OKLAHOMA CITY (Kilkaapoi, Osage, Wichita, Nʉmʉnʉʉ Land) — In response to Attorney General Mike Hunter’s announcement that his office will contest all requests for relief from those impacted by the Supreme Court decision in McGirt v Oklahoma, the ACLU of Oklahoma issued the following statement:
The following is attributable to Nicole McAfee, Director of Policy and Advocacy:
“McGirt v. Oklahoma is the catalyst for addressing a long history of broken and ignored promises by the State of Oklahoma and its criminal court system. It is not the cause of confusion, as AG Hunter classified it in his latest attempt to circumvent tribal sovereignty.
Mr. Hunter made several concerning statements, suggesting everything from Oklahoma courts having concurrent jurisdiction with the federal government over alleged crimes on reservation land with Indigenous victims to the idea that courts, not tribes, get a say on who is Indigenous. The statement by Mr. Hunter that the state has a responsibility to protect Indigenous victims is laughable given the lack of attention to the significant number of Indigenous women missing and murdered every year.
As we’ve said before, there is much work to be done to unravel the decades of cases in which the State of Oklahoma wrongfully claimed jurisdiction over tribal citizens on tribal reservations, and we urge the AG’s office to do that work, instead of trying to hold onto whatever jurisdiction it thinks it has. In the meantime, the ACLU of Oklahoma will continue to stand ready as an ally to tribes in the many fights to come.”