Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton this week announced a history supplement teachers can use to educate students on a recent landmark decision regarding tribal sovereignty in Oklahoma.
“An important part of sovereignty is making sure our story is told and told correctly,” Batton wrote in a blog post this week. “I have been interested in our history for a long time and am pleased to announce the publication of the Oklahoma History Supplemental. “
Batton said the purpose of the post is to allow teachers and schools in the tribe’s 10-and-a-half counties to present and explain a recent landmark Supreme Court ruling.
Supreme Court decision 5-4 found Congress never “unstablished” reserve status for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and overturned state convictions of two men, Jimcy McGirt and Patrick Murphy, who both challenged their state convictions in court. The two men will now face new trials in federal court.
Batton, along with other leaders of the five tribes, believe the analysis used behind the decision will show that their tribes’ reserve status was also never removed.
“This case has reaffirmed Indian rights in eastern Oklahoma and will certainly remain a milestone in the history of the Choctaw people,” Batton said.
According to Batton, the Oklahoma history textbooks currently in use statewide are incorrect.
“They say tribal governments, sovereignty, and reservations ended in 1907. We had to find a way to explain to students why their textbooks say something else,” Batton said. “We have worked with all three textbook publishers and corrections will be made in future editions used in Oklahoma schools. In the meantime, we have a story to tell.
Choctaw Nation Government’s director of public relations Casey Davis said the idea originally came from the government’s public relations office.
“Senior Communications Specialist Bradley Gernand identified the problem with current Oklahoma history textbooks which describe the tribes as dissolved in 1907 when Oklahoma became a state and began working with our departments. education, legal and historical preservation to develop additional history for use in Choctaw Nation reserve schools and in future revisions of Oklahoma history textbooks, ”Davis said.
Gernand said the textbook editors were sympathetic to the story of the Five Tribes at the time of independence and were keen to correct the record.
“The problem, all these years, was not that historians or publishers were indifferent, but that the legal situation was so complex. It took the Supreme Court of the United States to turn it around, ”Gernand said.
Davis said the supplement was important for Oklahoma residents to know the real story.
“We often hear people say that when they think of Native American tribes in Oklahoma, they think we are just running casinos; we at the Choctaw Nation know that there is much more to our history, ”said Davis. “We strongly believe in education, so it is vital to our future that our fellow Oklahomians know our true history.”
The supplements will be available digitally and in printable PDF format, with schools encouraged to review the information and delve deeper into the history taught at the school.
In addition, we worked with the three Oklahoma history textbook publishers approved for use in the state and helped them acquire the historical documentation they needed to update the online content that they needed. ‘they make it available to students,’ Davis said. “It was necessary because the manuals, in general, will not be updated for several years. The State will not review them before 2025. “
According to Davis, the Choctaw Nation was the first of the five tribes to create a supplement and will work with other tribes to produce their own supplement.
“Discussions with the Intertribal Council, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Muscogee and Seminole nations, are in their early stages,” said Davis. “We plan to work with our fellows to ensure that a more accurate and complete history of our tribes is taught in schools in Oklahoma and the United States.”
The online supplement and a link to the PDF version are available at www.choctawnation.com/ok-history-supplemental.
Contact Derrick James at [email protected]