Published October 22, 2017
DURANT, OKLAHOMA – The Inter-Tribal Council (ITC) of the Five Civilized Tribes represents approximately 750,000 Native Americans, an increase of about 100,000 since 2016, according to the council’s president, Muscogee (Creek) Chief James Floyd. He made the announcement at the group’s final quarterly meeting for 2017.
Chief Floyd said the updated citizenship figure illustrates the Five Civilized Tribes speak for 25 percent of all Native Americans in Indian Country and the number “raises the bar in the work that we need to do to achieve the things that we do,” he said of the ITC’s influence on issues important to all Native Americans.
Member tribes and top leaders include Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby; Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker; Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton; Muscogee Creek Nation Chief James Floyd and Seminole Nation Chief Greg Chilcoat.
Cherokee Chief Baker said the ITC is respected because “we are not only good partners (with Oklahoma), we’re good partners with America and humanity.”
The tribes have sent swift water rescue crews into hurricane ravaged Houston and into Florida, Chief Baker said.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Anoatubby said many of the issues affecting Indian Country across America affect the Five Tribes.
“We have to be in close touch with those things that are happening. You always have changes with a new administration, and every administration has its own priorities and its own method of doing business. We stay in touch with that … all of us. We want to know what’s happening in (Washington) D.C.,” Governor Anoatubby said. “We want to know what kinds of decisions are being made that affect Indian tribes in this country. We’re going to be right up front in defending our interests,” he added.
ITC leaders welcomed its latest member, Seminole Nation Chief Greg Chilcoat. He won election in August to lead the Seminole Nation.
“It is an honor to be here with these fine leaders and this organization,” Chief Chilcoat said.
Six resolutions were passed unanimously by voting delegates. They include:
- Support for the re-election of Joe Byrd, Cherokee, as vice president of the Eastern Oklahoma Region of the Congress of American Indians.
- Support for election of Chickasaw Nation Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel as President of the National Congress of American Indians.
- Opposition to restructuring of the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) by the Federal Highway Administration.
- Support for the nomination of Ronald Etheridge, with Chuck Hoskin as an alternate, to the Bureau of Indian Education Standards, Assessments and Accountability System Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. Etheridge is Cherokee Nation Deputy Director of Education Services with more than 40 years’ experience. Hoskin is Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff and member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
- Asking Congress to include additional funding for the Muscogee Creek Nation Joint Venture Project in Eufaula, and W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah for Cherokees in the 2018-19 fiscal budget.
- Support for the United States Department of Treasury to continue, and increase, funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI); New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) and Community Development Entities (CDE) within Indian Country primary service areas.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.