September 30, 2011 15:07 ET

The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition Responds to Oklahoma State Senator Rick Brinkley's Comments Expressed on the CBS News Online Short Term Loan Segment Broadcast of Monday, September 26

NAFCC Takes Issue With Senator Brinkley Referencing Native American Tribes as "Loan Sharks" and Abandoning Native American Sovereign Rights

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Sep 30, 2011) - The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition (NAFCC), a representative organization comprised of like-minded tribes and tribal members that are committed to protecting the sovereign rights -- well settled in U.S. law -- of Native Americans to pursue business and economic opportunities for their tribes nationwide, responds to Oklahoma State Senator Rick Brinkley's (R-Dist. 34) accusation that Native Americans are engaged in 'loan sharking' in comments made during an on-camera interview conducted with CBS News.

Senator Brinkley, also head of the Eastern Oklahoma Better Business Bureau, was interviewed for a segment produced by CBS News and the Washington, DC-based Center for Public Integrity (CPI) which focused on Native American businesses engaged in legal online short term loans. The NAFCC alleges that during his interview, the Senator falsely represented the tribal businesses by saying "Apparently, loan sharking is still legal in this country."

Charles Moncooyea, Vice Chairman of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians said, "The on-camera statement made by Senator Brinkley is nothing short of an outrage. His comments are demeaning, misguided, discriminatory and patently false. The fact that our tribe is located in Oklahoma and so close to Senator Brinkley's district compounds the seriousness of his hurtful statements. Tribes involved in legal online short term lending and other business ventures are able to use the positive economic impact from these activities to provide for their members such critical items as medical care, education and many other basic necessities."

"The NAFCC takes issue Senator Brinkley and his malicious comments which only serve to malign American Tribes who operate legal online short term loan businesses. Contrary to his distorted views, the NAFCC understands and appreciates that opportunities provided by many Native American tribes in the area of online short term lending, which is closely regulated through the enactment of tribal laws and the implementation of regulatory authorities designed to provide the strictest of consumer protections, provides thousands of consumers nationwide with short term financing required to help address emergency needs," said Barry Brandon, Citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Indian law expert.

"Citizens of our country and the United States Government have long recognized the fact that Native American tribes are free to engage in commerce, unhindered by bias or discrimination. We believe that those seeking to deny Native Americans of their business development and entrepreneurial rights are on the wrong side of this issue, and on the wrong side of history. To protect our culture and our livelihood, we will continue to remain focused on the protection of Native American Sovereignty, the building of Native American communities through economic development, and on any efforts required to safeguard these solemn rights. It is unfortunate some would attack Native Americans to advance their own political agenda," said Darold Stagner, Executive Director of the NAFCC.

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