In a video update on July 29, 2020, Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation said “there is no reason to rush” for legislation to address the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma.
“We need to slow down and look at all of the pros and cons of how this ruling will impact the Choctaw Nation for generations to come,” Batton said.
Batton did not outright disavow a so-called “agreement-in-principle” that was released in the wake of the landmark July 9 ruling. But he said he will remain at the table to ensure his people’s interests are protected.
“It is critical that we do this right to protect the sovereignty of our nation and for the betterment of our people,” said Batton. “There is no reason to rush to pursue federal legislation at this time.”
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, whose reservation boundaries were affirmed in McGirt, has withdrawn from the agreement. In an opinion published in The Tulsa World on July 29, Chief David Hill said his tribe will continue to work in a cooperative fashion with other governments.
— Lauren King (@Lauren_King_JD) July 29, 2020
“The court’s decision will not leave our lands lawless. Well before the Supreme Court decision, we had countless intergovernmental agreements with state and local municipalities to ensure the safety and protection of anyone located within our borders,” Hill wrote in the opinion. “The court’s decision in McGirt only affirms our right, as a nation, to sit at the table of sovereigns.”
The Seminole Nation also has disavowed the so-called agreement. Chief Greg Chilcoat has said his tribe wasn’t actively involved in negotiations for potential legislation.