Chief discusses growing influence in city
TULSA, Oklahoma — Jovial cries rang out after a resolution from City of Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum proclaimed every second Monday in October to be Native American Day.
“Thirteen months ago, we made a commitment that the City of Tulsa would celebrate and recognize our Native American history heritage and traditions,” Chief Resilience Officer DeVon Douglas read on behalf of Bynum, who was unable to attend the event.
The resolution recognized the ‘invaluable contributions to our community through shared knowledge, stewardship of the lands, labor, science, technology, philosophy, arts and deep cultural influence.’
In its second year, the event held Oct. 8 at the Guthrie Green had representation from various tribal nations including Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
During the ceremony tribal leaders, including MCN Principal Chief James Floyd, were presented with the publicly adopted Tulsa flag as a gift from the city.
Floyd said he had observed this year’s gathering as much larger than the inaugural event last year.
“It’s a great gesture of recognition,” he said.
When asked about the rapport MCN has with the city, he discussed the tribe’s growing influence.
“The interest within the tribes is growing. The interest in our history and our culture is also increasing,” Floyd said. “I think it’s an opportunity for us.”
Recently, the Tulsa Public Schools system renamed Lee Elementary School to Council Oak Elementary School and Floyd said he thinks the interest is also there to incorporate Muscogee (Creek) history and culture into TPS course work.
He said River Spirit Casino and Resort has also allowed the tribe’s presence to grow.
“It recognizes our ability to bring the issues to the table…and be a part of the discussions early on,” Floyd said.
According to the resolution, IPD was first proposed in 1977 during the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations.