Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker is applauding efforts to create a cabinet level position in the Oklahoma governor's office that would be dedicated to Native American affairs.
State Democratic Rep. Chuck Hoskin of Vinita has authored a bill that would create an executive branch cabinet secretary of Native American Affairs. The secretary would be designated the Oklahoma Native American liaison. Hoskin is also the Cherokee Nation chief of staff.
The U.S. Bureau of Indian Education has authorized funding for the College of the Muscogee Nation in Okmulgee.
The college sought funding in April as a tribal college under the Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities Assistance Act of 1978. Approval was announced Wednesday by Kevin Washburn, the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Funding is to begin in July.
Musician Clarence Clearwater, like so many Navajos, has moved off the reservation for work. He performs on the Grand Canyon Railway, the lone Indian among dozens of cowboys and train robbers entertaining tourists.
"I always tell people I'm there to temper the cowboys," says Clearwater. "I'm there to give people the knowledge that there was more of the West than just cowboys."
During Native American Heritage Month last November, Congress bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal, its highest civilian honor, to American Indians who used their native languages to outwit the enemy and protect American battlefield secrets during World Wars I and II.
A new rule change implemented this year by the Oklahoma State Department of Education allows the state to grant an annual certification to American Indian language instructors to teach tribal languages in public schools.
The Oklahoman reports that the rule change aims to address the shrinking number of people who are fluent speakers in their native languages. The change also allows students to receive graduation credit for taking the courses.
Native American cultures are getting a helping hand from a surprising source…tourism. The stereotypes of insensitive non-Indians picking through baskets and turquoise jewelry, while still alive and well, is not what the American public, or the world, looks for in a vacation. They want an experience, and often as not, they want to learn.
Cherokee Nation representatives say a banner displayed during a high school football game that recalled the Trail of Tears shows the need to continue educating students nationwide about the Indian removal era.
Administrators of McAdory High School in McAlla and Jefferson County schools officials have apologized for a banner shown during a Friday night game which said McAdory's opponents, the Indians, should "Get ready to leave in a Trail of Tears."