Tribal Money

The Supreme Court will hear argument in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta on Wednesday April 27

Washington, DC—On Wednesday, April 27, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument Oklahoma vs. Castro-Huertathe state of the case oklahoma v landmark 2020 McGirt ruling that affirmed that Congress had never dissolved the Creek Reservation or other reservations in eastern Oklahoma. In Oklahoma vs. Castro-Huertathe question is whether a state has jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians in Indian country.

“The important thing has already happened – the majority McGirt ruling,” said Muskogee Creek attorney Suzan Shown Harjo. Indigenous News Online. “The other significant thing that happened was that the Supreme Court didn’t take the opportunity to review or overturn the McGirt decision requested by the State of Oklahoma.

After the McGirt ruling, approximately 40% of Oklahoma’s land mass, including Oklahoma’s second-largest city, Tulsa, is now considered “Indian Country,” and the US Court of Criminal Appeals Oklahoma applied the McGirt decision to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and Quapaw reservations.

“Now all Oklahoma is looking at is whether or not they have a role and can be in charge of anything jurisdictionally,” Harjo said of the Castro-Huerto hearing. . The Supreme Court “would not have agreed to hear the arguments if it had not thought that certain questions would be applicable”, she added.

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Since McGirt decision, Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, also a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, objected to the implications, arguing that criminals go unpunished. Several weeks ago, Governor Stitt appeared on Fox News with claims that Oklahoma is a lawless state and that many victims are being left without justice. However, the tribes responded with statements that the governor claimed to misinform and frighten Oklahomans, and that the tribes and the federal government took full responsibility for extending a fair criminal justice system for all.

“It’s possible that Oklahoma will get a concurrent jurisdiction, shared jurisdiction, or sequential jurisdiction,” Harjo said. “Whatever the result, it is a broad limitation of his exclusive jurisdiction that he thought he had before McGirt.”

Gary Batton, Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, wrote on April 19 in the the wall street journal that the McGirt decision,” confirmed a fundamental principle of the rule of law: the United States must honor the treaties it has signed. These binding contracts between two legal entities form the basis of tribal sovereignty. McGirt confirmed that a party cannot abandon agreements when they become inconvenient or unpopular.

Oklahoma vs. Castro-Huerta is the state’s challenge to “protect Indian victims,” ​​the governor’s press office says in a statement. However, Sara Hill, the Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation said PBS NewsTime“before the decision of McGirt, Oklahoma had never attempted to assert jurisdiction over non-Indians who had committed crimes against Indians. It seems Oklahoma is trying to find every way to undermine tribal sovereignty, undermine the system, and create as much chaos and doubt as possible.

“The State of Oklahoma views this as money and revenue – they want to make sure they have the power of the oil and gas industry and no one else is taxing them,” he said. Harjo said of Oklahoma’s opposition to the McGirt decision. “They don’t see it as an issue where they want to protect [the heck out of] indigenous women.

Castro-Huerta, who is not Native American, was convicted in Oklahoma of neglecting his 5-year-old stepdaughter, who is a registered citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina). He has already been found guilty in federal court and is awaiting sentencing.

The judges are expected to render their decision by this summer.

Native News Online will be in Washington, DC, covering the Supreme Court hearing and speaking with various leaders from the Five Tribes on Wednesday, April 27.

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About the Author

Author: Darren ThompsonE-mail: This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a freelance journalist based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where he also contributes to Unicorn Riot, an alternative media publication. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty and Indigenous issues for the Indigenous Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in the international conversation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology and legal studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.