Supreme Court rules much of eastern Oklahoma is still considered tribal land

VIDEO: U.S. Supreme Court rules on Tulsa tribal land

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a large portion of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation.

Justices decided the territorial dispute between Oklahoma and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in which the tribe is challenging the state’s authority to prosecute a crime committed on a reservation.

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Jimcy McGirt is serving two 500-year prison terms for raping a 4-year-old girl.

McGirt’s attorneys argued the rape happened on land that is still a reservation under treaties from before Oklahoma was declared a state.

“Congress established a reservation for the Creek Nation. An 1833 Treaty fixed borders for a ‘permanent home to the whole Creek Nation of Indians,' 7 Stat. 418, and promised that the United States would “grant a patent, in fee simple, to the Creek nation of Indians for the [assigned] land’ to continue ‘so long as they shall exist as a nation, and continue to occupy the country hereby assigned to them.‘”
Supreme Court of the United States

The ruling is one of the multiple decisions expected Thursday including the proposed release of President Donald Trump’s federal tax information.

In a joint statement, the U.S. Attorneys for the Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Oklahoma responded to the ruling Thursday morning:

“As Oklahoma’s United States Attorneys, we are confident tribal, state, local, and federal law enforcement will work together to continue providing exceptional public safety under this new ruling by the United States Supreme Court.”

The State of Oklahoma, Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations released a joint statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the McGirt v. Oklahoma case.

“The State, the Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations have made substantial progress toward an agreement to present to Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice addressing and resolving any significant jurisdictional issues raised by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma. The Nations and the State are committed to ensuring that Jimcy McGirt, Patrick Murphy, and all other offenders face justice for the crimes for which they are accused. We have a shared commitment to maintaining public safety and long-term economic prosperity for the Nations and Oklahoma. The Nations and the State are committed to implementing a framework of shared jurisdiction that will preserve sovereign interests and rights to self-government while affirming jurisdictional understandings, procedures, laws, and regulations that support public safety, our economy, and private property rights. We will continue our work, confident that we can accomplish more together than any of us could alone.”
State of Oklahoma, Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations