OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter, Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall today released the following joint statement after rulings from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals that determined the tribal boundaries of the Cherokee and Chickasaw Nations had never been disestablished by Congress.
The result of this decision is that crimes involving tribal members in the 27 counties that are wholly or partially within these reservations will now be prosecuted by federal or tribal authorities.
All three state leaders support federal legislation to allow the Cherokee and Chickasaw Nations the option to compact with the state to address issues surrounding criminal jurisdiction arising from the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision and the decisions handed down today from the Court of Criminal Appeals.
“We have reviewed today’s ruling by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Although today’s outcome was not an unexpected result of the McGirt decision, it shows more than ever the need for Congress to pass legislation allowing the state to partner with the Cherokee and Chickasaw Nations on criminal jurisdiction. Both these Nations have also called for Congress to pass such federal legislation. We have successfully compacted on important issues, but compacting on criminal jurisdiction requires federal legislation first. Crimes are being committed every day on lands now recognized to be reservations, and today’s decisions only place greater burdens on federal resources that are already stretched. That is why we are calling on the leadership of the state’s congressional delegation to work with their colleagues to pass legislation to allow state law enforcement to partner with these two tribes to continue their most important job of protecting all Oklahomans.”