Native Americans

Cherokee Nation leaders are seeing progress on issues at the federal level, but that doesn’t mean they’ve turned a blind eye to the state capitol.

First up is the special session to redraw state legislative and congressional district boundaries, which starts Nov. 15. Cherokee Nation Director of Government Affairs and Cherokee Nation Businesses Senior Vice President of Government Relations Kim Teehee said the tribe’s geographic information systems team has analyzed various redistricting proposals.

Photo via signaturesymphony.org

Our guest is the acclaimed Chickasaw classical composer, Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate. He's known for blending Chickasaw and other Native American elements with European musical instruments to create compositions that've been performed by the likes of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and others. Tate will be the focus of the next Signature Symphony chamber music concert, happening in-person on Saturday the 16th at the VanTrease PACE on the TCC Southeast Campus.

A federal prosecutor turned private practice Native American law attorney says the despite the current stalemate between Gov. Kevin Stitt and tribes, there is a way forward — and there needs to be, because the McGirt decision is likely here to stay.

Choctaw citizen and former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Trent Shores said there is a different justice on the court since the 5–4 decision in July 2020. Conservative Amy Coney Barrett replaced the late liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Muscogee Nation has issued a rebuttal to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s latest comments against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last July in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

At a Tulsa Chamber event Thursday, Stitt said the ruling that Oklahoma for more than a century wrongly asserted criminal jurisdiction over tribal citizens on tribal lands "remains a threat" to the state and is the most pressing issue for Oklahoma.

Courtesy

A U.S. Senate committee advanced a pair of bills last week to help preserve Native languages, including one named for a renowned Cherokee linguist.

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz is a co-author of S.1402, the Durbin Feeling Native American Languages Act. It would direct the president to keep tabs on agencies’s compliance with existing law recognizing Natives's right to use their own language and implement surveys of revitalization programs every five years to see where resources are needed most.

Man Whose Case Led To Landmark Ruling Reconvicted By Feds

Aug 6, 2021
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma death row inmate whose legal challenge led to a historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on tribal sovereignty has been convicted of murder and kidnapping in federal court.

A federal jury in Muskogee on Thursday found Patrick Murphy, 52, guilty in the 1999 killing of George Jacobs in McIntosh County in eastern Oklahoma. Murphy faces up to life in federal prison when he is formally sentenced, but will avoid the death penalty.

Joe Ravi / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The state's new attorney general has formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the ruling that held Oklahoma for more than a century wrongfully claimed jurisdiction over crimes within the boundaries of the Muscogee Nation.

Attorney General John O'Connor, who took office two weeks ago, is calling the court's July 2020 ruling "recklessly overbroad," says crime victims are being revictimized going through the legal process a second time, and says tribes and the state don't agree on a path forward.

Gov. Kevin Stitt's office

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior over the federal agency’s plan to strip Oklahoma of its jurisdiction to regulate coal mining on tribal reservations, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday.

The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Oklahoma City, names as defendants U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and that agency’s acting director, Glenda Owens.

Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office

The first indigenous U.S. cabinet secretary said Tuesday her agency will take a close look at federal boarding schools the government forced Native children to attend.

Speaking at the National Congress of American Indians Midyear Conference, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative will include compiling and analyzing the institutions' records to help figure out how many children died at them and what their ongoing effects on Native American communities are.

Two Parks Changing To Honor Veterans, Native Americans

Jun 17, 2021

Some monuments to veterans are moving. 

 

At a press conference today, officials announced that Veterans Park will be moving to Centennial Park. One reason for the change is to create more visibility for the Veterans Park monuments. 

 

Josh Sparks, veterans chair for the Human Rights Commission, said Veterans Park was first established on South Boulder Drive because that street was once a main thoroughfare. It’s not so much these days.

 

Changes Coming For Two Tulsa Parks

Jun 16, 2021
Trust for Public Land

Two local parks are seeing changes.

Centennial Park at 6th and Peoria will be renamed Veterans Park, and what was Veterans Park will be called Dream Keeper Park to honor Native Americans.

During a meeting of the Indian Affairs Commission Tuesday evening, chair Cheryl Cohenour said the location on South Boulder Drive has meaning.

“It’s pretty close to the Council Oak Tree and the river, so it has a little bit more symbolic reference for us. We have an opportunity to do a lot of different things at that park,” said Cohenour.

NEW YORK (AP) — CNN is cutting ties with former Republican senator and current TV analyst Rick Santorum over disparaging comments he made about Native American culture.

On CNN, Santorum was a senior political commentator who was often tasked with giving the Republican point of view during campaign coverage. His parting ways with the network was confirmed Saturday by Alison Rudnick, vice president of HLN Communications and CNN Diversity and Inclusion.

U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland approved on Wednesday a new constitution for the Cherokee Nation, one that ensures full citizenship for descendants of Freedmen.

Haaland was confirmed as Interior secretary March 15, and the agency said Cherokee Nation submitted the constitution for approval March 12.

Voices across Indian Country are condemning CNN pundit and former Pennsylvania Republican U.S. senator Rick Santorum's remarks dismissing Native Americans and their culture as "nothing" at a conservative forum last week.

In a five-hour special meeting on Friday, the Oklahoma State Board of Education voted to keep an indigenous-led charter school on probation and to place an Oklahoma City district on probation.

The board could have terminated Sovereign Community School’s contract, but they praised operations director Stacie Thrasher and founding board member Kyla Molina for working to improve its governance and solve financial problems.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health announced Friday any Oklahoman 18 or older is welcome at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Tulsa next weekend.

The 4,000-dose, drive-thru clinic will be March 26 and 27 at the fairgrounds’ River Spirit Expo Center. When it was announced earlier this week, eligibility was limited to Native Americans and their non-Native family members and caregivers.

(Note: This discussion first aired in October of last year.) Our guest is the well-regarded historian and author Peter Cozzens, who joins us to talk about his book, "Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation." This book argues that Tecumseh was actually a co-leader of sorts of the Shawnee tribe with his often-misunderstood younger brother, the shaman-like Tenskwatawa.

Photo of Claudio Saunt by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA

Our guest is Claudio Saunt, a professor of American History at the University of Georgia. He'll soon deliver the 2021 Cadenhead-Settle Memorial Lecture at the University of Tulsa. His talk -- which will be offered as a digital/livestream/online-only event on March 4th (starting at 7pm) at utulsa.edu/cadenhead-settle -- will explore how slavery and indigenous dispossession effectively built the Antebellum South.

Haaland's Confirmation Grilling Raises Questions On Bias

Feb 26, 2021
C-SPAN

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — When Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso snapped at Deb Haaland during her confirmation hearing, many in Indian Country were incensed. 

The exchange, coupled with descriptions of the Interior secretary nominee as “radical” — by other white, male Republicans — left some feeling Haaland is being treated differently because she is a Native American woman.

Oklahoma tribes and U.S. attorneys are the first in the nation to work together in a new federal program to handle missing and murdered indigenous persons cases.

The Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee nations will take the lead in developing guidelines for local, state and federal agencies to work with them on such cases. The plans will address law enforcement, victim services, community outreach and communication.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Family Violence Prevention Program Director Shawn Partridge said the program will build on work the tribe has been doing for itself.

"Yankton Sioux, 1837" by Gina Adams. (Hand-cut calico letters on antique quilt.) 91.5”H x 72.5”W, 2014. Posted at [www.ginaadamsartist.com/broken-treaty-quilts].

Our guest on ST is Gina Adams, a contemporary hybrid artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She joins us to discuss her striking and ongoing series of Broken Treaty Quilts. A descendant of both Indigenous Peoples (the Ojibwe tribe) and colonial Americans, Adams re-purposes antique quilts in order to create art works documenting the various treaties broken by the United States with Native American tribes over the years.

Our guest is the well-regarded historian and author Peter Cozzens, who joins us to discuss his new book, "Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation." The book argues that Tecumseh was actually a co-leader of sorts of the Shawnee tribe with his often-misunderstood younger brother, Tenskwatawa. Please note that Mr. Cozzens will take part in a free, online, upcoming book-discussion event on Monday the 2nd, to be presented on the Zoom platform.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A task force appointed by Gov. Kevin Stitt made no specific recommendations Thursday in its report concerning the impact of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared a swath of eastern Oklahoma counties remains an Indian reservation.

The report calls for consistent laws and regulations in the state governing taxation, zoning and business regulations, which Stitt said will be up to Congress to provide.

Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission

The city of Tulsa's fourth annual Native American Day was held remotely Monday due to the coronavirus pandemic, with streaming performances, speeches, presentations and even a virtual vendors' market.

"Four years ago, the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission, Mayor [G.T] Bynum and the city council made a commitment to celebrate and recognize Native America Day each year on the second Monday of each October," said Matt Roberts, the event's emcee. "We appreciate Mayor Bynum's progressive and inclusive leadership."

We are pleased to welcome Mark Dolph back to StudioTulsa. He's Curator of History at Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa. He tells us about an exciting new exhibition at that museum presenting the work of Shan Goshorn, the late Tulsa-area artist.

Our guest is Christina Burke, the Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art at Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa. She tells us about an exciting new show at the museum, "Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists," which is now on view for members only -- and which will open to the public on Wednesday the 7th. As noted the Philbrook website: "Women have long been the creative force behind Native art.

(Note: This interview first aired back in May.) Our guest is Walter Johnson, the Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His new book is a far-reaching, unflinching, and complicated account of race relations in his hometown: St. Louis, Missouri. From Lewis and Clark's 1804 expedition to the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, the course of American events, Johnson argues, has been charted in St. Louis.

On this edition of ST, we learn about a multi-artist, multi-media exhibition opening soon at Living Arts of Tulsa called "Speak: Speak While You Can." The show gathers works by several outstanding Native American artists, all of the creations focused on various indigenous/tribal langauges. Our guests are the co-curators of this show, both of them noted Native artists in their own right: Tony A. Tiger (Sac & Fox/Seminole/Muscogee) and Bobby C. Martin (Muscogee/Creek).

Photo From Wikipedia

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a surprising 5-4 decision in the case of McGirt v. Oklahoma; the Court ruled that much of the eastern half of Oklahoma is still an Indian reservation. In doing so, the Court affirmed that -- because Congress had not expressly disestablished the Muskogee Creek Reservation, which was created well over a century ago -- that Reservation still exists when it comes to the Federal Major Crimes Act.

Facebook / Union Public Schools

Union Public Schools announced Monday that it will "entertain a proposal" to change its mascot from a derogatory term for Native Americans it shares with Washington's NFL team.

“We have been having conversations internally for quite some time about the possibility of making a change,” said Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler in a statement posted to the school district's Facebook page. “Many, both inside and outside our community, have had conflicting emotions over the years regarding Union’s mascot, and we strongly believe that now is the time to take up this issue once again."

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