MVSKOKE RESERVATION, Okla. – On Thursday, Sept 21 the Intertribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes (ITC) passed a unanimous resolution of no confidence in Wes NoFire. Nofire’s appointment as the Native American Liaison by Governor Kevin Stitt earlier this month drew immediate criticism from state tribal leaders. The vote was taken during a virtual special session of the ITC, it was the only issue on the agenda.
In a statement released after the vote, the ITC said,
“Wes Nofire cannot be an effective advocate for tribes in Oklahoma or act as a bridge between the governor and tribes when he clearly echoes the same anti-tribal rhetoric as the governor. Governor Stitt has proven to be opposed to tribal sovereignty. He has appointed Wes Nofire to simply parrot his views opposing tribes not only as independent sovereigns, but as valued partners in strengthening the state. We can only conclude that Wes Nofire will continue to oppose tribal sovereignty under Governor Stitt’s direction. Therefore, we do not have confidence that he can fulfill the role as Native American Liaison.”
The resolution specifically pointed to Stitt’s history of antagonism toward the tribes within the state. It addressed the governor’s many attempts at reversing the historic McGirt decision and the chaos surrounding his administration’s handling of tribal gaming compacts. Per the resolution,
“Governor Stitt’s record of hostility against tribal sovereignty includes the termination of the state/tribal gaming compacts, refusing to negotiate in good faith on the renewal of the state/tribal hunting and fishing compacts, criticizing the historic McGirt decision, seeking to have the McGirt decision reversed or undermined in subsequent cases… and that the assertion of tribal sovereignty by tribes in Oklahoma was a ‘storm of injustice’.”
The resolution states further that Nofire and Stitt’s shared ethos on tribal matters makes constructive dialogue ineffective.
The ITC is composed of the chiefs and other leaders of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole Nations. The Council was established in 1950, but has roots in the 1842 Inter-Tribal Council of the Deep Fork River. The organization lobbies, campaigns, and supports issues affecting tribal citizens’ social and economic lives.
The full resolution can be viewed here.