*I constructed this letter to the editor for Indigenous People’s Day (October 10). It was sent out to dozens of newspapers in Oklahoma.
On this Indigenous People’s Day (October 10), there is a Choctaw man sitting on death row in Oklahoma, named Anthony Sanchez. On April 6, 2023, Sanchez is scheduled to be executed for the 1996 murder of Juli Busken in Norman. At this point, most advocates for people on death row would dive into a laundry list of reasons why there are doubts about the case. I’ll leave that for another time. My purposes are simpler than that. I just want to call your attention to the irony that a Choctaw man was convicted of a crime in another part of the state and is being taken back to the Choctaw Nation to be executed, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Of course, there will be some who argue that the Penitentiary is property of the State of Oklahoma. While they would be right, what they are leaving out is that the land that the Penitentiary sits on was stolen from the Choctaw people. On top of that, Sanchez had to be transported over Choctaw land to get there…everything that keeps the prison running travels over Choctaw land…all of the supplies that will be used in his execution will be transported over Choctaw land…and all of those who are responsible for carrying out his execution will be traveling over Choctaw land. So, no matter how you talk about it, the State of Oklahoma will be utilizing Choctaw land and resources to kill a Choctaw man. Such a juxtaposition harkens back to the worst evils committed in the history of the State. I wouldn’t think that Oklahomans would want to resurrect such demons by killing another Native man on Native land.
The Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood
Spiritual Advisor, Oklahoma’s Death Row
sign the petition for Anthony Sanchez here https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-the-execution-of-anthony-sanchez-in-oklahoma/?fbclid=IwAR12AQ4H3atgKAEgAzBnCS5lTAG5Fu1AkVP2GAQJc3Fe9nB2OSefizmQO3Q