Cherokee Nation marks official recognition of McGirt ruling one year later

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is celebrating the recent achievements of their criminal justice system since the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals recognized that the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision did apply to the tribal nation.

“Over the past year, the Cherokee Nation has celebrated the confirmation of our sovereignty while taking every effort to meet our expanded public safety responsibilities,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “I am tremendously grateful to all the Cherokee Nation employees who have worked hard to expand our justice system and ensure we can support victims and provide a blanket of protection to everyone living on our reservation.”

The ruling expanded the geographic reach of the Cherokee Nation criminal jurisdiction to the entire 7,000 square miles of Cherokee Nation Reservation.

The Cherokee Nation also hired additional law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges to help with the additional workload.

From March 11, 2021, through March 10, 2022, the Office of the Attorney General filed 3,700 cases with the tribal court, according to the Cherokee Nation. That number includes 533 domestic violence cases. In 106 of those cases, roughly 20%, the non-Indian defendant was charged under the Cherokee Nation’s special domestic violence jurisdiction.

The Cherokee Nation has invested $30 million in fiscal year 2022 expanding its criminal justice system and upgraded criminal codes.