Oklahoma tribes hopeful after Obama victory
Oklahoma tribes see positive changes coming under president-elect Barack Obama.

Osage Nation Chief Jim Gray said "every issue" is open for discussion in an Obama administration. "I think this is an exciting time for tribal leaders around the country," he told The Tulsa World. "They may have gotten cynical or lost interest in the hope that the United States government could be a force for change in a way that can really help people in a more healthy way. Obama represents the possibilities."

Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith predicted Obama would be a "good" president several months ago after the candidate supported the tribe's stance in a citizenship dispute. "For us, the principle we believe that Sen. Obama adheres to is to respect tribal sovereignty and let us exercise self-governance," Smith told the paper. "If his appointments adhere to the same principles, we should be in pretty good shape."

Muscogee Nation spokesman Thompson Gouge said his tribe is looking forward to having a voice at the White House, where Obama has promised to appoint a high-level Indian adviser, and at other agencies. The biggest positions include Secretary of the Interior, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service Director and National Indian Gaming Commission members.

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Tribal leaders are hopeful after Obama's victory (The Tulsa World 11/6)

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