Oklahoma Indians criticize English-only measure

Oklahoma tribal leaders and members criticized a bill that would make English the "official" language in a state that is home to more than 30 tribes.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith said the bill makes the state look intolerant. He noted that a picture of Cherokee scholar Sequoyah, who developed the Cherokee syllabary but didn't speak English, hangs in the state Capitol building.

Tribal members who sit on the House General Government and Transportation Committee said the bill sends a bad message. "I think it's a slap in the face to Native Americans," said Rep. Jerry McPeak, a member of the Muscokee Nation, the Associated Press reported.

Despite the objections, the committee narrowly voted 9-7 to approve the bill. Rep. George Faught, the bill's sponsor, said it was aimed at immigrants who speak Spanish.

Get the Story:
American Indians oppose English-only legislation (AP 2/7)

Relevant Links:
Indigenous Language Institute - http://www.indigenous-language.org

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