National | Politics

Oklahoma governor discussed Indian issues with Donald Trump






Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) is seen here with Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anotubby in October 2014. Photo courtesy Office of Gov. Mary Fallin

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) met Donald Trump on Monday and discussed tribal issues with the Republican president-elect, according to news reports.

The 40-minute meeting took place at Trump's headquarters in New York City on Monday. After returning to Oklahoma, she told reporters that she talked about tribal sovereignty with the incoming president.

"We had a long conversation about the Indian tribes in our state and how very important they are to economic development, about sovereignty issues," Fallin said on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. The Trump transition team also said "Native American affairs" were discussed.

Fallin wasn't immediately offered a job in the Trump administration but said she would consider it, according to the reports. Her name has surfaced in connection with the Department of the Interior, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Indian Gaming Commission. and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians.

In addition to Indian Country, the department oversees energy development, water and public lands and Fallin brought those issues up as well, according to the reports. She also apparently mentioned a water settlement with the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation, which needs the support of the executive branch to become final.

"As far as bureau of Interior, it has so many important duties, whether it is dealing with water issues, tribes, national parks, monuments, fish and wildlife, federal rules and regulations and certainly those are areas that I have worked in," Fallin said, The Oklahoman reported.

The Secretary of the Interior is part of the president's Cabinet. Whoever is nominated must be confirmed by the Senate.

Historically, the post is one of the first few announced by an incoming administration because it ranks high in the line of succession. President Barack Obama announced Ken Salazar on December 19, 2008.

Then-president George W. Bush nominated Gale Norton on December 29, 2000. That was later than expected because his presidency was in limbo until the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and ended a ballot counting dispute earlier in the month.

Trump, however, has not adhered to the tradition so far. Rather than follow Obama and Bush in announcing a Secretary of State, his first Cabinet-level pick was Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) for the Department of Justice.

On Wednesday, Trump announced South Carolina Nikki Haley (R-South Carolina) as his pick for the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The position, which requires Senate confirmation, is considered Cabinet-level but is not part of the Cabinet.

Read More on the Story:
Fallin says Trump visit centered on tribes, energy industry (AP 11/22)
Gov. Fallin shares details from her meeting with Donald Trump (The Oklahoman 11/22)
Gov. Mary Fallin talks about her meeting with Donald Trump (The Tulsa World 11/22)
Fallin Talks About Meeting With Trump (News9 11/22)
Trump nominates S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley to be U.N. ambassador (The Washington Post 11/23)

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