Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY – The 29th annual Sovereignty Symposium will be held in Oklahoma City June 8 and 9, 2016 at the historic Skivin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.
The symposium was established under the leadership of Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Yvonne Kauger, “to provide a forum in which ideas concerning common legal issues can be exchanged in a scholarly, non-adversarial environment. The Supreme Court espouses no view on any of the issues, and the position taken by the participants are not endorsed by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma.”
Participants for the Sovereignty Symposium can register online by following the simple instructions on the Registration page, on the website, at http://www.thesovereigntysymposium.com/. The agenda and other information is available at the same website.
This year's provocative theme for the symposium is “Everything Changes.” The symposium for 2016 is “dedicated to the life and work of Alice Hayes, longtime symposium treasurer, and attorney G. William Rice, University of Tulsa law professor.
The wide range of speakers, both tribal and non-tribal, include Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Jay Williams, United States Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Secretary of State Chris Benge, state Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, David Nimmo (executive offider for Chickasaw Nation Industries, former state Sen. Kelly Haney, a Democratic, state Capitol Photographer Stu Ostler, attorney Brett Lee Shelton (Native American Rights Fund), Cheyenne and Aparaho Education director Gordon Yellowman, and attorney Richard Grellner, long active in sovereignty issues.
Other speakers include Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice John Reif, Oklahoma Bar Association President Garvin Isaacs, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Assistant U.S. Attorney Arvo Mikkanen, former Association of Chiefs of Police director Jim Cox, artist D.G. Smalling, Sheila Morago of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association and this writer.
Subject-matter panels will include economic development, symbols and photographs, truth and reconciliation, ethics, education, criminal law, juvenile law and children's issues, defense law, sacred spaces, mutual concerns of the bench (federal, state and tribal), new voices in Native American literature, and gaming.
A large number of Native American tribes are represented among the panelists, including Osage, Oneida, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), Kaw, Euchee, Wyandotte, Comanche, Kowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Oglala Sioux, Yuchi and Seminole.
A highlight of the proceedings will include a showing of the restored silent film classic, “Daughter of the Dawn.” Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, will moderate the evening at the Oklahoma Judicial Center.