The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes saw a record attendance for the two days of meetings hosted by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation January 8 and 9.
The quarterly meeting saw 529 tribal leaders and representatives from the MSN, Cherokee Nation, Choctaw Nation, Chickasaw Nation, and Seminole Nation along with others from around Indian country.
The Inter-Tribal Council was originally formed in 1949 following various meetings and will be celebrating 65 years next month. The council stopped its annual meetings for a period of time and in 2012, MCN Principal Chief George Tiger and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker brought them back.
“It was a tremendous honor to have over 525 register for this two-day conference,” Tiger said. “This rivals national Native organizations’ annual conference attendance. There were many that didn’t register and the numbers attending signifies the strength the Inter-Tribal Council is gaining regionally and nationally and the impact it has made in being a strong voice for the five tribes.”
The meetings are another way for tribes to come together and discuss significant issues facing Indian country as well as offer an area for collaboration on projects and an idea think tank to tackling obstacles. The meetings also serve as an area to promote the tribes for their programs, departments and services.
The two day meetings included working groups on January 8 that covered topics such as environmental protection, Indian Child Welfare, roads and transportation, language, tribal courts, education, employment and training housing and tribal tourism. The ITC general session was held January 9 and featured announcements by tribal leaders, including Seminole Nation Chief Leonard Harjo, Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby and MCN Chief Tiger.
The ITC also approved 10 resolutions pertaining to all five tribes, including:
—A resolution opposing the proposed rule ‘Definition of “Waters of the United States” Under the Clean Water Act,’
—A resolution requesting consultation with the White House Council on Native American Affairs with Concern to Expansion of Self-Governance Opportunities between federal agencies not included under the Indian Self Determination Act, and Tribal Governments,
—A resolution supporting changes to Oklahoma Statute Recognizing Tribal Domestic Violence Programs, Tribal Batterer Intervention Programs and tribal domestic violence specialists,
—A resolution of the Inter-Tribal Council endorsing and supporting the Oklahoma Native American Juvenile Justice Task Force in developing Memorandum of Understandings between the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs and tribal governmental systems.