A couple of centuries ago, Native-Americans, or Indians, as they were called prior to the day’s of political correctness, owned this country we now call home. And they weren’t always overly anxious to share.
To hitch a wagon to a team of horses and “go west young man,” was a dangerous undertaking in which many early white settlers did not survive. They left a trail of scalps behind them in their efforts to cultivate the wild, wild West.
Eventually, many tribes were driven from the lands of their ancestors as they were forced to relocate to large swathes of unsuitable terrain, generally located in unfamiliar territories. Ancient burial grounds were destroyed and their ways of life which had fervently supported their very existence were changed forever.
Fast forward. They want their land back, which according to our nation’s current laws, was illegally seized and rightfully still belongs to them. Of course, scalps are no longer being taken, but legal representation has been sent in. All the way to the Supreme Court. And they won the battle.
In a 5-4 decision, the court concluded that almost half of Oklahoma, to include almost all of Tulsa, belongs to the Muscogee Nation. So there. Take that white man.
To add to the astounding Supreme Courts vote, the tribe can no longer be prosecuted by Oklahoma state law officials. What happens in the tribe, stays in the tribe, and they will handle their own matters, accordingly.
Certain portions of their new appropriation are still up in the air, such as whether Oklahoma has any authority to tax tribe members residing on their own land. If this ends up in their favor, the state risks losing a ton of revenue.
Court Justice John Roberts, who voted against the measure, had this to say, “The decision today creates significant uncertainty for the State’s continuing authority over any area that touches Indian affairs, ranging from zoning and taxation to family and environmental law. None of this is warranted.”
The tribe counteracted with their own message. “The Supreme Court today kept the United States’ sacred promise to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of a protected reservation. Today’s decision will allow the Nation to honor our ancestors by maintaining our established sovereignty and territorial boundaries. We will continue to work with federal and state law enforcement agencies to ensure that public safety will be maintained throughout the territorial boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.”
The case of Jimcy McGirt is what prompted the action. McGirt, a convicted rapist serving 1000 years on top of a life sentence, argued his conviction because the crime took place on Muscogee territory. And he won. This dredge of the earth is getting a new trial.
Chief Justice Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, ruled in favor of the measure and released the following statement.
“The Nations and the State are committed to ensuring that Jimcy McGirt, and all other offenders face justice for the crimes for which they are accused. We have a shared commitment to maintaining public safety and long-term economic prosperity for the Nations and Oklahoma.”
“The Nations and the State are committed to implementing a framework of shared jurisdiction that will preserve sovereign interests and rights to self-government while affirming jurisdictional understandings, procedures, laws, and regulations that support public safety, our economy, and private property rights.”
“We will continue our work, confident that we can accomplish more together than any of us could alone.”
In all fairness, McGirt, and other equally as heinous offenders, are not going to be let off of the hook. McGirt will remain in custody till death does he part. But, the final decision now rests with the Muscogee tribe of counselors to do the right and proper thing.
If for some strange reason McGirt should be released from prison, it will only be because in his case, the tribe wishes to resort to their ancient habit of scalping. And truth be known. We’re kinda hoping this is how it plays out.