'Good day to be Indigenous': High court ruling cheered

Jonodev Chaudhuri, ambassador of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. (Photo by Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today)

Indian Country Today

Updated: Thursday's McGirt v. Oklahoma decision lit up Native Twitter

Indian Country Today

In a close decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in recognizing its treaty-defined borders.

The ruling was hailed as a win for sovereignty, and is being celebrated by many in Indian Country. Here's a look at what people are saying:

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Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Nation

"SCOTUS reaffirmed what we’ve always known: Treaties are the supreme Law of the Land."

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Jonodev Chaudhuri, Muscogee (Creek) Nation ambassador

“Many folks are in tears. 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.”

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Ben Barnes, chief of the Shawnee Tribe in Oklahoma

"I wish there was no Covid. We’d party in Okmulgee today. Congrats Muscogee (Creek) Nation!"

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Association on American Indian Affairs

VICTORY! “Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law,” Gorsuch wrote “Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.” #Sovereignty #IndianLand https://bit.ly/2ObOyRA

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Cherokee Nation joint statement

“The Nations and the State are committed to implementing a framework of shared jurisdiction that will preserve sovereign interests and rights to self-government while affirming jurisdictional understands, procedures, laws and regulations that support public safety, our economy and private property rights. We will continue our work, confident that we can accomplish more together than any of us could alone.”

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Related:

Supreme Court ruling 'reaffirmed' sovereignty

 Q&A: What does McGirt ruling mean?

National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp

“Through two terms of the United States Supreme Court, and as many cases and fact patterns, this question has loomed over federal Indian law. This morning, NCAI joins the rest of Indian Country in congratulating the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and proudly asserting that its lands remain, and will forever be considered, Indian country – as guaranteed in their treaty relationship with the United States."

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Native American Rights Fund Executive Director John Echohawk

“In this case, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation had to fight long and hard to protect their homelands, which were promised in their treaty agreements with the United States. In holding the federal government to its treaty obligations, the U.S. Supreme Court put to rest what never should have been at question. We congratulate the Nation on its success.”

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden

"In a critical decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal government's treaty responsibilities to protect homelands in Indian Country. ... I am proud to stand with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and all of Indian Country in celebrating tribal sovereignty and self-determination, which has been denied to them far too long and far too often."

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U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs vice chairman

“The Supreme Court has affirmed that a promise is a promise: that treaties between the United States and Tribes are the law of the land – no matter how many times the federal government has violated those treaties in the past – and that lands reserved for Tribes remain Indian Country, now and in the future.”

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Bryan Pollard, Cherokee, John S. Knight Fellow

“Oklahoma reminds us that allotment was often the first step in a plan ultimately aimed at disestablishment.” #SCOTUS #McGirt

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Brandon Scott, Cherokee Nation communications director

Took the trash to the curb. My non-Native neighbor seemed anxious and stopped to ask if I understood #McGirt decision. I told him I did. He said “what does that mean for us that own land?” I smiled and said “owned”. I wish I could bottle and sell the look on his face. #jokes

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