Jessica McBride/Managing Editor
Opposition petition due March 9
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The State of Oklahoma filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court Feb. 6, challenging whether or not the Muscogee (Creek) Nation boundaries set in 1866 constitute an Indian reservation under U.S. law.
Court documents state the decision could redraw the map of Oklahoma.
‘All of this creates intolerable uncertainty for over 1.8 million Oklahomans who may now live on an Indian reservation, with all the civil, criminal, and regulatory consequences that could flow from that determination,” the documents state.
Muscogee (Creek) citizen Patrick Murphy was convicted by the State of Oklahoma for murder committed within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation jurisdiction, but not on MCN trust, restricted or fee land.
Previously, MCN had jurisdiction over land in trust or restricted status (original allotments), and other parcels within the boundaries were under State of Oklahoma jurisdiction.
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in August 2017 that Congress had not disestablished the MCN reservation established by a 1866 treaty and therefore the State of Oklahoma lacked the jurisdiction to try and sentence Murphy for murder because he was a Muscogee (Creek) citizen and the crime occurred in Indian Country.
According to the Supreme Court’s website, approximately 7,000-8,000 new cases are filed with the court each term, and only around 80 of those cases make it for review with oral arguments.
If they decline, the appellate court’s decision that Congress never dismantled the MCN reservation stands. If they hear the case, the justices will decide what the future holds.
A timeline for the Supreme Court’s response of whether or not they will hear the case is unknown.
The brief in opposition to the State of Oklahoma’s petition is due March 9.
Mvskoke Media will continue to follow the case as it develops.