Rebecca Nagle in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Photo: Heising-Simons Foundation

Cherokee journalist Rebecca Nagle wins prize for work on Indian law case

Rebecca Nagle, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, has won an American Mosiac Journalism Prize in recognition of her groundbreaking podcast This Land.

This Land focused on Carpenter v. Murphy, an Indian law case that went before the U.S. Supreme Court. Through eight episodes, Nagle examined the history and background of the dispute, and explained its importance to tribal nations.

“Rebecca Nagle’s reporting employs deep investigations and an affecting, accessible voice to shine light on an overlooked and still-unfolding history," the judging panel for the American Mosiac Journalism Prize said on Tuesday. "Her print and audio series about a current U.S. Supreme Court case concerning tribal sovereignty and the struggle for land in Oklahoma lucidly breaks down a complex and hugely consequential story that stands to change the lives of millions of people.”

"I still can't believe this is real. One day I will manage to scrape my jaw off the floor," Nagle wrote in a post on social media after the award, which comes with a cash prize of $100,000, was announced.

Despite the intense focus on Murphy, the Supreme Court did not issue a decision in the case at the end of its term last year. No reason has been given for the impasse, even though the justices had the option of affirming a lower court decision in favor of tribal rights.

The justices have since agreed to resolve McGirt v. Oklahoma, another case that aims to determine whether the state of Oklahoma can exercise criminal jurisdiction over lands promised to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation by treaty. A date for oral arguments hasn't been set.

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Cherokee journalist wins $100,000 prize (The Tulsa World February 5, 2020)

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