Native American Heritage Month: Purcell Powless

Purcell Powless (1925-2010) served as Oneida Tribal Chairman during one of the most progressive eras for the tribe. He ran for the position and won in 1967 because he saw an opportunity to make a difference in his community. He served in this position until 1990 at which time he retired. During his tenure, he completed several projects that have had a lasting impact, including work on the Oneida Casino, the Radisson Hotel, the Irene Metoxen Moore Community Center, and the Head Start and Tribal School System. The work Purcell and his counterparts accomplished is astounding. The era of change fostered a higher quality of life for the community.

While Purcell received a lot of praise for his work on the council, he never took all the credit. He is remembered as a very humble man. He often credited the women around him for the wonderful things that were happening in the community and recognized the women around him for their hard work and dedication. Purcell believed that women were the foundation of getting things done.

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