U.S. Secretary of the Interior meets with Kiowa tribe members

CARNEGIE, OK (KSWO) - United States Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke was in Carnegie on Thursday to speak to members of the Kiowa tribe.

Secretary Zinke said during his time as secretary, he's learned that every tribal Nation is different and he wants to reorganize some things.

"So our reorganization is going to look at how we move the rules of engagement, the authority, the flexibility, the resources to the front line so we can do it better," he said.

Kiowa Tribe Chairman Matthew Komalty agrees with the reorganization Zinke discussed and said they're trying to do it there on a smaller scale.

Kiowa tribe member John Tahsuda III, who works under  Zinke, also spoke at the meeting. Tahsuda said he's happy to be home to show the Secretary of Interior around and to talk about the future.

"As the chairman said, I think this is a new time for us to pull ourselves together, in a way a little bit of a rebirth and changing some things in the constitution that will help us to stay together as a community," Tahsuda said.

Zinke said the Nations and the government need to work together.

"We have to be partners and sovereignty should mean something. The definition of sovereignty interior is we are nation to nation," he said.

Komalty said it was surprising to have him talk to him on equal terms and to have him visit in general.

"This is a historic event and our tribe for him to come here. A man of his stature and his position to come here and talk to us and be with us and break bread with us," he said.

On Friday, Zinke will join Governor Mary Fallin, and the chief of the Shawnee Tribe to sign the Shawnee Tribe's fee-to-trust application for a gaming facility.

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