A new documentary airing this weekend will provide an in-depth look at Oklahoma’s water future through the lens of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations’ unique history. The United State of Oklahoma, a 30-minute documentary underwritten by the tribes, will air beginning Saturday, March 24, on stations throughout Oklahoma.
“Water rights concern all Oklahomans,” said Gov. Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation. “And as a statewide issue, we believe all Oklahoma citizens should be informed of the facts as we strive to find a fair and practical solution. With this goal in mind, this documentary provides a necessary and balanced perspective to define a plan of action that works for all Oklahoma citizens, a plan that ensures the continued health of our state, our quality of life, and our water future.”
The United State of Oklahoma includes interviews with former Oklahoma governors Frank Keating and Brad Henry, as well as detailed analysis by such experts as Judith Royster, co-director of the Native American Law Center; Duane Smith, former director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board; and Neal McCaleb, former assistant secretary for Indian Affairs and Oklahoma legislator. Central topics discussed include Oklahoma’s rich history of tribal treaties and rights, the essential elements to a healthy water future, and the need for a prudent and cost-effective scientific evaluation of Oklahoma’s water supply. The documentary emphasizes the tribes’ desire to work with state officials to develop a comprehensive water management plan that meets the needs of all Oklahomans while respecting the rights of the Nations with regards to the removal of water from their southeast Oklahoma homelands.
“We understand the importance of sustainable resource planning and conservation to preserve Oklahoma’s natural beauty and water resources for generations to come,” said Chief Gregory E. Pyle of the Choctaw Nation. “In `The United State of Oklahoma,’ we clearly outline the key points that any water management plan must address to ensure the continued prosperity of our great state. These include meeting the water needs of our urban centers, towns and rural communities; addressing the water needs of key industries like tourism and agriculture; planning for future droughts; and sustainably managing our water resources.”
For more information, check your local television listings for The United State of Oklahoma show times. Starting March 24, the documentary will be available for viewing on the high-definition online network www.WaterFuture.tv, an educational site designed to expand the conversation on Oklahoma’s most important issue.