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Supreme Court limits historic McGirt ruling

The United States Supreme Court has limited the scope of its historic McGirt decision.

In a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta that the state of Oklahoma has concurrent jurisdiction and the ability to prosecute non-Natives when the victim is Native and the crime is committed on tribal land.

“From start to finish, the dissent employs extraordinary rhetoric in articulating its deeply held policy views about what Indian law should be,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s opinion reads.

Justice Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett in the majority. Justice Kavanaugh wrote that the views of the justices in the dissent were contrary to previous Supreme Court precedents and other laws.

“The dissent goes so far as to draft a proposed statute for Congress. But this Court’s proper role under Article III of the Constitution is to declare what the law is, not what we think the law should be,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote. READ MORE Kolby Kickingwoman, ICT

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An Indigenous candidate will represent the Republican party in November for Oklahoma’s U.S. Senate special election but voters won’t know who it is until the special election runoff.

U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee, and T.W. Shannon, Chickasaw, finished first and second in the Senate race on Tuesday and advanced to the runoff election on Aug. 23. Neither received the required 50 percent of the vote, which means there will be a runoff election. The winner will face Democrat Kendra Horn in November, who did not have a primary opponent.

With Oklahoma being a heavily Republican state, the Mullin and Shannon winner likely will be the first Native person in the U.S. Senate since Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Northern Cheyenne, retired in 2005 from Colorado.

Mullin held a primary watch party in Tulsa and livestreamed it on his Facebook page.

“The fights in the Senate,” he said. “We can't sit back and watch this wave of socialism try to take over this country. If Washington acted like Oklahoma we'd be in better shape.” READ MOREICT

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland will visit Caddo County, Oklahoma on July 9. It’s part of the department’s year-long “The Road to Healing,” initiative for federal Indian boarding school survivors and their descendants to share their experiences.

“Trauma-informed support will be available on-site during the Oklahoma event, which will be memorialized as part of the effort to capture first-person stories,” according to the U.S. Department of the Interior press release.

Oklahoma is the first stop with other visits to Hawaii, Michigan, Arizona and South Dakota. More dates for 2023 will be announced.

In June 2021, Haaland launched the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative and released the first volume of the initiative’s investigative report in May 2022.

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Davina Smith is headed to the general election this November. She will face Republican candidate Phil Lyman, a controversial figure who was pardoned by Donald Trump for an illegal ATV protest ride. The area he drove through is closed off to vehicles because of the presence of Native American cliff dwellings.

They will be running to represent Utah’s 69th district.

Smith is from Monument Valley, Utah, where her umbilical cord was buried. She comes from a long line of Diné leadership. Her paternal grandmother was the esteemed and iconic Diné leader, Katherine Smith. During the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute, thousands of Navajo people were forcibly relocated from their ancestral lands to either nearby communities or urban areas.

In 1979, when BIA agents came to fence off Katherine Smith’s property she defended her home and land with a .22 rifle.

So, it comes as no surprise that Smith has continued that legacy by working to protect Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. Protection of the land and water is something that is very important to her platform. READ MOREPauly Denetclaw, ICT 

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As the summer heats up across the country, so do primary races. On Tuesday, five states are holding primary elections ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

In Oklahoma, there are 10 Native incumbents in the state legislators seeking reelection. Of the 10, eight are running unopposed in their respective primaries and two facing one opponent each.

Republican state House Rep. Ken Luttrell, Cherokee, is looking to retain his seat against Joe Vaden Jr. and fellow Republican state House Rep. Mark McBride, Citizen Potawatomi, is running against Kathren Stehno.

The Republican candidates running unopposed and looking ahead to the general election in November include: Brad Boles, Cherokee; Hurchel (Trey) Caldwell, Choctaw; Scott Fetgatter, Choctaw; Mike Osburn, Cherokee; John Pfeiffer, Cherokee; Mark Vancuren; Cherokee and David Hardin, Cherokee.

The lone incumbent Native Democrat running unopposed is Ajay Pittman, Seminole. READ MOREKolby Kickingwoman, ICT

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