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Choctaw Nation creates history supplement for local schools

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - For the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma, history is in the making with the recent Supreme Court ruling. The Choctaw Nation felt it was the best time to correct their history in local school textbooks.

“Somebody needed to correct the record and pretty quick," said Bradley Gernand, Senior Communications Specialist for the Choctaw Nation.

The project sparked after the Supreme Court ruling of McGirt versus Oklahoma in July.

“One of the things that we realized was all of the high school students were gonna start going back to school in August and we wondered what the history textbooks were teaching them," said Gernand.

Gernand and a team with the Choctaw Nation took a look at history books currently used in schools.

“All 3 of them are very sympathetic to the Five Tribes, but they all very clearly state that the tribes and their governments and sovereignty and domain all ended in 1907," said Gernand.

The Oklahoma State Textbook Committee told the nation the books couldn’t be changed for another 6 years, so the nation made their own supplemental course to outline the yesterday, today and tomorrow of the Choctaw Nation.

“The historians helped us figure out what the yesterday aspect was. The communications staff helped us figure out where we stand today. And then our legal team helped us figure out what McGirt, the court case, might mean in the future," said Gernand.

They produced and sent out the 5 page document to all public schools within the Choctaw Nations counties last week.

“We wanted it to be available to everyone within the Choctaw Nation whether they’re tribal or nontribal," said Gernand.

They hope to make this a collaborative effort for all the civilized tribes.

“We’re hoping this will just be a stopgap because our historians would like to approach what we call the Inter Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes and have all five tribes collaborate on a joint document that might possibly come out in about a year’s time," said Gernand.

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