Pawnee Nation Operations – Agricultural Research and Development

Pawnee Nation Operations – Agricultural Research and Development

In August 2020, the Pawnee Nation Business Council passed a resolution at the administrative level to introduce a local food management and planning effort utilizing CARES Funding. This effort allows for the hire of Pawnee members to quarterback a Pawnee Nation Division of Agriculture and aid in examining food security and food access issues in the current tribal structure.

The Operations Director, Jimmy Jestes, is overseeing the Pawnee Cattle Operation, with Lauren Quimby serving as Cattle Operations Assistant Manager. Jimmy has 21 years of experience serving the Pawnee Nation and is integral to the perpetuation of the Pawnee Livestock and Rodeo industry in this region. Ms. Quimby has experience serving the Administrative Office and supports the business-minded build-out of farm to table necessary to serve the Pawnee people during and after the times of the COVID-19 Pandemic. To truly serve the people- we must continue to build capacity of the people and the government.

Here are two short biographies of Pawnee Women in Agriculture, followed by a spotlight of a Pawnee Agronomy Scholar. President Echo-Hawk has directed the project to support the formation and success of an Agriculture Committee, composed of cattle/livestock producers, ethnobotanists, agro-ecology professionals, and community partners in agriculture education. To build a Culture of Health- we must all recognize we have a role to play in food sovereignty. We hope to highlight community voices in future articles. Until then- we are researching farm food and safety planning for future greenhouse produce markets, grant writing, and assisting with an inventory of Pani Rikisu, Pani Corn, and other crops to ensure Pawnee people have access to Pawnee seeds for future growing seasons.

Electa Hare-RedCorn, parus kitari ira u, SB Pirahawirata, Local Food Research and Development

I am the daughter of Charles and Dawna Hare and the granddaughter of the late Cecil and Joyce Riding In and Tee and Barbara Hare. I am a granddaughter of the Pawnee silversmith, Marlene Riding In Mameah. I hold a Master of Social Work in Community Revitalization, focus- children, youth, and families. I am currently a doctoral scholar attending the University of Arkansas and studied under the mentorship of Mrs. Janie Hipp, Chickasaw, for Ag Law and Policy cross-training in tribal governance and business entities, USDA and NRCS programs, and Indigenous Food and Agriculture Leadership under the first Native female dean of a Law School, Stacy Leeds, JD, Cherokee. The pair co-founded the Native Youth into Agriculture Summit at the University of Arkansas Law School, and they, along with Seed Preservation mentor Deb Echo-Hawk have introduced me to a greater understanding of agriculture business, law, health, and conservation practices. Most recently, I served the Intertribal Agriculture Council as the Eastern OK Region Technical Assistance Specialist. In this role, I learned about the numerous USDA programs and services and history/function of U.S. ag policy and aided youth in applying for Beginning Farmer and Rancher and Youth Ag Loans.

Jessica Sunny Evans, Skidi Band, Horticulturalist

I am the daughter of Tom and Arlene Evans, of Pawnee, and the granddaughter of Betty Evans of Abilene, TX. My great-grandparents were Stacy and Becky Howell of Pawnee. I attended Pawnee public schools through elementary education and returned to Pawnee to earn a BS in Horticulture at OSU. My studies were in sustainable agriculture, focusing on best practices to manage insect pests. I am passionate about growing plants for people to use in many ways, from food to fiber, to dyes, and beyond. I believe we are capable of introducing agricultural projects that are sustainable and can improve the land and waters of our Nation.


Ag Spotlight: Pawnee Nation Scholar:

Kahheetah Barnoskie, Kitkehaki Band

Grandparents are Virgil and Lolita Cook, family descendants of Julius Ceasar.

Ms. Barnoskie is in her first year of graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Kahheetah has served the Pawnee community as an intern for the Pawnee Seed Preservation Project, as an AmeriCorps Spirit of the Sun Volunteer, working specifically with food security issues at the Pawnee Nation Elder Meals Program. Working with the re-emerging varieties of Pawnee corn, she has learned and labored in amazement and respect for the agricultural bio-diversity of indigenous food sources. A major focus of her work is plant disease resistance and pest resistance. Kaheetah describes her studies at UNL as: I feel lucky to work in an underdeveloped area of ag plant breeding research titled: landrace studies. Landrace studies are the study of local varieties of plants grown in traditional practices. Landraces are a great genetic resource because of their adaptability and stress tolerance. They are also important to agricultural bio-diversity and nutrition studies because they are more variable than the uniform crops grown by corporate/commodity farming today. Kahheetah looks forward to sharpening her toolbox as an ag scientist so she may continue to assist the Pawnee Seed Preservation Project into the future- and she also looks forward to being a source of support and understanding for other tribes looking to revive their landrace varieties of traditional foods. She is an important part of the future of Pawnee Food and Agricultural systems- and we hope to call upon her talents as a scientific advisor to complement the work of the Pawnee Agriculture Committee. Congratulations on your academic scholarships, and we wish you continued success as you cultivate your craft.

If you have talents in agriculture, would like to visit more about Pawnee agriculture, or have a partnership idea, or need support in accessing USDA and Natural Resource Conservation Services for your own ag projects- feel free to call us at

(918) 399-6999. We are currently housed in Building One, Pawnee Nation Campus. Ta tura tsiksu, With Much Respect, Pawnee Agriculture Team.