Wednesday, February 7th 2007, 3:45 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Legislation declaring English as Oklahoma's official language was narrowly approved by a state House committee Wednesday.

Approval comes despite objections by American Indians who say the bill demeans their native languages and cultures.

The General Government and Transportation Committee voted 9-to-7 to send the proposal to the full House for a vote.

The committee voted after Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith said lawmakers are "branding Oklahoma with the badge of intolerance."

Representative George Faught says the intent of the bill is to encourage Latino immigrants to learn English. He says it could eventually end bilingual driver's license tests and other state government documents being offered in more than one language.