Oklahoma Tribal Leaders Support OCU's Newly Formed Tribal Sovereignty Institute

Oklahoma tribal leaders and a metro university moved forward on Tuesday in an educational partnership. The next step is to hire an Executive Director for the Institute, which could take about a year.

Tuesday, June 11th 2024, 6:12 pm

By: News 9, Jennifer Pierce


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Oklahoma tribal leaders and a metro university moved forward on Tuesday in an educational partnership.

The Dean of Oklahoma City University's School of Law David Holt, who also holds the title of Mayor of Oklahoma City, announced the formation of the Tribal Sovereignty Institute. The law school in downtown Oklahoma City will house the Tribal Sovereignty Institute.

For more than three decades Oklahoma tribal leaders and representatives have come together for the annual Sovereignty Symposium.

“I would be remised if I didn’t say how proud I am as Mayor to have this event here in Oklahoma City,” said David Holt, Oklahoma City Mayor.

The leaders at the event want the knowledge from the symposium to be offered year-round to the public.

OCU

“We have to be open-minded first to receive education,” said Chief Gary Batton, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

That education will be offered at Oklahoma City University's Tribal Sovereignty Institute.

“This information needs to be put in the hands of policymakers and it needs to be shared with future and current lawyers,” said Holt.

Those who go through the Institute will gain a deeper understanding of American Indian law and tribal history.

“It’s like two states, one doesn’t get over into the other territory,” said Governor Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation. “If they have something to do they come to terms and they work together. The same thing holds true with tribes, even between tribes.”

All the tribal leaders in the room agreed that education is the key to improving relationships in state and federal governments.

“Anytime people can be more knowledgeable about tribal sovereignty and state law and how those come together and how we can unify and form better relationships and better law,” said Batton. “That’s what’s going to be the key to success.”

The next step is to hire an Executive Director for the Institute, which could take about a year.

At some point, the Institute will expand into cultural and language preservation, as well as economic development.

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