As an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, I am very proud of my heritage and the tremendous accomplishments of tribes in Oklahoma and across our country. The U.S. Constitution and the federal government recognize that Native American tribes are sovereign entities with separate governments and rights that should be honored and respected. Indeed, tribes have a unique relationship with state and local governments, as well as the federal government.
Native Americans are aggressively working toward building Native economies and governments, and I am committed to making sure they have the tools and resources to continue these efforts. Through numerous treaties, as well as legislation, the United States has promised to provide a variety of services and payments to tribes, and I will work to make sure these promises are kept. I support efforts to increase business opportunities and economic development in Indian Country. Specifically, I support the use of tax incentives for businesses that locate or expand on former Indian lands or hire Native Americans and their spouses.
I believe each tribe, with its own government and rights, should be honored and respected. Tribes should work mutually with the states and the federal government to maintain the integrity of their heritage, culture and legal rights. I also believe the federal government must comply with its trust and treaty obligations. That requires Washington to appropriately fund healthcare, education, infrastructure and law enforcement in Indian Country.
More on Tribal Relations
The Oklahoman- Chris Casteel
The Obama administration has proposed to pay Indian tribes nearly $1 billion to settle a long-running lawsuit alleging the government failed to pay the costs of running federal programs.
The $940 million settlement, filed in federal court in New Mexico, was announced by top officials at the Interior and Justice departments on Thursday.
Indian Country Today - Harlan McKosato
The campaign to bring the remains of legendary Native athlete Jim Thorpe home is gathering support after lawyers representing Thorpe’s two remaining sons, Bill and Richard Thorpe, along with the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma, filed a writ of certiorari to petition the Court to hear their case after losing in U.S Appeals Court last October.
At an early age, my mother taught me about the importance of my Native American heritage, and I have carried that with me throughout my life with a great sense of pride. As a member of the Chickasaw Nation, I am pleased that November marks a special time to nationally recognize the significant contributions, achievements and history of all tribes. There is certainly a lot to celebrate this month.