[WATCH] Supreme Court Rules Half Of Oklahoma is Still Native American Territory
America’s First Nation had a reason to celebrate on Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that half of Oklahoma is still their territory. Cherokee writer, Rebecca Nagel said, “The big news at the Supreme Court today will be Trump’s taxes. But for Indians in Oklahoma, we’ll be talking about today for decades.”
Indigenous leaders celebrated the court victory in the case of McGirt v, Oklahoma as a win in the name of sovereignty for their tribes. The tribe in the case is the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the court ruled that the U.S treaty with the tried is still valid. The ruling also dictates that Congress must recognize that half of Oklahoma still remains Native American land.
The 5-4 ruling saw Neil Gorsuch cast the deciding vote as he sided with the liberal judges on the case and opened the majority opinion. In the opinion, Gorsuch wrote that Congress failed to say that the treaty was invalid, therefore, in accordance with federal criminal law the land is still promised to the Native Americans.
Jonodev Chaudhuri, Muscogee (Creek) Nation had this to say, “Despite a history of many broken promises, as is true with many tribal nations, the citizens feel uplifted that for once the United States is being held to its promises.”
Gorsuch wrote, “On the far end of the Trail of Tears was a promise. Forced to leave their ancestral homes in Georgia and Alabama, the Creek Nation received assurances that their new lands in the West would be secure forever… Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.”
David Hill, principal chief of the Creek Nation, celebrated the ruling calling it “a historic day.” He added talking to The New York Times, “This is amazing. It’s never too late to make things right.”