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Tribal governments ensure Oklahoma’s success (OPINION)

Tribal governments ensure Oklahoma’s success (OPINION)

Pawhuska Journal-Capital
By Principal Chief Bill John Baker
Updated Jul 30, 2019 at 10:44 AM

In a recent op-ed, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt called for a renegotiation of the highly successful tribal gaming compacts, government-to-government agreements that have fueled our home state, public education and job creation for more than 15 years. He argued that new compacts should reflect “market conditions for the gaming industry,” which he implied would set tribes’ payments to the state at a much higher percentage of revenues.

Unfortunately, Gov. Stitt’s approach ignores the history of tribes in Oklahoma and the many contributions made by tribes, including the Cherokee Nation, to our state. The ability of tribes in Oklahoma to thrive as sovereign nations is one of the state’s greatest competitive advantages. It would be a serious mistake for our state government to engage with tribes like we were just any another industry, ignoring our unique economic, cultural and governmental contributions.

Decades before statehood, tribes built Oklahoma’s first modern infrastructure and institutions, establishing settlements that grew into thriving cities and towns and founding the territory’s first public schools and institutions of higher education. The Cherokee Nation’s original Supreme Court building still stands as Oklahoma’s oldest public building, now serving as a history museum... FULL ARTICLE

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