Citizenship – Blood Quantum
My father, Elliot Bim Bruner, was a full blood Creek and my mother, Leda V. Burgess Bruner was half blood. Their two sons, me and Danny, are ¾ Creek. I am a Muscogee citizen because my mother whispered it in my ear when I was a baby, not because my CDIB says so. My mother was no less Creek than me and Danny. No one loved her tribe or worked harder for her people than my mother. It really is that simple. Blood quantum is not the Creek way. Blood quantum was forced upon us by the federal government. Blood quantum was intended to erase our very existence, to wipe us out and many in our tribe have been taken in by this divisive policy. We are the only race of people that have to “register” our genetic blood quantum with the federal government.
Our Constitution sets up different classes of people in the Muscogee Nation. We literally have people with different colors of cards based on whether they are “full citizens” of our Nation.
If you are a full citizen, meaning ¼ blood or more, then you are good enough to run for National Council, Chief or Second Chief. But, if you are not a full citizen, meaning your CDIB card states that you possess less than ¼ degree of Muscogee blood, then you are quite simply, deemed not good enough to run for or hold office.
While some hold the belief that “You are good enough to vote for me, but not good enough to serve with me,” I do not. I am asking all Muscogee citizens, regardless of your blood quantum, to vote for me as your chief. And, when elected, I will immediately seek and support an amendment to our Constitution to eliminate classes of citizens and ensure that all Muscogee citizens are treated equal.
Economic Development – Business Diversification
The Muscogee Creek Nation commands the best opportunity for economic development and business diversification in the Tulsa metro area. Geographically, we are better positioned than the other two tribes who share a tiny slice of the Tulsa metro market, with MCN’s reservation boundaries encompassing almost the entirety of downtown Tulsa. And, we have tremendous growth opportunities throughout the other ten counties in the Nation.
Education – Scholarships – Job Training
Right now, when a Creek citizen applies for an educational scholarship, the application form states that they may be granted the scholarship “If Funds Are Available.” This has always infuriated me. The Chief submits his or her budget to the National Council and they ultimately hold the purse strings. As Chief I will submit a budget that will ensure that every Muscogee Creek citizen that wants to better themselves through education or job training receives help.
Freedom of the Press
There has been much dissension, rightfully so, over the current Chief and National Council’s actions this last year in eliminating a free and independent newspaper in the Muscogee Nation. To be crystal clear, as your chief I will introduce legislation that creates a Free Press Act that removes the newspaper from supervision or oversight in any way by either the Chief or the National Council. The Mvskoke Media should report on all newsworthy issues of concern to our people and do so without fear of losing their jobs or being censored.
The health of our people is the very survival of our people. When we or a loved one is suffering from poor health, it affects the entire family. Too often people lose their jobs, their cars, their homes and their lives. As your Chief I will take every step possible to ensure that the health needs of our people are met, that patient wait times are reduced, that critical life saving measures like dialysis and services that improve our quality of life, such as hearing aids and dentures, are always available to everyone. What good does it do our people if we have shiny new clinics if they don’t have a car or gas money to even get to them? I will support legislation that earmarks a portion of our gaming profits to supplement contract health services, so our citizens get the health care they deserve. And, I will do everything in my power to provide free transportation to our Muscogee Creek citizens to get to doctors’ appointments and our clinics and hospitals and even to local grocery stores.
As your Chief, I will revamp our Department of Housing to build homes for Creek citizens. Right now, too many Creeks are living in substandard homes. Having safe housing is the key to a family’s success. Children who have their own home do better in school. Parents who have affordable housing can spend quality time with their children. Giving our people the opportunity to be homeowners will ensure that our tribal government is truly improving the lives of our people and building a brighter future for the next generation.
Too many of our citizens are waiting years to have their roofs repaired or handicapped ramps installed, or bathrooms made handicapped accessible. These wait times are inexcusable and reducing them will be my top priority.
Language & Culture
As your Chief, I will support innovative efforts to expand our language through additional immersion opportunities and employing our first language and fluent speakers through a master apprentice program to teach Creeks of all ages. I will always support our ceremonial grounds and invite and encourage our citizens who practice our traditional ways to be involved in our government and welcome them to our official functions, governmental offices and all of our property.
Our artisans should be encouraged, supported and highlighted in everything we do. I will seek advice from Creek citizens who practice our traditional and modern-day crafts to best develop a plan to educate our youth and future generations to ensure that their arts and knowledge live forever. I support our artists and will seek advice on how to best showcase and market their crafts to the world.
Transparency – FOIA
All legitimate governments operate with transparency and have laws that allow their citizens access to information and actions taken by their government. One of those laws is FOIA – Freedom of Information Act. As your Chief, I will increase transparency and introduce and support a FOIA law so that every aspect of actions taken by your government and all money spent is available to you upon request. I promise you that the budget of the Chief and the Executive branch will be available on line and that financial reports detailing where our casino profits go will be made available to every citizen.
I have traveled across our Nation and met with and listened to hundreds of Muscogee Creek citizens. It has become painfully clear to me that we have too many people who just simply do not have a car to even get to the doctor, clinic or hospital. What good does it do our people if we have shiny new clinics if they don’t have a car or gas money to even get to them? I will do everything in my power to provide free transportation to our Muscogee Creek citizens to get to doctors’ appointments and our clinics and hospitals and even to local grocery stores.