S.E. Ruckman: Oklahoma benefits from Indians
"Karma is a spiritual force that basically means “what comes around goes around.” The theory is that both the good we do and the negative come home to roost. This carries with it a silent admonishment that we should beware lest we become the receiver of some sown misfortune. I am a hearty believer of this psychic boomerang.

So it is with great curiousity that I watch this metaphysical phenomenon unfold in Indian Country. As a reporter fresh out of college, I landed a job at a small southern Oklahoma paper. I was a sponge, ready to absorb any information that would help me write relevant stories.

While in this post, I was informed that I would interview then-Oklahoma representative, Wes Watkins. He was the sponsor of an act that would reinvigorate a near forgotten tax credit for state businesses. Employers who hired Indians with their business on land considered former reservation areas in Oklahoma would get a tax credit for hiring natives.

In essence, companies could benefit from employing Indians. I saw it as a chance for general society to see us as a benefit rather than a hindrance or decoration. My mother was fond of telling us as children, that God made a limited number of Indians and those who knew a native were lucky indeed. I grew up aware of that distinction.

Watkin’s discovery was recognized. Since Oklahoma had many former reservation land areas, employers gained tax breaks from hiring members of federally recognized tribes. From the waitress to the journalist, our employers received a tax break through us.

The benefit for having us around extends beyond tax credits. For example, states Indians reside in receive monies for road improvements and education costs on a formulary basis.

The roads stipend, particularly to Oklahoma Indian tribes, benefit all citizens in a particular county because the improvements are often in common thoroughfare."

Get the Story:
S.E. Ruckman: Nigh time to reap Karma’s harvest (The Native American Times 11/11)

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