Muscogee Creek Nation

Next week, people will head to the ballot box to vote on whether Oklahoma will expand Medicaid through State Question 802. Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton with Oklahoma Engaged explores the impact expanding Medicaid could have on tribes.

Shane Brown

As a weekend of Juneteenth celebrations and demonstrations approaches in Tulsa, African Americans and Indigenous People are coming together in Oklahoma to show solidarity against racism and police brutality.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation employees returning to work will have a new tool to monitor their health.

Tribal health officials are partnering with RespirCare and HGE Health to provide employees with an app called HGE COVID Care. It will allow them to type in any symptoms they are experiencing. The results will be sent offsite to RespirCare in Tulsa, who will follow up if necessary.

Shawn Terry, the tribe's Secretary of Health, said this app is essential to getting the nation's 900 people to return to work safely.

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Starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Osage Casino Hotel in Tulsa will start a limited reopening.

Only the gaming floor will be open, table games will not be available, food won't be served and bar service will be limited. The hotel and pool will remain closed.

Capacity will be limited to 25% and groups will be restricted to 10 or fewer people. The casino is also encouraging visitors to wear a mask and gloves.

Osage Casinos in Bartlesville, Hominy, Pawhuska, Sand Springs and Skiatook will also open. Osage Casino in Ponca City reopened last week.

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On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court punting on Carpenter v. Murphy last term — a case that would decide whether or not much of eastern Oklahoma is a reservation, the court will take up arguments in a new case on Monday, McGirt v. Oklahoma, that asks the same question.

If the name of this year's U.S. Poet Laureate sounds familiar, that could be because Joy Harjo was also last year's pick for the job. In a statement announcing the reappointment, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden called Harjo "an inspiring and engaging poet laureate," who would "help the Library showcase Native poets from coast-to-coast."

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Updated at 4:34 p.m.

Four of the largest tribes in Oklahoma — the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and the Muscogee Creek Nations — will keep their casinos closed through May 15, saying they are prioritizing their employees and the public's health over the pressure to reopen.

Several Oklahoma Tribes have started to close casinos due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Muscogee Creek and Wyandotte Nations have suspended operations at their casinos. They join the Chickasaw and Cherokee Nation in closing their casinos – all of which will remain closed until the end of March.

The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association is also keeping track of tribes and casinos that are closing operations – including Riverwind and Choctaw Casinos, Absentee Shawnee Tribe and Wichita and Affiliated tribes.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional a bill requiring the top 25 alcohol brands make their products available to all distributors and justices hearing argument from supporters and opponents of an initiative petition to change the way Oklahoma redraws its district lines.

Poet, writer and musician Joy Harjo — a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation — often draws on Native American stories, languages and myths. But she says that she's not self-consciously trying to bring that material into her work. If anything, it's the other way around.