McGirt vs. Oklahoma discussion panel hosted for Native November


By Native American Institute

The McGirt vs. Oklahoma panel was held on Nov. 30 as part of the last day of Native November.

A panel of Tribal stakeholders was held on Nov. 30 at Southeastern Oklahoma State University for discussion over the implications of McGirt vs. Oklahoma.

The panel was held because of questions over the recent ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark McGirt vs. Oklahoma case in which the ruling stated that the Creek Nation, who has a reservation in Oklahoma, or the federal government should have prosecuted McGirt—not the state.

This is a new development in giving more power to the Native American Tribes.

However, many questions have arisen because of the new ruling. Many people were afraid that because of this rule, they would lose their land to the Tribe, but this ruling has nothing to do with land.

Some people came forward and asked whether or not non-Natives were still subject to tribal law, to which the response was that business conducted with the Tribe still falls under tribal law, but crimes committed by non-tribal members are not the Tribe’s responsibility.

Some tribal members stated concern for if they will still be protected from criminals, which the panel informed that this does not change any laws in United States territory it only changes who convicts certain criminals.

Some Oklahomans are concerned that this will force the state to release prisoners who are a part of a tribe that were previously prosecuted by the state, but this is false.

The framework would only affect future rulings, meaning non-tribal members will be prosecuted by the state, and tribal members will be prosecuted by their tribe if the crime is committed on reservation land.

At the end of the day, it is up to Congress to oversee the future of this ruling.