Environment | Law

Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation assert rights to water

The Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation are asserting their ownership of Sardis Lake in southeastern Oklahoma.

The lake was created from water that was originally controlled by both tribes. "It is all Choctaw and Chickasaw water," Choctaw Chief Greg Pyle told The New York Times.

The tribes want to negotiate agreements with the state to recognize their rights. That would give them a stake in the potential sale of water in Sardis Lake to other communities.

Tribes have reached water rights settlements in other states but the situation in Oklahoma poses an interesting question. Typically, tribal rights are tied to the date of the creation of their reservation but the Choctaw and Chickasaw reservations no longer exist.

Get the Story:
Indians Join Fight for an Oklahoma Lake’s Flow (The New York Times 4/12)
Fallin, tribal nations meet over Sardis Lake (The Oklahoman 4/12)
Oklahoma tribes threaten to sue over Sardis Lake water deal (The Oklahoman 4/11)

Related Stories:
Choctaw Nation prepared to take action over transfer of lake (6/11)
Choctaw Nation expresses interest in taking control of lake (5/19)

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