Oklahoma Republican House Representative George Faught, of Muskogee, wants English to be the language of Americans—or at least of Oklahomans. He has introduced a bill to that end: HB 1423, the "Oklahoma English Language Act", which requires that all business of the state be conducted in English, made it through committee on February 7, 2007.
It's not nearly the powerful kind of language law that was passed in California—a state that has one of the three highest Indian populations in the United States (though many of the Indians have moved there from other states). [VDARE.COM note: Or from Mexico.]
Furthermore, the bill expressly states:
"Nothing in this section shall be construed to diminish the usage of, prevent the study or development of, or discourage the use of, any Native American language in any context or for any purpose."
Yet Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith [send him mail] said he opposes the bill because it casts Oklahomans as isolationists who reject different cultures. "This creates an image of how Oklahoma will represent itself to the rest of the nation and the world", Smith said. Smith said state government should be encouraging people to broaden their knowledge and learn as many languages as they can. He called the bill "a slap in the face of American Indians". . [English-only bill advances House panel By Jennifer Mock, Oklahoman, February 8, 2007.]
FoxNews reported that George Tiger, a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and chairman of the United Indian Nations of Oklahoma, said tribal governments support school language preservation programs that could be harmed by the measure [American Indians Urge Oklahoma State Lawmakers to Oppose 'English Only' Measure, February 09, 2007 ]
But how? Didn't the tribal leaders read the bill?
Smith stated: "Our great state has been blessed with more than 35 Indian nations, each of which has a unique culture. Part of that culture comes from the richness of native languages, which have been spoken here for centuries before Oklahoma became a state."
Spoken centuries before statehood. Still spoken today. Therefore, protected by HB 1423.
Indeed, Smith's statement is itself the evidence that there is no relation between HB 1423 and the use of American Indian language. What he claims as reason to protest is precisely reason not to be concerned.
It's just Democrat, Leftist paranoia at work again.
Similarly, Rep. Jerry McPeak, Democrat, says: "I'm embarrassed to be a part of a Legislature that takes part in legislation like this." McPeak, a member of the Creek tribe, said "I am sure that this piece of legislation is nothing more than political fluff, designed to scare people."
Why on earth would any American Indian leaders object to legislation affirming that English is the language of the United States? Indians have been speaking English for some 300 years now. Are these Indian leaders seriously worried that such legislation will have any affect whatsoever on Indian language and culture of the two hundred Indian languages still spoken today?
This Oklahoma legislation is simply about preventing illegal aliens—Mexicans—from defacing American culture. It has nothing to do with American Indians.
English-only legislation has been provoked by the 7 to 20 million mostly Spanish-speaking people illegally immigrated to the United States. Altogether, there an estimated 40 to 50 million such speakers in the US. Many of them are bilingual. But an increasing number are not. And the hordes of Latino illegal and legal immigrants currently coming to the America often don't speak English. As a result, these days getting a job increasingly requires that the applicant has some knowledge of Spanish. Certain far-sighted leaders in America think this is a wrong trend. They want to correct it. They are right.
Unfortunately, to the liberal Democratic way of thinking, all non-white people are alike, with the same interests. That's another George Soros specialty, as lately manifested through Robert Redford's Sundance Institute, which Soros funds. They are bragging about how they have made the "Native American Initiative" film department into a racist vortex for Asians, Africans, Pacific Islanders, and homosexuals.
No sir! As an Indian—not a "Native American"—I definitely think "English Only" is a good thing.
It means I'm Indian, not Mexican. I'm Comanche, not Maori! I'm a man, not a herded animal.
Dr. David A. Yeagley [email him] is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, Elgin, Oklahoma. His articles appear in TheAmericanEnterprise.com, FrontPageMagazine.com, and on his own Web site BadEagle.com, and he is a regular speaker for Young America's Foundation. David Yeagley's columns for VDARE.COM include An American Indian View of Immigration, and To Deport or not to Deport. David Yeagley is the author of Bad Eagle: The Rantings of a Conservative Comanche.