Oklahoma Gov, Mary Fallin has vetoed a measure that would have moved “Native American Day” in Oklahoma from its current date in November to Oct. 8, which is currently Columbus Day.
As The Tulsa World reports, House Bill 2661 had already passed the state House and Senate by wide margins. The bill was authored by Rep. Chuck Hoskin and Sen. John Sparks, both members of the Cherokee Nation. Hoskins called Fallin’s veto “a slap in the face to the 38 federally recognized tribal governments in Oklahoma.”
In a news release explaining her decision, Fallin said she believed “combining a new Native American Day designation with the current Columbus Day holiday” in October could diminish November’s standing as Native American Heritage Month. In a separate move, the Cherokee Nation has already incorporated the October date as an official tribe holiday.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said moving the holiday “would have been a very simple way . . . to honor the heritage, culture and values of Indian people.”