In The Know: Tribal nations press cases for U.S. House delegate | New Oklahoma legislative class sworn in | ICWA vital to Native American heritage

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Policy Matters: Child Welfare Act vital to Native American heritage: The irony is not lost that the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act – one of the most crucial pieces to preserving Indian heritage – during November’s Native American Heritage Month. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Lawmakers sworn into office on Oklahoma Statehood Day: Newly elected and reelected state lawmakers were sworn into office on Wednesday. [Tulsa World]

  • ‘Let’s keep this energy’: With elections past, new Oklahoma lawmakers look to next session [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Oklahoma online portal leads to influx of complaints to state education officials: A new reporting system launched in late October allows Oklahomans to report problems at schools. The new system has led to an increase in complaints, according to the State Department of Education. [KOSU]

Column: Legislative deadlines you need to know: With the elections in the history books, we now know who will be serving in the various political offices in Oklahoma. Congratulations to those who won their races and thank you to those who put their names on the ballot. [The Ada News]

Sen. Jim Inhofe pays tribute to Oklahoma, Senate colleagues as he nears exit: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe bade farewell to the Senate on Wednesday with an address that touched on his fondness for his colleagues, his work on defense and infrastructure issues and his devotion to Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

Gov. Stitt, Sen. Lankford take neutral stands on Trump running in 2024: Oklahoma Republicans still support former President Donald Trump, recent polls show, but two of the state’s top GOP office holders stopped short on Wednesday of endorsing his run for another term. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Congressional hearing considers seating Cherokee Nation delegate: The first steps toward potentially seating an appointed Cherokee Nation delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives were discussed Wednesday by the House Rules Committee. [NonDoc]

Appeals court: Feds have jurisdiction over surface mining: The one question paramount in the case is whether the mining in question takes place on Indian land, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma declared that to be so, according to the appeals court. The law clearly grants the federal government jurisdiction over surface mining in the state, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week. [Journal Record]

Tribal Nations News

The Cherokee Nation was promised a voice in Congress 187 years ago. It may finally happen: The Cherokee Nation was promised a voice in Congress 187 years ago. It may finally happen. [The Oklahoman]

Hoskin ‘quite encouraged’ as Cherokees press case for House delegate: U.S. representatives directed some pointed questions at Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and two Indian law experts during a House Rules Committee hearing Wednesday, but nobody said “no” to the Cherokee Nation’s efforts to seat a nonvoting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. [Tulsa World]

Column: If Indian Child Welfare act is overturned, tribes would face genocide by separation: This month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that could dramatically harm Native American families across the country. [John “Rocky” Barrett Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

District 5 City Council recount to begin today amid hearing on alleged voting irregularities: A judge on Thursday granted District 5 City Council candidate Grant Miller’s request for a manual recount of last week’s election results. According to unofficial results from the Election Board, Miller earned 5,070 votes to incumbent City Councilor Mykey Arthrell’s 5,043 votes — a margin of 27 votes. [Tulsa World]

Even with millions in outside spending, an Oklahoma Democrat couldn’t win a statewide race. Now what?: With former Republican Joy Hofmeister running for governor, Oklahoma Democrats thought 2022 was their year, but it wasn’t. The party now looks to build support outside of cities by shifting focus to down-ballot candidates. [The Frontier]

Health News

Column: Drug pricing program should not be a profit center for contract pharmacies: The 340B program is intended to serve the neediest patients by providing treatments at little to no cost. But some of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and pharmacies are using the program to enhance their own bottom lines at the expense of uninsured and low-income patients. [Peter Pitts Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma prepares to execute man for 3-year-old’s killing: Oklahoma plans to execute a man Thursday for the torture slaying of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son in 1993. [Associated Press]

  • Richard Fairchild set for execution Thursday [KGOU News]
  • Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Fairchild to be executed Thursday [KOSU]
  • Oklahoma prepares to execute man for 3-year-old’s killing [Tulsa World]

Federal jury finds Bristow man guilty in 2018 slaying of Jenks man: A federal jury found a Bristow man guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in Indian Country in a 2018 Jenks fatal shooting. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Students in Beggs attended virtual class for eight days this month while their school had no water: Unreliable access to drinking water has left people in Beggs scrambling for much of the month of November. [KOSU]

Tulsa school board tables redistricting despite Friday deadline for board election resolution: With an election deadline looming this week, Tulsa Public Schools’ Board of Education voted 4-3 Wednesday night to table voting on redistricting. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma State Dept. of Education to review Western Heights after 3 board members resign: Western Heights Public Schools is on the state board of education’s agenda Thursday, days after three district board members, including the president, resigned. [KOCO]

General News

Column: Affordable housing must be made available: It used to be the American Dream, owning a house. World War II ended and a housing boom for the history books began. Without that effort, fueled by government incentives, our perfect suburban image of the ’50s wouldn’t exist. [Sue Catron Guest Column / Tahlequah Daily Press]

Oklahoma food bank demand spiking in metro area as residents are squeezed by inflation: The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, headquartered at 3355 S Purdue Ave., has been a leader in the fight against hunger in central and western Oklahoma for more than four decades. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

Oklahoma City sees the fastest rent increase in the nation: Rent is up across the nation, up almost 9% compared to last year, with a median monthly national rent of more than $2,000, according to But in Oklahoma City, we saw a much steeper increase. OKC had the largest year-over-year increase in the country, with a 24.1% increase in rent compared to last year. [KOKH]

Tulsa City Council approves changes to EMSA agreement: Tulsa city councilors voted 9-0 Wednesday to amend the EMSA trust indenture to allow the authority to provide emergency response services directly rather than through a third-party contractor. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I always say Native American issues aren’t and never should be partisan issues. In this case, it’s an institutional issue. It’s an issue of sovereignty. It’s an issue of trust obligations.”

– Rep. Tom Cole (R), Chickasaw Nation citizen who represents Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District and co-chairs the Congressional Native American Caucus, speaking on the Cherokee Nation’s efforts to seat a nonvoting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


There are 39 Tribal nations in Oklahoma; 38 are federally recognized and one is state-recognized. [Oklahoma Department of Libraries]

Policy Note

Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions: For the first time ever, we know what different groups of Americans — across socioeconomic, racial, geographic, gender and generational cohorts — think (and don’t know) about Native Americans and Native issues. We have learned how biases keep contemporary Native Americans invisible and/or affixed to the past and are holding back Native Americans from achieving political, economic and social equality, as well as accurate and respectful representation. [First Nations Development Institute] | [PDF]

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Hana Saad joined OK Policy in August 2022 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with degrees in Media Studies and English and is part of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. At TU, Hana regularly wrote for The Collegian and was the Co-Editor of the Stylus Journal of Art and Writing. She also serves on the team at Puppy Haven Rescue to help in their mission of saving rescue dogs across Oklahoma. Hana is eager to learn more about public policy in Oklahoma and use her skills to support the OKP work to build a more equitable state. In her free time, she loves to read fiction and poetry, walk her dog, and make copious cups of tea.

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