Friday, August 16, 2013

Culture wars - American Indian Cultural Center & Museum

Amid some opposition, American Indian Cultural Center & Museum officials hope donors remain loyal to the uncompleted venue.

Supporters of the half-built American Indian Cultural Center & Museum (AICCM) were days away from receiving $40 million in state funds this state legislative session when a deadly tornado ripped through south Oklahoma City and Moore.

The money would have sealed the completion of the project, which originated 18 years ago as a concept for advancing Oklahoma’s Native American culture. Having faced numerous hurdles before, museum supporters advised legislative leaders to delay action and focus attention on the tornado victims.

...Four days before the tornado hit, Senate and House budget committee members signed off on Senate Bill 1132, a funding measure that would divert a percentage of the state’s use tax to the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority (NACEA) over a three-year period beginning in 2015. NACEA, a state agency created by state lawmakers in 1994, has direct oversight of the AICCM project.

....Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, author of SB 1132, said he believes the measure will pass the House and Senate next session by slim margins, due to regional politics between urban and rural legislators. “We need to finish it and finish it properly,” he said. “We’re paying millions of bond debt and getting nothing in return now.”

More here.

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