Billy Friend

Billy Friend

Chief of the Wyandotte Nation

Billy Friend began working for the Wyandotte Nation in 1998 as fitness center manager. Since that time, he was promoted to human resource director, director of health services, casino manager, and Chief of Staff.

In 2006, he was elected to the position of Second Chief.  In this role, he served under Chief Leaford Bearskin, whom he considered his mentor and friend.  In 2011, Chief Bearskin stepped down and Billy began his first term.  Chief Friend was elected in 2013.

In his first term, Chief Friend established goals of economic development and self-sufficiency for the Wyandotte Nation and its people.  In addition to his role as Chief, Mr. Friend serves on the board of directors for the Ohio History Connection, serves as vice chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association and is a delegate for the National Indian Gaming Association.

Under Chief Friend’s leadership, the Wyandotte Nation economically has grown to over 800 employees, with gross revenues of tribal enterprises producing over $100 million dollars, which helps fund and subsidize all of the tribal social service programs.

Many new programs have emerged for the Wyandotte people during Chief Friend’s tenure began.  Assisting up to 30 youth each summer, ages 16 – 22, the intern program is one that Chief Friend is most proud of. This opportunity allows for Wyandotte Tribal Citizens to come to work and see firsthand how the organization operates and prides itself in improving the quality of lives of those served and also to the community at large.

Furthermore, Chief Friend established the first ever tribal town hall meetings as a way of reaching out to the over 4,000 Wyandotte tribal citizens who live outside the state of Oklahoma.  This effort was made to help reconnect them to their tribal heritage.

Billy Friend and his wife, Kelly, have 4 sons, Caleb, Cade, Brant, Bryson and 1 daughter, Chloe.  Caleb and his wife Kayla have twin boys, Cohen and Emrys.

8:30 am - 9:30 am
Midland Theatre


Welcome to the 2024 Heritage Ohio Annual Conference. Our opening address will be delivered by Chief Billy Friend of the Wyandotte Nation.