The Choctaw Nation will enforce the law

Choctaw Nation
Chief Gary Batton

Local, state, and federal laws apply to everyone, and Choctaw Nation tribal members are not exempt. The idea that our tribe turns a blind eye to laws being broken by tribal members is quite simply false.

Critics of tribal sovereignty are claiming the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling is a free ride for tribal members to break the law and ignore law enforcement efforts in local communities. That idea is ridiculous, and it could not be further from the truth.

Tribal nations across Oklahoma have worked for many years with local law enforcement agencies and have spent countless dollars to bolster tribal courts to address the increased case load seen after the McGirt ruling. Since 2020, the Choctaw Nation has filed more than 3,500 felony and misdemeanor cases. These cases are processed in a court system which saw over 150 new hires, including two new judges, 47 new police and criminal investigators, seven new prosecutors, and a newly established public defenders’ office.

The Choctaw Nation tribal courts hold tribal members accountable. The Nation has filed more than 2,200 traffic violation cases since 2020, with agreements in place that remit a portion of the fines paid back to the municipality where the ticket was issued and reimbursement for mileage and time spent testifying. In addition to increased funding and staffing, tribes have strengthened existing relationships and created new ones with various law enforcement agencies.

Cross-deputization agreements exist between state, county, and municipal law enforcement officers on the reservation to arrest or cite people who violate the law and refer those cases to the correct court systems, including tribal courts. The Choctaw Nation has 77 agreements with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Quarterly meetings are held with representatives from these agencies to discuss issues affecting local communities and strategies to address them. We appreciate the ongoing teamwork with our law enforcement partners.

Exercising jurisdiction over tribal members is instrumental to our tribal sovereignty. The 10th Circuit Court’s recent decision in Hooper v. The City of Tulsa reaffirmed tribal governments have criminal jurisdiction over tribal members. The Choctaw Nation understands the importance of law and order in protecting tribal members and non-tribal members in the communities in our reservation.

I urge our partners in law enforcement, the courts, and our municipal leaders to reach out to our Prosecutor’s Office at (580) 920-7037 if they have any questions regarding tribal jurisdiction.


  1. E Gunderson says:

    Wow a whole new level of overpaid beaureaucrats and government drones
    As if the old system was in need of complete destruction. Just more money spent but the the tribes have more money that most of the people here in Oklahoma due in large part to the pandering to the loose morals engendered by the massive amount of money generated by the casinos. Perhaps the tribes might want to care for their members by funding the entire medical needs of members instead of relying on the failing beaurea of Indian affairs and Indian health system. IMHO

  2. Glen Shelton says:

    Just because the sorry ass governor of our fine state dislikes natives even though he claims to be one)thinks we can’t do things on our own the mcgirt rule really got under his skin, now he’s doing everything he can if it’s good for the natives to block it, veto it whatever, he needs to get the hell out of Oklahoma and stay out!

  3. AJ says:

    The Choctaw nation is doing a fantastic job unlike our governor of Oklahoma.
    Wish he would work better with the Indian nations in Oklahoma instead of against them

  4. Roger says:

    Fourteen years ago, employed at Burges Norton Corp in Claremore, Ok, I worked with a native American (INDIAN). During a conversation he said [QUOTE] ” I AM OWED & YOU ARE NOT OWED ANYTHING” UNQUOTE
    The conversation subject was rights of a native American (INDIAN HERETIGE).
    Yes the the Trail of Tears was brought on by our ignorant ancestors and not present day society. We are ALL equals in everything.

  5. The basis of this premise was to protect, never to turn a blind eye. It would be advantageous to provide the knowledge and discuss the “why” this is important to tribal nations. It was based more for the protection of natives when a crime was committed against them. The trail of tears did NOT end with settlements and spotted lands. This is not information provided to the media, this is information lived, experienced by natives and passed down generation to generation showing how gracefully we overcame such tragedies.

  6. Carroll Mayes says:

    I’m a Choctaw member and I believe the authorities are abusing their authority especially being put in jail over false accusation no witness a crime allegedly happened before Christmas 2022 the complaint of a offense did not even go in until March 2023 he’s currently being housed in Grady county Oklahoma Edward Roy Hutto phone number 1000 he hasn’t even been given a chance for a magurt law and this allegedly happened and Chickasaw territory nobody’s investigating it and all they’re doing is making them sit in jail so the county can make money off of our heads so much ahead that was made up on the same charge and already took mine please served $150 and I was so hard out Mr hotel has not been given that chance. I do believe this is the trail of tears keeps happening over and over if there’s a tree sign and certificate of keeping a word a bond a man of his word then why are they not kept it why are we making money a bull crap why is someone being housed in jail over stupid stuff still being discriminated against because of past charges from being charged State instead of travel law the estate offender court appointed is not even trying to do his job and ask that the chief of the tribe please speak about this and saw this matter about 6 months