OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Anastasia Pittman was recently elected to serve as the National Vice-Chair of the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators (NCNASL) in Chicago, IL.
Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, is a member of the Seminole Nation, as well as the former Secretary and past Chairman of the Native American Caucus in Oklahoma. She currently serves as the NCNASL Education Committee Chair and is the past Vice-Chair of the Health Committee. Pittman has also served for the past four years on the national Quad Caucus, which is a convening of Asian Pacific American, Black, Native American and Hispanic caucuses of state legislators.
“I want to support the Chairman, Senator John McCoy from Washington, as well as the goals and objectives of NCNASL,” said Pittman. “By creating a ‘gathering of voices,’ we can foster communication among Native American legislators, both past and present. While developing opportunities to support the sustainability of state and tribal relations, we can also promote partnerships, cooperation and dialogue to move our economic and civic engagement efforts forward.”
Pittman was elected Vice-Chair on Friday, August 12 in Chicago, Illinois, during the annual NCNASL meeting, which was held in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislators that met earlier in the week. She brings to NCNASL a strong background in education and the ability to create policy and curricula with a focus on diversity and inclusion on state and national levels.
“It’s an honor to have Oklahoma State Senator Anastasia Pittman serve as the Vice-Chair of the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators,” said Maryland Delegate Talmadge Branch, who served as NCNASL Chair for the past two years. “Senator Pittman’s leadership experience with the Oklahoma Native American Caucus and as the NCNASL Education Policy Committee Chair demonstrates her support to improve outcomes for Indian Country. Her commitment guides her vision in Oklahoma and will continue to do the same on a national scope for the next two years as the Vice-Chair of NCNASL.”
One of the goals Pittman noted in her platform was to create a “common ground” database for research, training, best practices and educational services for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian state legislators, stating the importance of working together to increase awareness of Native American inherent sovereignty, cultures and traditions throughout the United States. The caucuses’ guiding principles are steered by recommendations in the areas of education, health, juvenile justice and secure families policies.
“The guiding principles of the NCNASL are the foundation of our organization and I’m excited to serve with the other elected leaders and staff to preserve our Native American past, honor our present and protect our future,” said Pittman. “This opportunity will give us a greater ability to address many issues tribes face today and I’m looking forward to serving in this new role for NCNASL. Many don’t realize institutional bias and structural racism is offensive and how the ripple effect is damaging and long lasting. With support from national and international organizations, state legislators and members of minority groups will be able to research the most effective ways to incorporate inclusion and diversity into policy for the betterment of our communities.”
The NCNASL was founded in 1992 by former Oklahoma State Senator and Principal Chief E. Kelly Haney of the Seminole Nation and was revitalized in 2005.