Oklahoma measure transferring American Indian center advances

An Oklahoma Senate committee passed a bill Monday that would abolish the agency overseeing the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, and place the center under the Oklahoma Historical Society.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: February 19, 2013

A state Senate committee approved a measure Monday that would place the agency that is overseeing the half-built American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in downtown Oklahoma City under the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Sen. Greg Treat, author of Senate Bill 511, said his measure calls for the elimination of the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority. The fate of the agency's 11 employees would be up to the Historical Society, he said.

The Historical Society doesn't want the Indian cultural center, said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. Treat, chairman of the Senate General Government Committee, asked committee members to vote for the measure to keep it alive with the hope he could find a state agency willing to take the authority.

The committee voted 6-2 to pass the measure, which now goes to the full Senate.

Blake Wade, executive director of the authority, had no comment about the committee's vote.

Contacted later, Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, said his agency, which collects, preserves and shares artifacts, has a different role than a cultural center, which looks at people and the way they lived.

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