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Undergraduate Student Congress passes Native American language preservation resolution, nominates secretary

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Student Government Association Representative Taylor Broadbent speaks on CR-106-02.

The OU Undergraduate Student Congress unanimously passed a resolution to preserve Native American languages and two auxiliary bills during its Tuesday evening meeting.

Representative Taylor Broadbent spoke on CR-106-02, which is a concurrent resolution to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Cherokee Syllabary — the Cherokee written language created by George Sequoyah Guess, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

The resolution also seeks to preserve Native American languages by promoting student interest in learning the four languages taught at OU and imploring administration to offer advanced classes.

“The Cherokee Nation recently pledged that they would be willing to spend a lot of money to preserve our language,” Broadbent said. “One of the ways they can do that is by providing scholarships to students who are willing to take the language class, and that would increase student engagement (and) interest in a way that we would have more speakers coming out of OU.”

Broadbent said there are only around 2,000 Cherokee speakers left in the U.S. and that the language has lost 50 speakers to COVID-19. OU is one of the only universities to offer more than one Native American language. She said it is imperative that the university values and advocates for the preservation of these languages.

“This is something that’s really personal to me,” Broadbent said. “George Sequoyah Guess, is one of my ancestors. (My family has) those records all the way back when we were forced out of Georgia. So, for Native American Heritage Month, I wanted to honor my ancestor and pass a bill preserving the language that he created.”

The resolution passed with a vote of 24-0-0, and it will be sent to the Graduate Student Senate for further consideration.

Chair Lauren Patton spoke on behalf of the SGA budgetary committee on AB-106-06 and AB-106-07, which are two bills allocating SGA funds to OU organizations. Those included the Rug Making Club, OU Fencing Club, Sooner Competitive Robotics, Crimson Spirit, German Club, Model United Nations, A Good Morning Message Club, Student Heroes and ONE Emergency Medical Services.

Both bills passed with votes of 24-0-0 and will also be moved to the GSS.

Congress also saw nominations for Congress secretary, as Coy Taylor resigned earlier in the session. The secretary is the third highest ranking officer within Congress and keeps records of all SGA meetings.

According to the SGA Code Annotated, Representative Abby Halsey-Kraus said the secretary election will be a two week process, with one week dedicated to nominations and the second dedicated to speeches and questions. The nominee with the majority vote will be elected.

Representatives Hadi Fawad and Michael Stoyak were nominated and will meet with Taylor to prepare for the election process and go over secretary responsibilities.

This article was updated at 2:24 p.m. Wednesday to correct the spelling of George Sequoyah Guess' name.

Kaly Phan is a journalism sophomore and news reporter at The Daily.

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