Five more tribes are asking the state Legislature to repeal a law intended to limit instruction on race, gender and history.
At the quarterly meeting of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes in Durant on Friday morning, leaders from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee and Seminole nations voted unanimously to call not only for the repeal of House Bill 1775 but also for the Oklahoma State Department of Education to refrain from enforcing the law’s provisions until the Legislature can either repeal the law or change it.
“Students deserve to learn accurate history, even the uncomfortable parts,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “House Bill 1775 is a solution in search of a problem. It derails the progress Oklahoma has made to teach the full, complex history of our state’s relationship with Native American tribes.”
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Passed in 2021, HB 1775 prohibits teaching that one race or sex is inherently superior to another and that anyone, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Consequences for failing to comply with HB 1775 include the downgrading of a school district’s state accreditation status and the suspension of the license or certificate of involved school employees.
Alleged HB 1775 violations in Tulsa and Mustang recently led to the downgrading of those school districts’ state accreditation. TPS’ attendance area is split among the Cherokee, Muscogee and Osage reservations.
When reached Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Department of Education declined to comment on the resolution.
The Inter-Tribal Council’s move comes one week after the Osage Nation Congress unanimously approved a resolution also calling for the law to be repealed. Legislators with the Pawhuska-based tribe specifically cited concerns about the chilling effect the law has had for teachers when it comes to covering certain topics, including the Osage Reign of Terror, when Osages were systematically killed by non-Osages for their oil money in the 1920s.