OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Tribal leaders across Oklahoma are calling on lawmakers to overturn three bills that were vetoed by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
SB 429 would have stopped schools from banning students from wearing Native American regalia during graduation and school functions.
In Stitt’s veto message, he said schools should be able to set their own dress codes.
“In other words, if schools want to allow their students to wear tribal regalia at graduation, good on them; but if schools prefer for their students to wear only traditional cap and gown, the Legislature shouldn’t stand in their way,” the veto message reads.
Stitt argued that by allowing Native American students to wear symbols of their culture, it could lead to other dress-code violations.
“Should this bill become law, the proverbial Pandora’s box will be opened for other groups to go over the heads of local superintendents and demand special favor to wear whatever they please at a formal ceremony,” his veto message reads.
Now, the elected leaders of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole Nations call on the Oklahoma Legislature to overturn that veto.
The leaders also asked the Legislature to overturn Stitt’s vetoes of Senate Bill 299 and House Bill 2608.
SB 299 prevents the expiration of the Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education. HB 2608 clarifies that sex offenders residing within reservations must register with tribal law enforcement, in addition to state and other local law enforcement agencies in the area.
The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes say before being vetoed, all three bills were approved by large super-majorities in the Oklahoma House and Senate.
“These bills show what productive partnership between Tribal Nations and the State of Oklahoma can and should look like: collaborating to protect religious and cultural freedom, respect families, improve education, and keep communities safe from sex offenders. The Oklahoma Legislature should swiftly overturn the Governor’s vetoes,” a release by the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes.