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Principal Chief David Hill responds to Governor Stitt Press Conference

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Principal Chief David Hill of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation released the following statement in response to the Initial Findings of the Oklahoma Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty.

We listened with an open mind to Governor Stitt and the presentation of the report of his Oklahoma Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty and walk away with more questions and concerns.

If fairness were the standard as the Governor states, our tribes would still be on our ancestral lands, not here in Oklahoma. But we can’t rewrite history, and neither can the Governor. His claim that enacting statehood in 1906 eliminated separate tribal reservations is blatantly false and unsupported by decades of laws.

The Governor’s recommendations sadly promote the radical arguments of the special interest supported Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), which recently called for the disestablishment of Indian reservations in Oklahoma. Many other states with large reservations have worked collaboratively with tribal nations to address a wide array over intergovernmental matters without resorting to federal legislation that undermines sovereignty. We believe that Oklahoma and tribal nations can engage in that same effort.

The governor and his team repeatedly said they don’t have many answers. Given the lack of consultation with our Nation and others, it’s little wonder that they are struggling to find solutions. We asked the Governor over three months ago to work with us to forge partnership agreements that secure the health, safety, well-being and prosperity of all Oklahoma citizens but we never heard back.

Even for a Commission that lacked any tribal voices and representatives, the anti-Indian bias that flows through the Governor’s recommendations is shocking.

It is clear that current law allows us to work as partners with the state to address any and all changes prompted by the Supreme Court decision. Demands for Congress to enact a one-size-fits-all federal mandate won’t solve anything but will undermine tribal sovereignty throughout the Nation.

We stand ready, willing and able to work with state and local officials. So, if the Governor is serious about finding real solutions that benefit all Oklahomans, our invitation to work together remains open and we’ll await his call.”

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