Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — The Native American Caucus has elected state Rep. Dan Kirby (R-Tulsa) and Rep. Chuck Hoskin (D-Vinita) to serve as co-chairs of the caucus for the 53rd Legislature.
State Rep. Anastasia Pittman (D-Oklahoma City) was re-elected to serve as secretary of the caucus.
The purpose of the caucus is to identify and prioritze issues, support the establishment and maintenance of state-tribal communications and policy processes pertaining to sovereignty. Oklahoma has 39 federally-recognized tribes.
“Serving as Co-Chair of the House Native American Caucus is a great honor and a great opportunity,” Hoskin said. “My service in the caucus gives me an opportunity to stay informed and weigh in on issues bearing on the state’s relationship with the sovereign Indian nations within our borders.
“I was fortunate to have served as a Councilman and Deputy Speaker of the Cherokee Nation. Experience tells me that the state and the tribes can accomplish a great deal more as partners than we can alone. We should look for opportunities to work together to build a better quality of life in Oklahoma for all of our citizens. As a Cherokee, it is with great pride that I accept the position of Co-Chair of the House Native American Caucus and I look forward to working with the other members as the legislative session gets underway.”
Kirby, an enrolled member of the Creek Nation, said it was his privilege to serve.
“I am looking forward to working with Representative Hoskin, and I am grateful to the committee for expressing their confidence in me as a leader,” Kirby said. “It is truly an honor and privilege to serve.”
Both co-chairs expressed gratitude for the Native American Caucus’s hard work and state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (R- Moore) and former state Rep. Ken Luttrell (D-Ponca City) for their leadership as co-chairmen of the Native American Caucus in the 52nd Legislature.
Pittman, the second elected member of the Seminole Nation, said she is proud to have served so long as secretary for the caucus.
“I now realize the importance of continuity as I continue my service to the Native American Caucusand the National Caucus of Native American Legislators, established by former Senator E. Kelly Haney,” Pittman said. “Each election cycle, I have been re-elected as the Secretary by my peers. It is truly an honor.”
The caucus held its first 2011 monthly meeting Feb. 8. It was established in 2006 through the foresight of state Rep. Lisa Billy and former state Rep. Shane Jett. The National Council of Native American Legislators was formed in the 1980s and was reformed as the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators in 1992.
“Oklahoma has been taking a lead role in addressing Native American issues for over two decades,” Pittman said. “It was Oklahoma former State Senator and former Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation E. Kelly Haney who founded the national organization.”