Gary Fife/Radio Specialist
NCAI issues, Warren again, truck driving champ, Native Day
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The lawsuit that determines the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s level of control over a big chunk of Oklahoma will be going before the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments Nov. 27.
It’s all a fight over whether or not a murder case should have been tried in state court contingent on if the crime occurred on tribal land. The defense attorney argues that Congress never dissolved the Creek ‘reservation,’ so the State of Oklahoma had no jurisdiction.
It goes on and on from there. Now, to the high court, which has just had a new Justice seated that may have anti-tribal feelings, according to his record of decisions.
Now, while this is going on….
Looks like the top Native American lobbying group, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) gets its turn in dealing with accusations of sexual harassment and problems with management.
‘Indian Country Today’ and other news agencies reports the top lawyer, John Dossett had been let go as the attorney for the organization.
Now, its Executive Director, Jacqueline Pata has been put on administrative leave for the way the problem has been handled and a perceived ‘keep it quiet’ attitude. Some current and former NCAI staff charged Dossett with sexual harassment and creation of a hostile work place.
NCAI has had its problems in the past and has actually removed executive management before. That includes another Alaska Native man and a 2014 holder of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
I’ve worked for NCAI in years past and watched the highly charged political atmosphere that Natives have to work in. Both staff and visiting tribal people have to ‘dance’ very carefully where a single mistake could be very costly.
Too many times, elected leadership has had to sacrifice time and energy working for their own tribes in favor of working for the organization and its battles on Capitol Hill. Tough choice on how to spend your time.
Now is probably a real bad time for NCAI to have to deal with this internal conflict.
Is she or is she not?
Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has taken a DNA test that shows she does have some Native American ancestry; something she has mentioned in the past. However, there’s nothing specific regarding how much. That has been the basis for the red-haired current occupant of the White House’s mockery of her with the epithet ‘Pocohantas.’
What’s more, that guy declared he would give million dollars to a charity if Warren took a test and it showed she did have a Native ancestor. After the test, the guy welched and denied that he said that, even with TV news coverage showing us that he did.
Locally, the news media has reported that the Cherokee Nation ‘blasted’ Warren for claiming possible Cherokee heritage. No such animal. The tribe did say that a DNA test did not prove citizenship and never did.
How about a bit of happy news?
Oklahoma Cherokee Actor Wes Studi has received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Indian Gaming Association according to the White Wolf Pack website.
“I accept this award, but I wonder what is in my future by accepting this lifetime achievement award,” joked Studi as he spoke about the importance of more American Indians becoming involved in the acting profession.
He said movie making should be a means for economic development. Makes sense to me, after all, Hollywood has been making millions off Indians for years.
Way to go Wes!
Speaking of awards, a Navajo woman is now ‘Grand Champion’ of this year’s New Mexico Truck Driving Championship for the Twin-Trailer Division and the Overall Grand Champion says an article in ‘Indian Country Today.’
Mercy Sakes Alive! Loretta Bruyere was actually rejected in many previous tries to get a job truck driving, but she kept at it.
“I wanted to show young women, and particularly Native American women, that no job was too big or challenging that it couldn’t be done by a woman,” she said.
She added that one of her favorite things is when she steps out of her semi-truck and sees the, “surprised looks from other drivers at a petite woman operating one of the largest vehicles on the road.”
Bruyere is currently gear jamming on a 28-foot twin trailer with an 80,000 pound capacity.
Wow, that makes me feel like my little GMC pick-up is a roller skate in comparison.
Hope you had a great ‘Indigenous Peoples Day’ or ‘Native American Day’ or whatever you want to call it.
In Creek Country, there was a celebration in Tulsa, one here in Okmulgee and numerous other cities around the U.S.
The Tulsa mayor didn’t make the one there, but the Okmulgee mayor was there in Okmulgee.
At least they had one, although there wasn’t much talk of replacing ‘Columbus Day’ or creating another day off work.
It looks like they had a great one in Los Angeles. It was a day of activities and musical concerts, including the Black Eyed Peas, whose member ‘Taboo’ has Shoshone and Hopi ancestry.
An appearance by the Native band Redbone rounded out the day. I’m sure that included the newly again popular tune, ‘Come and Get Your Love.’
OK, once again girls….all together now….“ooo, My Song!”
We’re all looking ahead to the Thanksgiving holiday. Should we? Or should we work on that name, too? Perceptions of that holiday are changing as we learn more about “Who’s Coming to Dinner.”
Anyway, enjoy, eat lots of Penwv–turkey.
Hvtvm Cehecares (I’ll see you again).