For Immediate Release
July 28, 2020
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
Alicia Andrews, Chair
Scott J. Hamilton, Executive Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party Supports Tribal Sovereignty
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Democratic Party stands with Oklahoma tribal governments after the recent United States Supreme Court decision in the groundbreaking McGirt v. Oklahoma case, which ruled that, as pertaining to the Major Crimes Act, most of eastern Oklahoma remains tribal reservation lands. The reservations of the Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole were never disestablished by Congress, and have always been and will remain Native American lands.
“This is a significant win for Native Americans in Oklahoma and the ideals of tribal self-determination,” said David Walters, the 24th Governor of Oklahoma and Democratic National Committee member from Oklahoma. “In treaties, Tribes ceded vast amounts of land to the United States in exchange for reservations in Oklahoma in perpetuity. As affirmed by the high court, Congress never disestablished these reservations, and the boundaries remain intact. Oklahoma has always been strengthened by and allies with our tribal nations. Great care should be taken to preserve and synchronize our governments, both tribal and state governments and our common citizens will benefit.”
Officials from the state Attorney General Office and tribal governments are diligently developing plans to ensure the safety of all tribal citizens and all Oklahomans.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has formed an Oklahoma Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty and populated the committee with representatives from the energy and banking industry, along with GOP officials, to discuss jurisdictional issues. This Commission is inexplicably devoid of Native American representation.
Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairperson Alicia Andrews said Governor Stitt, who has staged a lengthy and public dispute over gaming compacts in Oklahoma, is targeting tribal nations instead of working cooperatively with them. Last week, the handful of tribal compacts Governor Stitt signed were ruled void by the state Supreme Court.
“The Governor is once again overstepping his authority and our recent history of working closely and cooperatively with tribal governments in Oklahoma,” said Andrews. “Engaging cooperatively with tribes is the best way forward. Instead, Governor Stitt pursues a strategy that antagonizes and disrespects. Going forward, we need real leadership. We need a Governor willing to work for all Oklahomans, not just corporate interests. We need a Governor who appreciates the great strength that our many tribal nations bring to our state.”
David Walters said Oklahoma tribal representatives must be at the table with the state and federal stakeholders. They must ensure that the hard-fought victory in the Supreme Court is not diminished by an unrepresentative committee, dominated by corporate interests who are but one group among many that should have a voice on these issues.
For more information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party, visit the party website at okdemocrats.org, or call party headquarters at 405-427-3366.