State of Oklahoma Seeks to Overturn McGirt v Oklahoma

State of Oklahoma Seeks to Overturn McGirt v Oklahoma

November 2, 2021,4:30 pm CST

Okmulgee, Oklahoma—

The State of Oklahoma has filed actions with the United States Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the 2020 McGirt v Oklahoma decision. In October 2021, other parties joined these petitions, including the city of Tulsa. Governor Stitt and some state officials are actively promoting a disinformation campaign, one in which tribal law enforcement is portrayed as putting Oklahoma at risk of becoming a modern-day, lawless “wild West.” This, while the Governor ignores situations in some Oklahoma counties, where over 70% of domestic violence case filings are dismissed.

McGirt held that the United States Congress never disestablished the Muscogee (Creek) reservation. Post-McGirt, Congress has not returned to century-old policies, to resume attacks on tribal sovereignty. Rather, Congress has acted to honor the spirit of the decision, and provide resources to implement renewed tribal government law enforcement functions. Increased appropriations for US Attorney staffing needs, consideration of new judgeships for the Northern and Eastern federal judicial districts in Oklahoma, new tribal/local law enforcement cooperative agreements, new and increased appropriations for Muscogee (Creek) Nation judicial and legal needs, all comprise results in the first year after the landmark decision. As the legislative branch of the tribe, the Muscogee (Creek) National Council has had an active role in addressing tribal law enforcement impacts, while simultaneously addressing pandemic-related emergencies.

The National Council challenges the State of Oklahoma and the City of Tulsa to end the waste of valuable time and resources, in efforts seeking to overturn McGirt. The Supreme Court has spoken; tribal, federal and local agencies have responded. State efforts to continue to engage in ineffective, fruitless legal challenges to tribal sovereignty, to the detriment of public safety for tribal and state citizens, is the wrong response at the wrong time.

The Five Tribes of eastern Oklahoma have achieved considerable results, in their respective law enforcement efforts, addressing the consequences of the McGirt decision, and expect continued progress in year two. The National Council will continue to pursue efforts to improve public safety, and speak out against actions that jeopardize real progress.