Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Oklahoma

Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 10/11/2021, 4:10 PM
Edited: 10/11/2021, 4:29 PM

(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) Oklahoma tribes and those who support them recognized and celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday. 

Last week, President Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, encouraging the entire nation to recognize and celebrate the country’s Indigenous communities and cultures. 

“Our country was conceived on a promise of equality and opportunity for all people — a promise that, despite the extraordinary progress we have made through the years, we have never fully lived up to,” Biden said. “That is especially true when it comes to upholding the rights and dignity of the Indigenous people who were here long before colonization of the Americas began.” 

After a surge of support from the Supreme Court, who last year declared a large part of Oklahoma was technically still Native American land, tribal nations are experiencing a level of open hostility from the State of Oklahoma not seen in more than a century. 

Following the Supreme Court’s McGirt v. Oklahoma decision, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and the Attorney General’s Office have worked tirelessly to fight, overturn and/or limit the ruling. 

On the reverse, some Native American tribes believe this is an important opportunity to right decades’ worth of jurisdictional wrongdoing by the state. 

In 2019, Stitt signed a bill that designated the second Monday in October as Oklahoma Native American Day.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, he has made no mention of it on social media or through his press room, of which his most recent activity pertains mostly to the recent OU/Texas game or the US/Mexico border. 

The Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma unanimously passed a resolution that rescinded Resolution No. 19-07 (Commending and Congratulating Governor-Elect Kevin Stitt as a Tribal Citizen Elected to Serve as the Governor of Oklahoma) at their Quarterly Inter-Tribal Council meeting last week. 

“We can no longer support the lack of cooperation and general tone from the Governor’s office regarding tribes exercising their sovereignty,” Muscogee Principal Chief David Hill announced via Facebook. 

Hill was present for the 33rd Sovereignty Symposium in Oklahoma City Monday, held virtually to the public. 

Other opportunities to celebrate include a full lineup of free outdoor events at OKC’s First Americans Museum, with $5 discounted admission to the museum exhibitions, and Tulsa Native American Day’s virtual "Rise to Resilience” event


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