Open Letter Update

Since the publication of our open letter we have been overwhelmed by the support of our community to our directions moving forward. We have also had some complications arise and we wanted to inform the community of them and to let you know our plan of action.

Just prior to the end of the year holiday break we received a document which reflected possible Shawnee heritage for Victoria Fortner. We immediately responded by beginning a thorough investigation into this document and its authority and authenticity. Due to the nature of this sort of work and December holidays there have been delays, but we have taken a variety of steps such as contacting many different tribal agencies and authorities including the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Shawnee Tribe, government unit, 2nd chief of the Shawnee tribe, Ben Barnes, with whom we have had several conversations. Mr. Barnes notified us that he had retained a copy of this document several years ago and will be preparing a statement as to his assessment of its validity. Additionally we are in conversation with the Office of Public Affairs - Indian Affairs of the Washington office of the U. S. Department of the Interior-Indian Affairs who have offered to assist with authenticity verification.  We have decided to temporarily remove the letter pending the results of this vetting process.  While we realize that a quick response is important in these matters, we also feel strong that our due diligence must be thorough.

We hope to have a clear determination shortly on this new evidence and will report this to the community. Our direction moving forward as an organization and our commitments as stated in the letter are strong and clear, and we begin this new year by undertaking our next steps in bringing them to fruition.

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