Strictly English in Oklahoma

By: Paige Tebow Email
By: Paige Tebow Email

The word 'Oklahoma' is derived from two Choctaw words meaning 'red people.' So it's easy to see why the Choctaw Nation is apprehensive about recent bills on the table in Oklahoma City.

The measure approved Wednesday by the House General Government and Transportation Committee would require official state business to be conducted in English, and official documents, regulations, publications, and meetings to be in English only as well.

Some opponents say the bill is targeted mostly at the Hispanic population but is hurting Native Americans in the process. The bill does however state it should not be used to discourage the use of American Indian languages.

The Cherokee Chief Chad Smith wrote a letter to lawmakers condemning the bill. Choctaw leaders like Terry Ragan echo those sentiments but haven't yet gone to such lengths.

"The cultural diversity of a country, especially the United States, is a melting pot of many nationalities. When you look at the English dictionary, words are borrowed from all languages."

The bill's authors see it as a way to unite citizens of the state and do not feel citizens will have to sacrifice their heritage.


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