native american

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby discussed water rights, language efforts, and the tribe’s economic development during his annual State of the Nation address Saturday.

He told the crowd gathered in Tishomingo the August agreement between the state, the city of Oklahoma City, and the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations maintains tribal sovereignty and resolves long-standing issues over water rights and regulatory authority.

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby at a news conference announcing the water deal.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After five years of court proceedings and confidential negotiations, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations have reached an agreement with the state over control of water in southeast Oklahoma.

Chief of Choctaw Nation Gary Batton, from left, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and the Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby listen to a speaker during a press conference at the Oklahoma Heritage Center in Oklahoma City on Thursday.
Alonzo Adams / AP

After five years of court proceedings and confidential negotiations, two Native American tribes have reached an agreement with the state over control of water in southeast Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City University professor Kyle Dean presents findings of an economic impact report during the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association conference Tuesday in Tulsa.
Rip Stell / The Journal Record

Casinos in rural Oklahoma bring in about half of all gaming revenue, and the small towns these establishments call home reap some of the rewards.

A report presented at the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association conference Tuesday revealed that small, rural towns get an economic boost when a tribal casino opens, The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming reports:

Steve Hahn, president of AT&T Oklahoma, speaks at the Reservation Economic Summit in Tulsa Tuesday.
Rip Stell / The Journal Record

This week tribal and business leaders met just outside of Tulsa for the Reservation Economic Summit.

Grave sites at the Sardis Cemetery go back well into the 19th century and many of them are homemade.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The fight over control of Sardis Lake and water across southeastern Oklahoma pits the state against Native American tribes. To the Choctaw and Chickasaw who live in the area today — and for the Caddo who preceded them — water isn’t just vital to life: It’s culturally sacred.


U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro is interviewed by Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on Oct. 18, 2015.
The Texas Tribune / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Late last week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $55 million in Indian Community Development Block Grants to 75 Native American communities across the country.

Sixteen Oklahoma tribes received $11.8 million dollars for housing, infrastructure, and other construction projects. 14 of the tribes received roughly $800,000.

The unfinished American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma City took another step toward finishing the troubled American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.

In the Navajo culture, teachers are revered as "wisdom keepers," entrusted with the young to help them grow and learn. This is how Tia Tsosie Begay approaches her work as a fourth-grade teacher at a small public school on the outskirts of Tucson, Ariz.

For Navajos, says Begay, your identity is not just a name; it ties you to your ancestors, which in turn defines you as a person.

"My maternal clan is 'water's edge'; my paternal clan is 'water flows together,' " she explains. "Our healing power is through humor and laughter, and I try to bring that to my classroom."

Newly-elected Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd takes the oath of office in January 2016.
Amanda Rutland / Muscogee Nation News

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation inaugurated a new principal chief and other tribal officials on Saturday. James Floyd took the oath of office after ousting former principal chief George Tiger in November's election.

Floyd is the retired director of a Veterans Administration medical center in Muskogee, and has also worked with the Indian Health Services.

White House Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli speaks at a news conference Wednesday.
Matt Trotter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are partnering to take on prescription drug overdose deaths.

The IHS will provide naloxone to BIA officers starting next year. The fast-acting drug counteracts respiratory shutdown brought on by overdosing on heroin or prescription painkillers.

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell during a July 2015 meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
OversightandReform / Flickr

On Tuesday the U.S. House passed a bill that exempts businesses on tribal lands from the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. Supporters say the measure clears up statutory confusion and preserves tribal sovereignty.

A picture of a natural gas extraction site in the shadow of a setting sun.
Chesapeake Energy

The federal government has fined one of the country’s largest energy producers more than $2.1 million for under-reporting natural gas production on Native American leases.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue issued Chesapeake Energy an order to restructure its accounting practices in order to correct unreported and misreported volumes on land leased by Native American individuals and tribes.

University of Oklahoma President David Boren announces the first Indigenous Peoples' Day October 12, 2015 outside the Bizzell Memorial Library on the south end of campus.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Native American students and University of Oklahoma administrators marked the first annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday morning. The ceremony came after the Undergraduate Student Congress passed a resolution last month recognizing the holiday in place of Columbus Day.

Dozens of students and faculty participated in a tribal flag procession down the main thoroughfare on OU’s campus as drums beat and dancers marched toward the library.

Native American students and school administrators march down the South Oval toward Bizzell Memorial Library October 12, 2015 morning to mark the first Indigenous Peoples' Day at the University of Oklahoma.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Late last month, after extended discussion, the University of Oklahoma Student Congress officially recognized Indigenous Peoples' Day in place of Columbus Day on campus. The vote was a victory for its sponsors, Indigenize OU, a group of four Native American student activists.