • Founder Pawnee Racksters Tennis, United States Tennis Association-Community Tennis Association member, Pawnee, Oklahoma
    • Elected to the Pawnee Business Council (PBC) 2007-2011 Council Seat #1, assigned to the following boards and commissions by President George E. Howell.

Budget Committee member, Housing Authority monitor, Human Resources Chairman, Utility Authority Chairman, Delegate by PBC resolution for the National Congress of American Indians, Tribal Economic Development Corporation (seated) Designated 2010 Census worker for the State of Oklahoma (7 counties for tribal recruitment, 2 extensions of service)

Candidate Statement

Why am I a candidate for the commission? I will advocate to bring a better Native awareness to the City/County of Los Angeles by making sure we are represented at all sponsored City/County public events. Providing information by way of outreach and communication with our native communities is crucial when serving. Los Angeles has had the claim of having the most native population over the years but we are still being overlooked in funding, housing, health and supportive family services. In most cases Native people get 1 location source of services (clinic, dental, vision, limited housing) while other minority communities receive multiple location services. We need to do better.

I do not just want to be on the commission, I will be serving as a commissioner. During my commitment I plan to continue the positive relationships established from previous commissions but also challenging and working in unity with the City and County administrations for our native peoples.

My plan for uplifting the AlAN community will be attending native community events and bringing any concerns I hear to the commissioners table so that through discussions we can create or enhance those areas. I realize I am only 1 voice at the table and I will encourage other like-minded commissioners to join me.

My motto for our Native community will be, “I Work For You” I heard this many years ago from Ernie Stevens Jr. Chairman of The National Indian Gaming Association, while addressing tribal nations during a NIGA conference.

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