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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Charlie Laster
Democratic Floor Leader
Senate District 17
Pottawatomie, Oklahoma and Cleveland Counties

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For Immediate Release: April 15, 2008

Sen. Charles Laster
Sen. Charles Laster

Laster Champions Creation of Cabinet Level Position for State-Tribal Government Issues

 

The Oklahoma State Senate today approved a proposal to establish an office within the Governor’s cabinet to addresses Native American issues and state-tribal relations. Authored by State Senator Charlie Laster (D-Shawnee) the measure calls for the creation of the Secretary of Native American Affairs in the Governor’s office.

Laster said the newly created position would oversee agency consultation and collaboration with the state’s 39 tribal governments and to be in charge of relations between the executive branch and tribal nations.

“The state-tribal relationship is vital for the success of Oklahoma,” Laster said. “Each tribe is a sovereign nation with its own government, traditions, and culture and each tribe has its own unique relationship with the state government of Oklahoma.”

Laster said the measure reflects a commitment to enhance the partnerships between tribes and the state. He said this office will allow tribal leaders more access and more inclusiveness in discussions and processes in the state capitol.

“We are committed to establishing good working relationships with our tribal partners,” Laster said. “We all recognize tribal self-determination and foresee the Secretary of Native American Affairs continuing to enhance the relationship of respect and consultation between the State of Oklahoma and the tribal nations of Oklahoma.”

Laster said the passage was especially poignant today because Osage Nation Principal Chief Jim Gray addressed the members of the State Senate.

There are over 390,000 enrolled tribal citizens in Oklahoma.

For more information contact:
Senator Laster's Office:  (405) 521-5539

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