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Oklahoma Bill Requiring Better Student Tribal Data Collection Signed Into Law

The Oklahoma State Capitol
Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange
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The Oklahoma State Capitol

A new bill that would require the Oklahoma State Board of Education to collect student tribal affiliation was signed into law by Governor Kevin Stitt last week.

House Bill 1104 amends the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act to include tribal affiliation for students identified as having American Indian heritage.

According to the bill's author, Rep. Mark Vancuren (R-Owasso), collecting this kind of data will help schools meet the needs of their Native American students.

Information about tribal affiliation is important when schools apply for federal funds to support things like The Johnson O'Malley program, which helps Native students enrolled in public schools.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. said his nation has been pushing for this addition.

"Having better data is a better way to inform public policy," Hoskin, Jr. said.

Cherokee Nation recently donated more than six million dollars to Oklahoma public schools. The donations were based on the concentration of Cherokee Nation students.

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Allison Herrera is a radio and print journalist who's worked for PRX's The World, Colorado Public Radio as the climate and environment editor and as a freelance reporter for High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs desk.
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