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Governor Stitt appoints Native American Liaison, nations respond critical

Wes Nofire
Nofire Appointment PKG.png
Posted at 5:48 PM, Sep 05, 2023

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Oklahoma Governor Stitt appointed Wes Nofire to serve as his new Oklahoma Native American Liaison Tuesday.

Nofire is known for being a politician and a former professional heavyweight boxer. He's held a seat on the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council since 2019, even running for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in 2022.

He ran for the Cherokee Nation principal chief position in 2023 but finished third to incumbent Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr..

Nofire has been outspoken against the Supreme Court's McGirt v. Oklahoma decision arguing that every native and non-native person should be treated alike.

Gov. Stitt said he is excited to welcome Nofire to be his liaison:

Wes brings a deep familiarity with tribal governments and people across Oklahoma. His work for the Cherokee government makes him an ideal choice as we build bridges between my office and tribal governments.

Throughout his career, Wes has advocated for fairness for all Oklahomans and has fought against systems that seek to treat people differently based on race or heritage. I am thrilled to have him as a member of my team as we continue to work to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state.

The principal of the Cherokee Nation said he is not surprised by the choice:

Cherokee Nation Statement Stitts appointment

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief Hill shared his thoughts on the appointment:

We have always welcomed a constructive dialogue with the Governor, but I don’t think his staff has been the issue. The Governor sets the direction for his administration, and he has made it clear that his policy is hostility towards tribes and their authority. It’s hard to see one staff appointment changing that. Others have tried and ended up walking away when they found themselves as pawns in the Governor's deceptive campaign.

Nofire spoke to 2 News Wednesday.

"It’s a really good opportunity, and I’m appreciative of the governor and of the state to be able to take this leap and balance forward,” Nofire said.

"He’s hostile to tribal sovereignty. He peddles in unhinged conspiracy theories,” Hoskin told 2 News. "I think the position – there’s some potential to do some good. I don’t have confidence that this governor’s going to use the position in a way that could help inform his understanding. I think he’s going to use it in a way that validates his anti-tribe views.”

"I have always maintained to put differences aside, and point out the truth and uphold it for the citizens," Nofire added. "And my hope is eventually (Hoskin) will do the same so we can focus back on the citizens.”

“These are publicly funded positions," Hoskin said of the liaison position. "And I think the taxpayers of the state of Oklahoma - all the citizens of the state of Oklahoma - need to know who is in this position. And I think tribal leaders need to know my experience, for whatever it’s worth, working with this anti-tribal sovereignty person, Wes Nofire.”

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