( – promoted by navajo)
When many Indian nations were forcibly removed to what was has become Oklahoma, they were told that no political communities would be established except for those established by the Indians themselves. The state of Oklahoma, however, was not established by the Indians, but by the American settlers. Unlike other western states which have often ignored their Indian heritage, Oklahoma has strongly embraced its heritage and has acknowledged its Indian population.
Oklahoma has elected Indians to public office since it obtained statehood: Robert L. Owen (Cherokee) was elected to the United States Senate and Cherokee tribal attorney and former speaker of the Cherokee House of Representatives James S. Davenport was elected to Congress.
At the present time, Oklahoma is the only state where there are more Republican Indians serving in the legislature than Democrats. There are twelve Republicans in the House and seven Democrats. There are three Democrats in the Senate. This year there are a number of Democratic Indian candidates supported by INDN’s List running for office in Oklahoma.
State Auditor and Inspector:
Steve Burrage (Choctaw) was appointed State Auditor and Inspector in July 2008 and is now running for election. In accepting the appointment, he said, “I want the State Auditor’s Office to be the best auditing firm in Oklahoma.” He immediately set work to accomplish this benchmark. Steve has conducted audits that have prosecuted felons and saved the state of Oklahoma hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Cory Williams (Cherokee) was elected to the state legislature (District 34) by 63 votes in 2008. He is currently running for reelection in one of the toughest State House races in Oklahoma. Republicans used smear tactics and dirty tricks to try to beat him two years ago in one of the nastiest races in Oklahoma and they are will stop at nothing to try to defeat this progressive champion in November.
Ken Luttrell (Cherokee) represents one of the most Republican districts in Oklahoma currently held by a Democrat. Republicans are committed to defeating him. Luttrell is a former member of the Communications Workers of America Union and serves on the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators.
Maya Torralba (Kiowa) is challenging an incumbent Republican in District 56. A champion of progressive causes, she completed the 2007 INDN Campaign Camp. According to her website:
It is Maya’s personal belief that Native American and Oklahoma values are Progressive values. These include lifting our human brothers and sisters to a higher standard of living; making sure our elders and children live in a safe community; paving a smooth road to educate our future generations; and keeping technology and the environment in a sustainable balance.
Jeff Jones (Osage) is running for District Attorney against a right wing State House member. None of Oklahoma’s 27 District Attorneys at the present time are tribal members. Jones was a member of the Teamsters Union. He got his law degree by going to law school at night.
A Final Note:
Indians have long memories. The forced removed of Indians to Oklahoma was promoted and celebrated by Andrew Jackson, a Democrat. There are some Indians who have never forgiven the Democrats for this. We must continue to show Indian people that Democrats, not Republicans, have their best interests at heart.
An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.