Media Contact

Cassidy Fallik, Communication Director, 913-748-1278;

April 23, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY (Kiikaapoi, Osage, Wichita, Nʉmʉnʉʉ Land) — The ACLU of Oklahoma announced today that the legal team in the landmark Supreme Court case McGirt v Oklahoma, will be the recipients of the prestigious Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award. This award is given in recognition and celebration of the courage and tenacity displayed in the pursuit of federal and state recognition of tribal sovereignty. 

In July of 2020, the McGirt v Oklahoma legal team received a favorable decision arguing the Muscogee Creek reservation was never disestablished. For purposes of the Major Crimes Act, land throughout much of eastern Oklahoma reserved for the Creek Nation since the 19th century remains a Native American territory. This case has a tremendous positive impact on many tribal nations and will continue to strengthen tribal sovereignty for decades. 

Members accepting the award include Patti Palmer Ghezzi, Susan Work, Ian Gershengorn, Riyaz Kanji, Stephen Greetham, Kevin Dillinger, and Sara Hill. 

The award will be presented virtually at the Annual Membership Meeting of the ACLU of Oklahoma this Saturday, April 24, 2021. In addition to the presentation of the Angie Debo Award, new members of the ACLU Board of Directors will be announced. The event is free and open to the public. 

The Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award is named in honor of the writer, historian, and civil rights advocate Angie Debo, who relentlessly pursued justice in cooperation with the ACLU of Oklahoma during the late 1960s and 1970s. It is the highest award presented by the ACLU of Oklahoma and has been presented annually since 1971 for outstanding achievement in the fight for civil rights and civil liberties.