The longtime governor of one of the state's most powerful Native American tribes says he has no plans to run for Oklahoma's open U.S. Senate seat this year.
Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby released a statement Monday that said while he's honored to be mentioned as a potential candidate, he doesn't intend to run. Anoatubby says he hopes to continue in his role as head of the tribe "if it is the will of the Chickasaw people."
Anoatubby has been governor of the tribe since 1987.
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 2:47 pm
Emily Johnson Dickerson died at her home in Ada, Okla., last week. She was the last person alive who spoke only the Chickasaw language.
"This is a sad day for all Chickasaw people because we have lost a cherished member of our Chickasaw family and an unequaled source of knowledge about our language and culture," Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said in a news release. The Chickasaw Nation has about 55,000 members and is based in the southern part of central Oklahoma.
When Oklahoma City decided to build a pipeline that would eventually carry water from Sardis Lake, in southeast Oklahoma, to the city, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations filed suit in federal court saying pretty much all of the water in that part of the state belongs to them.
That was in 2011. The parties have been negotiating outside of court since early 2012, and the case was stayed for a sixth time Sept. 17.
Several Native American tribes across Oklahoma are holding celebrations this weekend to recognize their culture and heritage.
In Tahlequah, the Cherokee Nation is hosting the Cherokee National Holiday. The holiday commemorates the signing of the 1839 Cherokee Constitution. The event runs through Sunday and will feature arts and crafts, softball and basketball tournaments, fireworks and more.
The Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur is hosting a stomp dance, stickball and cultural demonstrations as part of a Labor Day celebration on Saturday.