The Treaty of New Echota, which is the treaty that led to the removal of the Cherokees to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears, says: “The United States hereby covenants and agrees that the lands ceded to the Cherokee nation in the forgoing article shall, in no future time without their consent, be included within the territorial limits or jurisdiction of any state or territory.”

The government later reinterpreted “in no future time"  to mean for about 78 years, which is obviously wrong and dishonest by any assessment. Just one of 13 treaties the U.S. signed then later ignored.

Today, Gov. Kevin Stitt says that “shall automatically renew for 15 years,” actually means “shall not renew until Oklahoma extracts more money from the tribes”. Again, it’s wrong and dishonest.

I am amazed that an Oklahoma governor is attacking our tribes. If the state is truly hurting for revenue there are better choices. In the Dec. 22 Tulsa World, Wayne Greene details how economically stupid it is for Oklahoma to turn its back on Medicaid expansion, which could introduce hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending to our economy each year, while generating approximately 5,000 new jobs ("Missing the deal of the century"). Medicaid expansion in Montana reduced crime, improved health and prevented 50,000 bankruptcies.

Sounds like a better deal to me than declaring a totally unjustified war on our tribes that employ thousands of taxpaying Oklahomans and contribute to our state's economy in so many ways.

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Send letters to letters@tulsaworld.com.


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Editorial Pages Editor

Wayne is the editorial pages editor of the Tulsa World and a political columnist. A fourth-generation Oklahoman, he previously served as the World’s city editor for 13 years and as a reporter at the state Capitol of four years. Phone: 918-581-8308