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Senator Lankford Cosponsors Bill to Repeal Antiquated Laws Directed Toward Native Americans

WASHINGTON, DCSenator James Lankford (R-OK) today cosponsored the Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act, a bill originally introduced by Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD). The bill would repeal several outdated, offensive federal laws against Native Americans, including laws subjecting Native Americans to forced labor. Specific to Oklahoma, the bill would repeal a 100-year law that allowed for the forced removal of Native American children from their homes to attend boarding schools without the consent of the child’s parents.

“Over 100-years ago, federal law unjustly forced Oklahoma native sons and daughters away from their tribes to attend reform school miles away from their home, and against the wishes of their parents,” said Lankford. “Even though these statutes have not been enforced for generations, there is no reason to keep old and shameful laws in place. I’m grateful to Senator Rounds for reintroducing this bill and addressing the important significance to repeal these outdated, offensive laws.”

Lankford cosponsored the RESPECT Act during the 114th Congress, where it passed out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee unanimously. Due to time constraints on the Senate Calendar, it was not able to be voted on by the full Senate in 2016.