The Edmond Sun

Opinion

March 7, 2014

CONSIDER THIS: Why does American Indian Cultural Center matter?

EDMOND — We can fulfill an obligation to our Native American brethren, cultures, histories and ourselves by completing the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.

More than that, we lift up Oklahoma. The center, to be built in Oklahoma City, is a needed statement recognizing Oklahoma’s Native American heritage. Commend Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, for his passionate fight in the Senate for the passage of a bill earmarking $40 million for the center, to be matched by private sector funds. With passage by the House, the project can be opened by 2017. Support its passage.

It is past time for such a center honoring Native American tradition and culture. Building the center is important. Economically, it will benefit Oklahoma and tourism with national impact.

Significantly, it will stand as a living monument for our Native American tribes and peoples. Telling their stories is a powerful testament to their courage, struggle and survival. Their stories are part of all our stories as Oklahomans and Americans.

The center will be a showcase to the power of Oklahoma’s blended history shaping a major part of our state’s economic future. For those of us of Native American descent, it is a tribute to the legacies of our families.

The name of our great state originates from the Choctaw language. Oklahoma means “red people.” Oklahoma’s history is intertwined with the 39 federally recognized Indian tribes calling Oklahoma home. Once this was to be their land forever. Set aside as Indian Territory for tribes being pushed from original, sacred homelands.

Both of my tribes, Delaware and Cherokee, were moved far from their eastern homes. Indian Territory was to be these peoples’ final, undisturbed domain. But with a pattern continuing from the first days of the Republic, treaty after treaty was broken.

Resulting in removal, native people experienced unprecedented hardships and their power diminished. This chapter is at once tragic but inspiring and profound and a testament to courage.

The tribes, forced here as a part of 19th-century American Indian policy, had no connection to Indian Territory. The Trail of Tears was a reality for all of the proud ancestors of Oklahoma’s Native Americans.

With statehood, the promise of undisturbed homelands vanished. The tribes were to vanish and “assimilate” into the greater American society. Yet now the tribes are flourishing again. It is nothing short of a triumph of will to survive and hold onto cultures and traditions centuries old.

Independent governments regained prominence as powerful economic engines. The center will preserve their past legacy, art, culture, traditions and beliefs that are the fabric of Oklahoma. It will honor their present achievements.

Importantly, tribes contribute $12 billion annually to our economy employing more than 50,000. Tribal industries include gaming, healthcare, transportation and defense. They contribute to education, roads and infrastructure.

They are good neighbors.

State government has been slow to embrace partnerships with tribal governments.

Unique assets to Oklahoma partnerships can strengthen the state. The center can help build overdue bridges for Oklahoma’s future.

Native American stories need to be told and culture and heritage lifted up. Support the center. It is the right thing to do.

PHIL BUSEY, an Edmond resident, is chairman and CEO of The Busey Group of Companies in Oklahoma City.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results