Environment | Law

Cherokee Nation to negotiate hunting and fishing agreement

Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Photo from Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation and the state of Oklahoma will negotiate a hunting and fishing compact.

The office of Gov. Mary Fallin (R) confirmed the discussions. "We have moved from a talking stage to beginning negotiations on a pending compact," a spokesperson told The Oklahoman.

The tribe has previously asserted a right to hunt and fish within its former reservation. But prior attempts to negotiate an agreement did not go anywhere, the paper reported.

In 1980, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes can exercise hunting and fishing rights within its former reservation. The decision said those rights were guaranteed even though they weren't specifically mentioned in any treaties.

"We conclude that state hunting and fishing laws do not apply, directly or indirectly, to hunting and fishing by members of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes on land held as Indian allotments and on land held in trust by the United States for the tribes," the court stated.

The state did not appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. A 1982 follow-up from the 10th Circuit clarified that treaty-ceded lands are subject to "dual" tribal and state jurisdiction.

Get the Story:
Cherokee Nation seeking hunting and fishing compact from Gov. Mary Fallin (The Oklahoman 5/6)

10th Circuit Decisions:
Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes v. Oklahoma (March 25, 1980)
Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes v. Oklahoma (June 24, 1982)