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In The Hoop
MAY 24, 2001

Welcome to In The Hoop, Indianz.Com's occasional column about assorted Indian issues.

Covering Gale Norton
Secretary of Interior Gale Norton made her first public appearance to promote President Bush's national energy policy, an event so important that no one bothered to cover it.

Well, not exactly. The Tulsa World was there and focuses on the thoughts of Oklahoma Congressman Brad Carson (D), who thought Norton's visit was so important he sent one of his aides.

Writes Russell Ray: "The Bush energy plan doesn't do enough in fostering energy conservation, said 2nd District Congressman Brad Carson."

"Carson, though, supports the idea of allowing producers to drill within ANWR and the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountains contain a 10- year supply of proven gas reserves, according to the American Gas Association."

So Carson supports drilling. Still an Oklahoman at heart.

Sticking to the script the DOI provided the media, Kelly Kurt of the Associated Press had this to say about Norton's trip: "President Bush's energy plan, which has been criticized by some environmentalists, calls for increased drilling on public land, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska."

"Norton said she was encouraged to find wildlife and oil wells coexisting here as well as some innovative approaches to solving environmental problems caused by oil production."

"Independent operators pump about 150 barrels of oil a day from the 39,000-acre Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in northeast Oklahoma."

"The Osage Indian Tribe holds the royalties to the oil, and the Nature Conservancy, a private conservation group, manages the land."

No mention of the Osage oil that Chairman Charles Tillman asserted was "good" for the soil. Does tasty Osage oil make bison grow bigger, we wonder?

National Native News filed its own story and quoted Tillman as saying Norton's views on energy development were a breath of "fresh air" for his tribe.

Osage oil does smell fresh, come to think of it.

Missing in Action
In The Hoop eagerly awaits a report on the day's events by Jim Gray, publisher of Native Times, the paper formerly known as the Oklahoma Indian Times. Gray is a member of the Osage Nation and attended the breakfast his tribe put on for Norton early yesterday morning.

But since Gray complained that he didn't get enough "face time" with the Secretary as he was promised, he might slight the Interior with no coverage.

The environmental reporter from the New York Times told In The Hoop he'd file a story today on Norton. We haven't seen it yet. Maybe later?

What, No Fry Bread??!?!?!!
Contrary to rumors running wild through the Internet, the tribe did not feed Norton a breakfast of commodity cuisine. The meal was catered by a place in Tulsa, thank you very much, so powdered eggs, peanut butter, and "meat" were not on this menu.

But sources did tell In The Hoop the meal cost $5,000. A small price to pay to lobby the Secretary in person to place your land into trust. A small price indeed.

Will the real tribe stand up?
Contrary to the assertions of Osage tribal members, Norton's trip wasn't her first to meet a tribe. That is, if you consider the Chinook Nation of Washington an official tribe. Norton met with Chinook leaders back in March as part of her promotion of Lewis & Clark bicentennial planning efforts.

Former Assistant Secretary Kevin Gover reversed a decision made by his predecessor and recognized the tribe on his last day in office in January. But the Quinault Nation is still challenging the decision and continue to oppose the recognition of the Cowlitz Tribe.

Can't we all just get along?

In Your Hoop
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Previous In The Hoops
May 23, 2001 | May 16, 2001 | May 11, 2001 | May 8, 2001 | May 7, 2001 | May 2, 2001 | May 1, 2001 | April 30, 2001 | April 25, 2001 | April 24, 2001 | April 23, 2001 | April 20, 2001 | April 19, 2001