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Muscogee Nation Proclaims Sovereignty Day on 1-Year Anniversary of Historic U.S. Supreme Court McGirt Decision

For Immediate Release July 9, 2021

Media Contact: Jason Salsman jsalsman@muscogeenation.com

 

Muscogee Nation Proclaims Sovereignty Day on 1-Year Anniversary of Historic U.S. Supreme Court McGirt Decision

U.S. Court Ruling Confirmed the Muscogee Nation’s Sovereignty, Territorial Boundaries in Eastern Oklahoma

Muscogee Nation Marks Year of Post-Ruling Operational Expansions, Partnerships

OKMULGEE, Okla. — Today the Muscogee (Creek) Nation declared July 9 as “Muscogee Nation Sovereignty Day.” The date marks the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, McGirt v. Oklahoma, confirming the sovereignty and territorial boundaries of the Muscogee Nation.

“Generations of Mvskokvlke (Muscogee) will always look to this historic day as a reminder of our remarkable past, our perseverance and survival and our inherent right to exist as a sovereign nation that pre-dates both the United States and Oklahoma,” reads the proclamation that Principal Chief David W. Hill ratified today.

The protected reservation, established in a treaty between the United States and the Muscogee Nation, encompasses much of Eastern Oklahoma, including Tulsa. The parties formed that treaty coincident with the United States’ forced relocation (later known as The Trail of Tears; 1834) of the Muscogee Nation and its citizens from their cultural homeland in Georgia and Alabama to Eastern Oklahoma.

“We celebrate and hold sacred the sovereignty of the Muscogee Nation and our inherent authority to exercise jurisdiction within the borders of our reservation,” Hill said.

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling a year ago, the Muscogee Nation has taken actions in support of its jurisdictional authority and its efforts to work collaboratively with non-tribal entities toward the safety and economic prosperity of all peoples within Oklahoma:

· Doubled its cross-deputization agreements law-enforcement agencies to more than 60, including the Oklahoma Highway Patrol;

· More than doubled police officers on the ground;

· Bolstered its law-enforcement budget in the initial six-month, post-ruling period with an additional $7 million in tribal funds through special appropriation and supplemental legislation;

· Commissioned a mobile-command unit to serve as the collaborative headquarters in cases that call for multiple agencies reporting;

· Bolstered its prosecutorial capacity through broad actions, including a $1 million budget increase for the Muscogee Nation Attorney General’s Office and adding five prosecutors, a criminal investigator, as well as additional legal assistants and records clerks;

· Added district-court judges to the Muscogee Nation Tribal Bench;

· Amended pertinent and critical areas of Tribal Code to be more compliant and uniform with State statutes; and

· Convened a commission of more than 40 experts in law, tax, land and minerals, social services and law enforcement to work through the array of issues relevant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.

“The Muscogee Nation will continue to work in collaboration with federal and state law-enforcement agencies to ensure that public safety is maintained throughout the territorial boundaries of the Muscogee Nation and that the rights and interests of all individuals within our borders are respected and protected,” the Sovereignty Day proclamation states.

“We will continue to explore every available avenue to work in good faith and partnership toward a better Oklahoma,” Hill said. “It is the position of the Muscogee Nation that we are more efficient when we work in partnership and avoid spending time and resources in a continued fight for the sovereignty that the highest court of the United States has clearly confirmed.

“We will realize our greatest potential only when all sovereigns are working together and in collaboration, not by seeking ways to weaken our jurisdiction or return to a broken system of the past,” Hill said.

About the Muscogee (Creek) Nation

Muscogee (Creek) Nation is a self-governed Native American tribe with headquarters in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The Muscogee Nation is one of the Five Tribes. Its sovereign territory covers 4,867 square miles in 11 Oklahoma counties. With 92,000 Muscogee Nation citizens, it constitutes the fourth-largest tribe within the United States. The Muscogee Nation government is comprised of an executive branch, a legislative body and a tribal court system. www.muscogeenation.com

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