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Fallin stresses good relations with Okla. tribes

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Officials from about 20 of Oklahoma's federally recognized Native American tribes joined Gov. Mary Fallin, who held a special ceremony to recognize a national proclamation of November as Native American Heritage Month.

Tuesday's ceremony was well received by tribal officials, who have seen the governor's office entangled in lawsuit with 2 of the state's largest tribes - the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations - over water rights in southeastern Oklahoma.

Fallin's office also pushed a bill to eliminate the state's Indian Affairs Commission, which the Legislature approved in 2011, and replace the state agency with a Native American liaison post in her office.

Fallin on Tuesday stressed the importance of good relations with the state's 38 federally recognized tribes and says she's meeting weekly with her Native American liaison, Jacque Hensley.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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