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'Focus: Black Oklahoma': tribal tax exemptions, long COVID, Black excellence in Claremore

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This episode of Focus: Black Oklahoma features reports on tribal tax exemptions, new data on the long-term effects of COVID and Black excellence being showcased in an exhibit at the Claremore Museum of History.

We start this episode with taxes! The tax code is complicated, and the fiscal impact of the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision on the state tax collection is also complicated. Dawn Carter has the story on how tribal tax exemptions are impacting state funded programs.

We continue discussing Native American nations in our next story. Allison Herrera tells us about the traumatic experiences of Indian Boarding schools, painfully brought to light in a one of a kind event in Anadarko. The testimonies are putting former boarders firmly on the road to healing.

Next, we revisit local nurses and new data on the long-term effects of COVID, specifically on the health of Black people — which is significant. A lack of mental health services and patient advocates are just some of the real concerns across North Tulsa and similar communities. Nick Alexandrov has the story.

Juddie Williams has our next story: Freedom of speech is a constitutional right that still requires protection so that people can express their political views as fully as possible. Williams brings us a story about two organizations whose sole purpose is to protect our civil liberties.

Listen in as queer farmers find community through an event called Queer Farmer Convergence. Catherine Wheeler shares just how important it is to be seen, heard, and challenged by your peers.

It’s hard not to recognize that Black people and their contributions have touched every part of Oklahoma, and Claremore is no exception. From Olympians to successful businessmen, Claremore has a long history of Black excellence that is now being showcased in the Black History exhibit at the Claremore Museum of History. Carlos Moreno brings us the details.

We end with an audio diary from musicians who recently performed at the Woody Guthrie Center. Crys Matthews and her wife Heather Mae graced the stage, singing songs from each of their prestigious careers, love songs they wrote for each other, and each debuting a new song for what the couple called a small but mighty audience. As the crew broke down the stage, Matthews took some time to speak about being on the road again playing music. She is a rising star in the folk music world, winning the Lincoln Center New Music competition in 2017, and recent awards at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, and the International Folk Music Awards. A preacher's kid from small town North Carolina, Matthews talked about the themes in her music of love, faith, civil rights, and social justice.


Focus: Black Oklahoma is produced in partnership with KOSU Radio, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and Tri-City Collective. Additional support is provided by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

Our theme music is by Moffett Music.

Focus: Black Oklahoma’s executive producers are Quraysh Ali Lansana and Bracken Klar. Our producers are Nick Alexandrov and Vanessa Gaona. Our production interns Perla Mauricio, Torren Doss, and Smriti Iyengar.

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