Te'Ata Gentle Springs Loper
(Chickasaw Citizen/Choctaw Descendent)
Te’Ata Gentle Springs Loper serves as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Association and previously served in the role as the ICWA Partnership Grant Coordinator. Te’Ata has been a strong advocate for tribal sovereignty and tribal representation in the state child welfare agency and state court systems for over twenty years. Te’Ata’s work with OICWA centers on partnership, collaboration, training, advocacy, systems change, compliance and accountability to ensure Indigenous children and their families are protected and ICWA is upheld. Te’Ata advocates to have tribal voices and input whenever policy, procedure, programs and legislation are discussed and enacted that impacts tribal children.
Te’Ata earned a Master of Science degree in Family and Child Studies and a Bachelors degree in Sociology with a Minor in Substance Abuse from the University of Central Oklahoma. She has served as a board member for the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Association (OICWA) and the Oklahoma Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA). She has been a member of the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Association (OICWA) since 2002 when she began serving as the Director of Indian Child Welfare for the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma. Prior to her current position, she worked as the Program Director of the Child Abuse Response and Evaluation (CARE) Center in Oklahoma County for six years and was Adjunct Faculty for the Oklahoma City University Child Advocacy Studies Program. She has worked as a Foster Care and Adoption Home Study Assessment Provider for multiple Resource Family Partner (RFP) Agencies. She also worked as a Medical Social Worker for Aspire Home Care and Hospice and Centric Hospice.
Te’Ata is a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and is of Choctaw Nation descent, she resides on her family’s original allotment in Tishomingo, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory. Te’Ata is a mother to two daughters, MaCayla and Steavi Claire, and is a beloved Indigenous auntie.