Tribal leaders stand firm on sovereignty, helping chart the way forward with state, congress

Choctaw Nation
Kelsey Brown

DURANT – Choctaw leaders are following yesterday’s announcement of an agreement-in-principle to confirm that nothing has been “given up” in the negotiated framework shared with the State of Oklahoma. The framework agreement focuses on future legislation following the Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

“The Choctaw Nation, working in unity with leaders of other tribal nations, is actively shaping the congressional response to the historic McGirt ruling to ensure we preserve the magnitude and integrity of the monumental win in future federal legislation,” Said Chief Gary Barton, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “We are looking at ways to expand our sovereignty with the McGirt decision while balancing meeting the needs of our citizens and the communities in which they reside. Our commitment is to strengthen not weaken our tribal hard-earned rights to self-government. The best way to protect this is by having a ‘seat at the table’ during any legislative discussions.

“Be assured, we will not acquiesce our rights to self-determination through our sovereignty to anyone or any government body. Working together, we stand the highest possibility to achieve historical advancements for our citizens and honor our ancestors who dreamed and fought for this day.”

Leaders of the Five Tribes earlier this week said the Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt makes clear their long-held position that the boundaries described in the Nations’ treaties with the United States remain intact and continue to mark treaty homelands. Each of the Nations’ constitutions affirm these boundaries, and each Nation has and will continue to exercise its sovereign powers within those boundaries.

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