FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2017
CONTACT LaTasha Monahwee
Media Relations Specialist
P.O. Box 580
Okmulgee, OK 74447
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Attorney General comments regarding dual citizenship hearing
•District Court hears petition on Hobia candidacy, citizenship
OKMULGEE, Okla. — The Muscogee (Creek) Nation District Court held a hearing Aug. 17, regarding the dual enrollment and National Council candidacy of Jeremiah Hobia, who is the current mekko of the Kialegee Tribal Town.
MCN Attorney General’s Office released the following statement:
“At today’s hearing, Judge Bigler ordered the parties to have a hearing before the MCN Citizenship Board on Monday regarding the citizenship of Mekko Jeremiah Hobia. Upon the Citizenship Board making a decision, the parties will return before the District Court to further address the citizenship of Mekko Hobia and his candidacy for the National Council. The Attorney General was originally asked by the MCN Election Board whether Mekko Hobia can run for the Office of the National Council. It is our opinion that Mekko Hobia cannot and should not be eligible to hold office at MCN for two reasons. The first is that the MCN Constitution clearly prohibits dual enrollment in multiple federally recognized tribes. Mekko Hobia is currently enrolled with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and also enrolled with the Kialegee Tribal Town, which is a federally recognized tribe. As a dual enrollee, Mekko Hobia would not meet the citizenship requirement to be a candidate for the National Council. For this reason, it is our opinion that Mekko Hobia should not have been certified as a candidate for the National Council. Since the Election Board did not remove Mekko Hobia from the certified list of candidates, the Attorney General asked the MCN District Court to remove Mekko Hobia from the certified list of candidates for the National Council and from the MCN Citizenship Roll. Ultimately, we believe this very important matter regarding dual citizenship can be resolved through the amendment process set forth in the MCN Constitution. However, it is the opinion of this office that the MCN Constitution as it currently reads clearly does not allow dual enrollment in multiple federally recognized tribes.
Secondly, as a matter of public policy, this office is also concerned with the potential conflict of interest that is created by a person holding an office at another federally recognized tribe and holding an office at the MCN. On occasion, an individual holding a position of leadership in two federally recognized tribes will be subject to dealing with competing interests. Often, Tribes are competing for the same limited funding resources in areas like health, education, and competitive economic markets. Additionally, an individual holding leadership in two federally recognized tribes will be privy to very sensitive and confidential information that should not be shared between tribes. Due to these potential conflicts of interest, we believe that an officer of another federally recognized tribe should not be eligible to hold office at the MCN. Potential conflicts of interest make it impractical for a person to serve two federally recognized tribes.”
The Citizenship Board meets Aug. 21 to discuss the matter.
***Update 8/21/17 5:00pm***
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Citizenship Board held a special board meeting Aug. 21 at 2:00 p.m. regarding the dual citizenship of Jeremiah Hobia.
The MCN Citizenship Board will return their findings to the MCN District Court. The judge will hear the case on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 1:30 p.m. to deliver the outcome of Mekko Hobia’s eligibility to run for Office of the National Council and removal from the MCN Citizenship Roll.
***Update 8/23/17 2:40 p.m***
August 23 at 1:30 p.m., Muscogee (Creek) Nation District Court Judge Gregory H. Bigler heard the contraversial dual citizenship and National Council candidacy case of Jeremiah Hobia. Before a packed courtroom, the judge heard both sides and made no ruling and stated he will render a decision no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Aug 24.
The judge asked Hobia for any further comment and he had no reply.
Today’s court proceedings took approximately 13 minutes.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Public Relations will keep you updated with any new information.
***Update 8/24/17 6:30 p.m.***