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Indian Times: Patricia Spottedcrow To Get Early Release (Jul 23, 2012)

     As reported on KFOR T.V. , Governor Fallin has signed off on an early release for the Kingfisher mom who sparked a nationwide debate about women in prison and the incarceration of convicts for non-violent offenses. In 2010,  Patricia Spottedcrow, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation, and a mother of four young children, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling $31 of marijuana. Spottedcrow, who had no previous arrest record,  has been imprisoned at the Dr. Eddie Warrior  Correctional Center for 19 months. Last year, a judge reduced her sentence to eight years.  The case drew the attention of  local Native American activist groups such as S.P.I.R.I.T, the Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties and the local chapter of the NAACP.  When Spottedcrow’s conviction came to national attention, The Maryland-based nonprofit Criminal Justice Policy Foundation began inquiring about how best to help, and at least three Facebook pages, an online petition and a Twitter account were established to help spread the word about her story. Earlier this year the Pardon and Parole Board agreed to take a closer look at the Spottedcrow’s case and in April, the Board recommended early release. This week, the Governor signed off on Spottedcrow’s release, with one important exception: 120 days of work-release. Spottedcrow’s attorney, Laura Deskin said “This week the Governor finally did the right thing, this woman did not deserve to be in prison twelve years.” Patricia Spottedcrow will be transferred from Eddie Warrior Prison in the next few weeks, but it will be at least four months before she can live with her kids again. Her children are 2, 3, 5 and 10 years old.  Her mother, Dalita Starr, who was present in the home at the time of the sale and was given a 30 year deferred sentence,  has been taking care of her grandchildren.  She works in a gas station and is slowly paying off the more than $8000 dollars in court fines and fees.  Attorney Laura Deskin said. “There are many other Patricia Spottedcrows out there. There are many other mothers serving long sentences. There is a lot of work to do.”  Oklahoma is number one in the incarceration of women.

     On July 17th, the U.S. Senate passed by unanimous consent, House Resolution 205, the Helping Expedite Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act, otherwise known as HEARTH, which authorized surface leasing of tribal lands without needing to obtain direct approval from the Secretary of the Interior.  Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians said that “the HEARTH Act had strong bi-partisan support.  Its unanimous passage demonstrates that Congress can make progress on important legislation for Indian Country to help create jobs and improve the economy.  The HEARTH Act allows tribal leases to be approved by the tribe under tribal leasing regulations.  The law will enable tribes to move much more quickly on leasing and economic development, while maintaining the Secretary’s trust responsibility to oversee trust lands.

     The contribution and impact of the Chickasaw Nation on the economy of Oklahoma exceeds $2.4 billion dollars, according to an economic impact analysis released today by the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University.  The report, entitled ”Estimating the Oklahoma Economic Impact of the Chickasaw Nation,” was funded in part by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and several Native American tribal governments to quantify the impact of tribal activities on the economy of the state of Oklahoma.  Kyle Dean, associate director and research economist at the Oklahoma City University Meinders School of Business said “the results are nothing short of impressive, and that they show that the Chickasaw Nation’s economic activities and enterprises strongly bolster the state economy.  The analysis indicates the Chickasaw Nation’s business enterprises generate $1.39 billion in annual revenue and support 16,000 direct and indirect tribal and non-tribal jobs, many in rural Oklahoma where steady jobs are not as plentiful.”

Upcoming native events for next weekend, July 27th-29th :

Oklahoma City Powwow Club’s Indian Hills Powwow, 9300 North Sooner Road, OKC, OK. For more information call Yonavea Hawkins at 405-919-1572 or yonovea@yahoo.com

60th Annual Tulsa Powwow, Spirit Bank Event Center, Tulsa, OK . For more information go to www.tulsapowwow.org.

 Kihekah Steh 43rd Annual Powwow, 193rd St North & Javine Hill Road (52nd W. Ave.), Skiatook, OK.  Stomp Dance after powwow on Saturday night.  For more information call Donna Phillips at 918-381-7996 or dkphillips2002@gmail.com.



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