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Letter: McGirt decision gives state, cities a chance to work with tribes
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Letter: McGirt decision gives state, cities a chance to work with tribes

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The history of relations between state and federal governments and tribal nations is rife with stories of abuse, victimization and exploitation. Human rights were violated and treaties were broken or ignored.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision has presented our state with a rare opportunity: an opportunity to provide a candlelight of sovereignty to tribal nations. Instead of taking and taking, it is a chance to give back, to return, to provide some justice.

Statesmen would see the McGirt ruling not as something to fear, but to embrace. We can be a model of improved working relationships between tribal nations and state government. Joint and overlapping jurisdictions are not something new. In Tulsa County, one can see city police, county deputies, state troopers and federal agents.

Actions by Gov. Kevin Stitt, Mayor G.T. Bynum and others in response to McGirt conjure up memories of past actions against tribal peoples. The current mantra they have, that we can’t trust the tribes to prosecute (so we will keep doing it), is eerily similar to the past mantra that we can’t trust tribal peoples with land or money (so we will assign conservators).

I have been disappointed by our governor with respect to Indian affairs since he took office, and of our mayor in the past month. It is my hope that visionaries and leaders will step forward and challenge them and others in their next elections. We need leaders who do not sow fear, but work together.

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Send letters to tulsaworld.com/opinion/submitletter.


Featured video:

Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin Jr. talks about the city of Tulsa's reaction to the McGirt decision. Ian Maule/Tulsa World

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