Devon Energy is using proceeds from cancelled leases on tribal land in Montana to support land conservation and tribal efforts in Oklahoma. 

The company signed the agreement to cancel the leases with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Blackfeet Nation last year. Devon acquired the leases on land sacred to the Blackfeet Nation in a merger.

Devon donated $100,000 of rebates to The Nature Conservancy, $40,000 to the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC) and $25,000 to the American Indian College Fund. 

The donation to The Nature Conservancy will support efforts in conjunction with the Chickasaw Nation at the 490-acre Oka’ Yanahli Preserve. The preserve encompasses two miles of the Blue River in southeast Oklahoma. The river is the primary water source for the city of Durant. 

Mike Fuhr, Oklahoma state director for The Nature Conservancy, said the money will be used for research, water quality monitoring and to help clean up private dumps and fencing.

“This gift from Devon will help us be proactive in protecting the Blue River and the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer,” Fuhr said. “We are grateful Devon and the Chickasaw Nation understand the importance of protecting this jewel of native Oklahoma.”

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby also praised Devon’s efforts.

“The waters and lands of Oklahoma are part of our cultural heritage,” Anoatubby said. “We value caring neighbors like Devon who are dedicated to preserving precious resources.”

Devon CEO Dave Hager said partnering with The Nature Conservancy and the Chickasaw Nation was the right thing to do. 

“Devon cares deeply about the environment. We want to make sure our actions align with our company values,” he said. “The Nature Conservancy provides a reliable, efficient way to make sure funds are used for an outstanding cause.” 

Retired Devon Chairman and CEO Larry Nichols first became a member of board of The Nature Conservancy in 1990. 

“We all love cities and towns, but we need natural beauty,” Nichols said. “Protecting the Blue River isn’t just about maintaining pretty places. We have a scientific interest in encouraging biodiversity.” 

The gift to the OKCIC will help improve access to lifesaving breast cancer and colorectal cancer screenings for women, CEO Robyn Sunday-Allen said.  

“We are thankful for our partnership with Devon and its commitment to supporting the OKCIC and the patients we serve,” Sunday-Allen said. “Our mission of providing excellent health care to American Indians, and our vision to be the national model for American Indian health care, face challenges. These contributions allow us to provide specialty care for the population of women that we serve.”

Allen Wright, Devon’s vice president, public and government affairs, said Devon was honored to give back to the community.

“We know this gift will have a significant, positive impact on women’s lives for many years,” he said. 

The contribution to the American Indian College Fund supports the more than 6,500 scholarships the group awards annually to Native American students.

Published: July 2017