5 Tribes Agreements

I have not been involved in any communication that may have taken place with respect to the language of the act, but given the date of those reports, I am satisfied that there was no opportunity for the elected leadership of the five tribes and citizens to review the draft language of this bill and to make contributions. I have certainly not seen tribal Council resolutions endorse such a bill. On July 10, the chief of the Seminole Nation, Mr. Chilcoat, responded to Attorney General Hunter`s release of the draft agreement by saying, “To be clear, the Seminole Nation was not involved in discussions of the proposed legislation between the other four tribes and the State of Oklahoma.” Also on July 10, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief David Hill declared that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation does not agree with the proposed agreement in principle, released yesterday by the State of Oklahoma. In particular, there is no signature for the agreement in principle. The tribes are the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole Indians in Oklahoma. All criminal justice issues can be addressed through intergovernmental agreements between federal, state and tribal authorities, a common practice in tribal communities and reserves in different U.S. states. Creek Nation alone has cross-of-putation agreements with 40 of the county`s 44 jurisdictions and the municipalities of the Creek Nation Reserve. And immediately after the Supreme Court decision, all U.S. attorneys in Oklahoma issued a statement confirming that the United States would use all necessary resources to arrest and prosecute Indians who commit crimes within the limits of the reservation, and the Muscogee Nation (Creek) promised to do the same. In short, there is no obligation on Congress to commit.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma`s attorney general on Thursday reached an agreement with five major tribes on how criminal and civil cases are handled in the state following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision last week, which confirmed that most of eastern Oklahoma is Indian territory. However, many tribal citizens and supporters fear that the historic victory could be undermined by an “agreement in principle” published last week. Last Thursday, Oklahoma released an agreement between the Oklahoma Attorney General`s Office and the Five Tribes, which sets out the principles of a law that tribes and the state would ask Congress to pass. But at the end of the day, Seminole Nation chief Greg P. Chilcoat said his tribe was “not involved in the discussions” and withdrew its support. On Friday, the chief of the Muscogee (Creek) nation, David Hill, announced that the tribe “does not agree that laws are necessary.” It appears that at least the Cherokee Nation and the Chickasaw Nation still support the proposed legislation, but their future remains uncertain. It is true that Congress may decide to lift a reservation, even after a court has upheld its sustainability. Such a decision in 2020 would be a shocking and reprehensible violation of the solemn promises made to the tribes. As with criminal justice, the agreement in principle expands Oklahoma`s civil jurisdiction. As I have already explained, tribes normally have civil jurisdiction (including tax administration) in their reserves with respect to (1) members of the tribe, (2) non-members who do business or reside on tribal trusts and restricted lands, and (3) non-members outside of trust and restricted countries (but within the reserve) whose conduct threatens political integrity , economic security or the health or well-being of the tribe. States cannot tax on their reserves the activities, income or property of tribes or tribes without a clear statement from Congress.