From an interview I did to be published by the Humanities Council in Oklahoma, conducted by Harbour Winn. I hope he doesn't mind if a bit appears here:
Many of have dreaded the celebration of the Sooner State centennial. I can understand the organization of the state wanting to celebrate it’s incorporation. Not everyone in the state has cause to celebrate. The state as an entity represents theft and second-class citizenship for many of us. The state came about over land grabs, over broken promises, and in the relatively fresh wake of Cotton Mather’s hatefulness--which is born out again in the Bible belt fundamentalism. And the motto “The Sooner State” has always bothered me. Why is that the state motto? “Sooner State” honors those who jumped the line for first dibs on land claims. They were the quicker thieves. Statehood is really more about gun power, and the ability to takeover and control. We also have a state now that encompasses many communities, many times. There’s a genealogy of sorts. We’re all here. At the center of Mvskoke philosophy is a term: vnvketcv, which is, compassion. You look for the best in any situation, and keep moving about with grace, no matter the trial. We were uprooted from our homeland and moved to Indian Territory, were promised to be left alone, and then here it is again, and not only that, oil is discovered on our allotted lands. It doesn’t end. Now there are genetic patents on our plants, our medicines. Still, we’re dealing with gun power. So it seems to me that to celebrate the centennial means that we celebrating a takeover. The best possible outcome is perhaps a conversation between the citizens of Oklahoma. Has this come about from the centennial? One day there will be that conversation that needs to be had where everybody sits down at the table: Cotton Mather and his people, my people, the eagle, stones, the plants, the winds, all of us. And we will be equal. And everyone’s voice will have a place.