Muscogee-Creek Nation Principal Chief David Hill, Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation, and Chief Greg Chilcoat of the Seminole Nation met this week to announce their unity in the affirmation of tribal reservations in Oklahoma and opposition to calls for Congressional legislative action following the McGirt Supreme Court ruling.
Tribal leaders also agree on their focus after the ruling: 1) maximizing sovereignty and self-governance, 2) ensuring public safety for all in their communities, 3) capitalizing on economic development opportunities.
“I want to commend my fellow leaders for their meaningful stand for sovereignty and for their clear opposition to any and all legislation that would return us to a broken system,” Hill said. “Tribal leaders around the country have uniformly signaled this moment as one that will resonate long after we’re gone.
“We owe it to the future and the coming generations to meet this opportunity with our greatest efforts, together.”
“I am proud to stand united with my fellow tribal leaders of the Creek and Seminole Nation to state we are in agreement that tribes are an opportunity for Oklahoma, not a problem to be fixed,” Batton said. “The McGirt decision reaffirmed the existence of our reservations. There is no need for federal legislation when sitting down and working together is the best path forward for tribes and the state.
“Tribes have been good neighbors and great partners for Oklahoma for hundreds of years, and we will continue to be so. If we all work in a unified approach, we can make the McGirt ruling a positive to attract businesses and to provide jobs to everyone while growing our economy.”
“It is an honor to be united with my fellow tribal leaders in advocating and defending the sovereign rights of not only tribes in Oklahoma, but all of Indian Country,” Chilcoat said. “We stand ready to address any issues following the McGirt ruling through respectful government to government interactions, just as Oklahoma tribes have always done.
“However, Congressional involvement is unnecessary and undermines the sovereignty of all tribal nations.”