Bill to do away with Governor's Office of Indian Affairs dies in committee

Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Gray
Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Gray

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A bill to abolish the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs appeared to be ready to fly out of the Senate committee Wednesday morning, but some lawmakers killed it before it could fully take flight.

Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Gray, said the office needs to go primarily because Native Americans are not participating.

Harrison heard from some Native Americans in the past few days about the issue. They sent a message from Chief Black Hawk from 134 years ago.

"It's a travesty that we're going into the eighth year without having someone to represent the 15 Native American tribes that are recognized by the state of Louisiana, four of which are federally recognized, that we don't have some sort of department for that," Harrison said.

"Chief Black Hawk, where he said, 'The words and the language of the whites is smooth. They make wrong look like right and right look like wrong.' And they are very upset about what happened, but they graciously ask that we voluntarily defer this," Harrison added.

"I guess I'm a little concerned," said Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans. "When did the governor's office contact you about this?"

"Yesterday," Harrison replied.

The bill is effectively dead for this session.

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