‘And at Mvskoke Media, it is our duty to provide citizens with the most information we can on each race. And that is what we’ll be doing.’
Jason Salsman/Multimedia Producer
Decisions, decisions… what’s important to you this election season?
OKMULGEE, Okla. — Election season is upon us and just like the weather, it will be heating up as we move through the month of August and on to the end of summer. The filing date has come and gone and so now we know, at least in name, those who have filed for Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council seats.
And it’s a pretty interesting group as we look at the list. Thirty individuals in all, including a former principal chief, former Council members, military veterans, as well as some who are well known from having been part of various MCN operations in some form or fashion. It’s also interesting to note those not running, as there are incumbents that have chosen not to seek re-election.
But if you’re a Muscogee (Creek) citizen, this election season may seem a little more detailed to you than those held in the past. Sure, a lot of it will be ‘business as usual’ with appearances, yard signs, candidate forums and such. But the coverage of this election and where exactly candidates stand on issues important to the people will be presented in an unprecedented manner.
Such is life under the banner of a free and independent press. It’s something that MCN citizens, employees, officials and even Mvskoke Media have been, and will continue to still be, getting accustomed to. So this year’s election season will be the first we’ve had under these new circumstances.
A couple things to be made aware of when preparing to follow coverage of your candidates is that there will be some content you will be familiar with and some new.
Candidates had the opportunity to answer questions and submit their profiles to the paper, as well as take photos. This year candidates were also given the opportunity to record video profiles discussing specific topics and questions that have been raised from citizens. In addition, for the General Election there will be video debates for each district that will allow the candidates to respond to one another, as well as address additional input that is pertinent to citizens.
And this is a good thing. We’re a better Nation when citizens want to know where their prospective legislators stand on the real issues affecting them. Some would say culture and heritage should be at the forefront of their decision regarding a political campaign.
We’ve even provided coverage of the polarizing topic of blood quantum and it’s relation to our requirements for those wishing to hold office. Some have even said that by lowering blood quantum requirements for candidates, MCN would begin to lose its culture.
But can you really see the connection of losing culture by means of tribal government or involved in something like politics? The ceremonies and churches, the language, the culture should have their rightful place at the forefront of our lives, not necessarily in our politics.
Those have all been here long before tribal government and will be here long after. Nothing political, nor any change in requirement, can eradicate culture, because culture exists within the people. It’s our duty and our responsibility to keep it going, not only with ourselves, but within our children and the future generations.
Keep attending dances, church, singing the songs and teaching the language. There is no way any of that can be stopped because of who your district rep is. Do I want my Council members to have a deep-rooted knowledge of our culture, language and traditions? Absolutely, there’s no way they can appropriately serve the Muscogee (Creek) people if they do not. But is it a wise practice to decide on that alone?
The flip side of that is, the Council handles big business for the tribe. And like it or not, the tribe IS big business. It’s had to be with the rise of the gaming industry and the need to develop in-house revenue because of broken treaties and a steady slashing of government funded tribal programs.
And in Oklahoma, business-wise, tribes are on a grand scale. I’m not the only person that has read of the billions of dollars of impact each year tribes have on the Oklahoma economy, right?
Land acquisition, purchases, job creation through economic development, contracting with outside vendors that want to do business with MCN; all are manners of business conducted in the Mound Building auditorium every month. And for some citizens they may need a little more information than their candidates’ family history or what clan they belong to, to have the confidence in them to make these types of decisions.
But that’s the beauty of a having a voice in our democratic process. Whatever issues are paramount to you, are what you can vote in the polls on. It’s your choice.
And at Mvskoke Media, it is our duty to provide citizens with the most information we can on each race. And that is what we’ll be doing. Should be a lot of fun getting to know these 30 candidates more as we steam towards Election Day. Stay tuned.