DEATHS

James E. Fullbright Jr., 77

Born March 6, 1943

Died August 6, 2020

Jodi Lynnetta Jones-Sallis, 34

Born January 19, 1986

Died August 5, 2020

Mary Lavonne Peebles, 89

Born July 26, 1931

Died August 3, 2020

Benji Ray Hotema, 42

Born March 23, 1978

Died August 3, 2020

Angela Ashwood, 69

Born February 9, 1951

Died August 1, 2020

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

Our death notices and obits are always free to the families and funeral homes.

THINGS TO DO

Sunday, August 9

Muskogee, OK | Cirque MonteCarlo
Promotion Sunday for Kids
Easton & Rosa's Baby Shower

Monday, August 10

Bravado Wireless Real Okie Pro-Am
First Day of School!
MEA Back-to-School Teacher Appreciation Celebration
Monday Night Bingo

Friday, August 7, 2020, 12:18 PM

A member of the Muskogee High School Color Guard has tested positive for COVID-19 according to Muskogee Schools’ spokesman Steve Braun.

“Once we were made aware, we notified the families of the other members of the color guard,” Braun said.

He has not yet responded to a question about whether the positive test of one of the school’s students will affect the district’s plan to open schools for in-person instruction at the end of this month despite warnings from doctors groups that schools should not reopen so early.

More information as it becomes available.

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: Braun said the positive does not affect the district’s plan for reopening.

“As part of our return to school plan we do encourage testing but for students that were within six feet or less,” he said. “We will also have them quarantine as a precaution and not participate until their quarantine time is up or they have a negative COVID-19 test result.”

UPDATE 12:43 p.m.: Braun, after being asked whether the band was also informed, due to the close proximity in which they practice with the color guard, said “According to the band director, the color guard has not been in close proximity with the band, so the color guard was informed.”

After MuskogeeNOW responded that one band student who was not informed was the boyfriend of a color guard member, Braun replied “I just checked and I was incorrect. The band director is personally calling parents but started with those that are in the color guard and has been in the process of reaching out to every band parent to let them know.”

He has not yet responded to the question of whether band and color guard faculty members are also quarantining and whether those faculty members are also involved with other students or congregate with other faculty members.

UPDATE Aug. 8, 12:48 p.m.:

The mother of a color guard student says she has not been notified of the COVID case by the school, and yesterday, the schools even texted her daughter saying to come to practice on Monday.

The girl, who asked to not be identified for fear of reprisals, asked if she should self-quarantine following close proximity to the infected girl, and the coach said no, she was expected to be at practice.

Braun said “I’m letting the administration know that right now. They should have been notified by now.”

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Friday, August 7, 2020, 9:48 AM

Gage Hayden Ross

Gage Hayden Ross, 22, of Oktaha is charged in federal court with Assault with the Intent to Commit Murder after a May 24 incident in which Logan Hubler was shot.

The confrontation allegedly stemmed from a gun Hubler alleged Ross had stolen from him.

Hubler was shot in the back.

Police interviewed numerous witnesses who say they saw at least part of the confrontation.

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Friday, August 7, 2020, 9:07 AM

Production has finished on a new Cherokee language animated series pilot episode created through a partnership between the Cherokee Nation, the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, and FireThief Productions, an independent film company responsible for the Emmy-winning “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People” TV program.

The new animated series is title is pronounced “Inage’i” translating to “In The Woods.” The story follows the adventures of four animal friends who live together in the forests of Turtle Island. Iga Daya’i the mischievous rabbit, Juksvsgi the gruff wolf, Anawegi the conscientious deer and Kvliwohi the wise bear are characters drawn from rich Cherokee storytelling tradition.

The Cherokee Nation funded the animated language series as part of its overall Durbin Feeling Language Preservation Act to preserve and revitalize the Cherokee language. The series also features voiceovers from Cherokee Nation speakers who are part of the Cherokee Nation Film Office’s Native American talent database. A free public screening of the pilot episode will be announced soon.

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Thursday, August 6, 2020, 9:07 AM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for ready-to-eat meat and poultry products containing Food and Drug Administration regulated onions that have been recalled by Thomson International Inc. due to concerns that he products may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport. FSIS is issuing this public health alert out of the utmost of caution to ensure that consumers are aware that these products, which bear the USDA mark of inspection, should not be consumed. As more information becomes available, FSIS will update this public health alert.

The RTE meat and poultry items were produced by Taylor Farms on July 30 and 31, 2020. The following products are subject to the public health alert:

  • 7.25-oz. plastic sealed container labeled as “Sausage Breakfast Scramble Bowl” with lot code TFD212AU8 and TFD213AU8 and with a best if used by 08/06/2020 or 08/07/2020.
  • 6.2-oz. plastic sealed container labeled as “Taylor Farms Cheddar Cheese & Chicken Salad Snack Tray” with use by date 08/06/20 or 08/07/20 and lot code TFD212AU7 and TFD213AU7.
  • 41.35-oz. plastic bags containing “Chicken Salad” with use by date 08/04/20 or 08/05/20 and lot codes TFD212AU8 and TFD213AU8.
  • 10-oz. plastic sealed container labeled as “Chicken Salad Deli Snack” with lot codes TFD212AU3 and TFD213AU3 with best by dates 08/06/2020 or 08/07/2020.
  • 7.75-oz. plastic sealed container labeled as “H.E.B. Shake Rattle Bowl SOUTHWEST SALAD with CHICKEN” and a best if used by date of “Aug 10/2020 and lot code TFD213AU20.
  • 17.25-oz. plastic sealed container labeled as “Marketside SOUTHWEST STYLE SALAD WITH CHICKEN” with a best if used by date of 08/11/20 or 08/12/2020 and lot codes TFD212AU26 or TFD213AU26.

The products bear the establishment number ““P-34733” or “34733” inside the USDA mark of inspection or printed on the container. These products were shipped to retail locations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

CDC, FDA and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to onions produced by Thomson International, Inc. There have been no confirmed reports of illness due to consumption of the FSIS-regulated products produced containing these onions. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Consumers with questions can contact Kim Earnshaw or Elizabeth Llanes with Thomson International, Inc., at (661) 845-1111.

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via email to MPHotline@usda.gov. For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at https://foodcomplaint.fsis.usda.gov/eCCF/.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020, 9:46 AM

Jodi Sallis, 34, of Fort Gibson died early this morning in a single-car crash near Hulbert, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Sallis was driving a 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis northbound on S 410 Road around 2:30 this morning just south of Hulbert when she departed the roadway to the left, striking a tree and ejecting her.

She was transported by Muskogee County EMS to Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee, where she was pronounced dead at 3:37 a.m. due to massive injuries.

The condition of Sallis at the time is under investigation and the cause of the collision was cited as unsafe speed. Sallis was not wearing a seatbelt, and her car’s airbags did not deploy.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 3:43 PM

Muskogee Police sent the following information.

We will be participating in a parade for Mr. Donald Hamilton who is a WWII vet, on Wednesday August 5th, 2020 at 6:45 pm. Mr. Hamilton will be celebrating his 100th birthday and his family has invited us to be part of the parade by his residence.

We will be meeting at the New Hope Baptist Church located at 1501 North 43rd Street East at 6:45. The parade will go from there to his residence located at 4000 Eufaula Ave

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 8:05 AM

Johnathan Zamudio

WARNING: This story contains language most people find offensive, and a description of a stabbing death.

Johnathan Zamudio, 33, has been charged in federal court with second-degree murder after his court-appointed attorney, Roger Hilfiger, moved to have his state case dismissed due to Zamudio’s 1/32 quantum of Indian blood.

Zamudio was initially charged in state court with first-degree murder after the Aug. 20, 2019 death of Muskogee man Keith Boswell in the Family Dollar parking lot on East Side Boulevard.

According to an FBI probable cause affidavit filed with the new case, Boswell had been letting Zamudio stay at his house, but Zamudio, who has bipolar disorder, said he heard voices saying he was a cop and a snitch. Zamudio told police he hadn’t taken his medicine for a long time and had consumed 18 or 19 beers. As Boswell accompanied Zamudio to the Family Dollar, Boswell was verbally abusing him, he said, calling him a “bitch, punk and a nigger.” Inside the store, Zamudio said, Boswell leaned in to the clerk, said something to her and they both looked at Zamudio and laughed.

Outside the store, Zamudio told police he punched Boswell in the head, after which Boswell screamed, “you are fucking dead now, nigger, you and your family.” Zamudio said he replied “that’s the last time you threaten my family,” then pulled a steak knife out of his shorts pocket. He said Boswell said, “what the fuck are you going to do with that, bitch?” Zamudio said he then stabbed Boswell as many times as he could and walked away as a woman came out of the store. He told police he stopped, turned around and said to Boswell, who had just collapsed, “who looks like the fucking bitch now, laying on the ground?”

Boswell later died from his wounds. Police picked Zamudio up in the area, at which point he allegedly waived his Miranda rights and told them what had happened.

His state case has not yet been dismissed, but a hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

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Monday, August 3, 2020, 8:38 AM

WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual crimes against children.

Federal prosecutors have filed a criminal case against Jimcy McGirt, whose previous state conviction on sex charges was appealed to and overturned by the United States Supreme Court because the Oklahoma government had no jurisdiction to try McGirt, who is Native American, for the crime. The landmark decision recognized that tribes and the U.S. government have sole jurisdiction over Native Americans involved in crimes inside the borders of reservations.

The crime McGirt stands accused of occurred in 1996, over a weeklong period, where McGirt is accused of sexually abusing a four-year-old who was under the care of his then-wife. The girl told a relative that she had a secret that the relative had to promise not to tell. She told the relative that McGirt had put his finger “in her private”, referring to her vagina, and also that McGird told her to touch his “private”, referring to his penis, and that she did not like touching it because it was “yucky”, had hair and was “up”. She also told the relative that McGirt had put his tongue on her vagina.

The relative reported what she was told to the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office. The girl told the deputy interviewing her that McGirt had “touched her down there” while motioning toward her vagina. The deputy asked how many times he had done it, and she replied “every day.”

The girl had in the intervening time told two other relatives about the alleged abuse.

McGirt had formerly been convicted of two separate counts of forcible sodomy in 1989 and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released in March of 1991. In that case, McGirt, who was working as a maintenance man, was convicted of making a five-year-old and eight-year-old boy pull their pants down and put their penises in his mouth.

In the 1996 case, McGirt was arrested and tried for first-degree rape by instrumentation, lewd molestation and forcible sodomy, after which he was found guilty on all three counts. The jury recommended he serve 500 years on each of the first two counts, and life in prison without the possibility of parole on the third count. The judge in the case agreed and sentenced McGirt to two 500-year sentences and one life without the possibility of parole.

On appeal, the Oklahoma Supreme Court noted that, while the sentences were “admittedly harsh,” it found no reason to overturn them.

Writing to his wife from prison, McGirt apologized for molesting the girl and said he had not been in his right mind, and that the devil had made him do it, according to an affidavit filed with the new federal case.

The US Supreme court overturned McGirt’s conviction based not on the merits of the case, but on whether the state had jurisdiction to try the case.

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Friday, July 31, 2020, 8:00 AM

Kyle Vannortwick

Kyle Joseph Vannortwick, 36, of Muskogee has been charged with first-degree murder in federal court after his attorney moved that state courts drop his murder charge there for lack of jurisdiction. Vannortwick and his alleged victim are both members of the Cherokee Nation.

According to documents filed with the state and federal cases, Vannortwick is accused of fatally stabbing his twin brother, Adam Vannortwick, in a Feb. 18 altercation at their home at 1001 Chestnut Street. Officers state they found Adam Vannortwick lying in the kitchen in a pool of blood, and that Kyle Vannortwick told them his brother fell and started bleeding.

Officers reported a large knife in the kitchen with blood and hair on it. They say Kyle Vannortwick stated he did not stab Adam Vannortwick, who, according to police, died from his injuries on March 4. The Oklahoma medical examiner determined the cause of his death to be homicide.

He has been held without bond at the Muskogee County Jail since his brother died, at which point the $100,000 bond he was being held on was removed to no bond.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020, 4:37 PM

Muskogee County Treasurer Robyn Boswell just sent the following notice:

A second employee of the Muskogee County Treasurer’s Office has tested positive for COVID-19. For the safety of the citizens of Muskogee County, as well as the other employees, the Muskogee County Treasurer’s Office will be closed until the Oklahoma Department of Health approves our office to be reopened.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020, 7:53 AM

Even as the coronavirus continues its deadly climb toward its peak, Muskogee Public Schools has announced it will reopen for in-person instruction on Aug. 31, a month from tomorrow.

Students, teachers and support staff will crowd back into schools for a later-than-usual start to the school years.

Parents who want to keep their children home during the pandemic can opt into the district’s e-learning program. If students are already enrolled in the district, parents can click here and complete the enrollment form there, said Steve Braun, spokesman for the schools.

The deadline to enroll students in the e-learning program is next Monday, Aug. 3.

In the coming weeks, an e-learning teacher will reach out to enrolled students.

You can click here to view the upcoming school calendar.

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janet bickel hutson

Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 7:33 AM

Oklahoma native Jonita Mullins has just released her fifth historical novel titled The Cross Timbers which is Book 2 in “The Neosho District” series. The book is available from her website, okieheritage.com and can be found on Amazon. Mullins focuses her writing on the rich history of Oklahoma. This new book is based in fact and covers Creek and Cherokee history in the days leading up to their removals from Georgia to the river bottom lands of Indian Territory in the late 1820s.

“Most history textbooks focus on the tragic Trail of Tears journey made by the Cherokees in 1839,” Mullins says. “But the story is much larger and more complex than that. Many journeys were made over the course of several decades. The Cross Timbers shows some of the earliest events in this part of Oklahoma’s history.”

The Cross Timbers is a tale of greed, vengeance and the fight against the tide to push all Indians west to the land set aside for them among the ancient woods at the edge of the prairie in what would become Oklahoma. Mullins grew up in Haskell and currently lives in Muskogee.

Jonita has published fourteen books, both fiction and non-fiction.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 2:17 PM

The Muskogee Police Department just released the following:

In light of the continued concerns regarding COVID-19 Virus (Coronavirus), the Muskogee Police Department will be implementing the following changes to our normal operations. We are asking for the cooperation of the community as we navigate the present circumstances.

If you call the Muskogee Police Department for service, and a current member of your household has been traveling, quarantined, or is displaying signs of respiratory illness to include fever, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, PLEASE NOTIFY THE DISPATCHER so our officers can utilize the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when responding to the call. At the minimum our officers will be wearing a surgical mask or cloth face covering while in contact with the public. When the officer determines it necessary they may choose to wear an N-95 mask.

If you call us for service, our officers will request to speak with you outside the residence to gather the proper information. Officers have been instructed to keep a minimum of 6 feet while interviewing everyone when possible. This is in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC). We ask that the public utilize this universal precaution as well.

Please DO NOT come to the Muskogee Police Department if you are sick. If you need to make a report, it will be done over the phone.

If you do enter the Muskogee Police Department please wear a mask covering your mouth and nose.

These changes are essential for the protection of our officers, our residents, and to maintain an efficient, effective, and swift law enforcement response. Please rest assured that in an emergency situation, you will receive immediate response from the Muskogee Police Department.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 8:47 AM

The Cherokee Nation is establishing a new language department that will directly oversee the tribe’s Cherokee Immersion School, a team of translators and the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program. The new department will focus on language preservation and perpetuation, and generating more proficient second-language Cherokee speakers.

Howard Paden, a Sequoyah County native and the tribe’s current Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program manager, has been named as the executive director of the tribe’s new language department. Wyman Kirk has also been named administrator of the Cherokee Immersion School, and Jeromie Hammer has been named as principal.

All three are Cherokee Nation citizens and each have been learning the Cherokee language for at least two decades.

“Unfortunately, we’re losing upwards of a hundred fluent Cherokee speakers a year,” Paden said. “We recently lost seven alone in one month, three of them from COVID-19. We’re at a crossroads, so we must make language our priority and get our citizens behind this critical effort to continue saving our language. I believe the Cherokee Nation and Chief Hoskin are putting all of the pieces into place to help us teach new generations of Cherokee speakers how to use and pass along this beautiful tradition.” As administrator of the Cherokee Immersion School, Kirk will lead the Immersion School being responsible for the development, implementation, supervision and evaluation of educational and student services.

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Monday, July 27, 2020, 9:00 AM

Leroy Jemol Smith

Although Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge spent years and tons of effort coordinating with law enforcement agencies to track him down, he won’t be trying the case of Leroy Jemol Smith, who is accused of raping at least five women in Muskogee in the 1990s.

Smith is a member of the Choctaw tribe, so his case was moved on Friday to federal court because Natives cannot be tried in state courts inside Native jurisdiction.

In the affidavit for probable cause, the FBI noted that DNA taken from the victims and matched to Smith had a “1 in 221 quintillion” chance of being someone else’s DNA besides Smith’s. Since the entire population of the world is 7.7 billion, it’s considered statistically impossible for the DNA to not be Smith’s. Smith also lived less than a mile from the victim.

The DNA found on each of the victims matches Smith, according to the affidavit.

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Monday, July 27, 2020, 7:42 AM

The Oklahoma chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians have issued a joint statement saying that while the group supports the goal of safely getting students back to school, they cannot support the opening of in-person schooling in Oklahoma in August.

“While some counties may have extremely low rates of spread, others have growing numbers of positive cases or consistently high positive test rates, indicating that comment spread is uncontrolled and testing is not yet sufficiently reaching all infected people,” the groups stated. “Additionally, safety policies and resources are not standardized across the state, leading to inequitable protection for children, teachers and families.”

The allocation of resources is especially hard on minority and poor children, the statement continues.

To ensure a safe school setting in Oklahoma, OKAAP and OAFP recommend the state prioritize the following strategies, which should be implemented in partnership with educators, administrators, parents, and students.

  • Local, Data-Driven Decisions. OKAAP and OAFP believe there should be clear guidance from the state on specific, county-level data indicators that show it is safer to open specific school districts. The White House Opening Up America Again plan suggests reopening schools (Phase 2) when a region has a downward case trajectory OR downward trajectory for the percentage of positive tests (provided there’s sufficient testing) for 14 days. In a similar, but more conservative approach than the color-coded map suggested by the Oklahoma State Board of Education on 7/23/20, we recommend that counties be in the globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/ yellow or green zone (0-10 new cases per 100,000 population) before resuming in-person instruction. OKAAP and OAFP support using, at minimum, these criteria to plan for safe re- opening at the county level. Public health data should not be used only to shut down schools because of an outbreak.
  • K-12 Mandatory Masks. OKAAP and OAFP recommend a requirement in schools for mandatory K-12 student and teacher masks. Universal use of masks is the state’s best tool to prevent spread.
  • Social Distancing. OKAAP and OAFP believe districts need clearer guidance on how to achieve social distancing and smaller, consistent cohorts of students. This will likely require fewer students to be in school buildings at any given time. Districts should be granted approvals to allow them to expand into space in community centers or to use creative scheduling to allow for social distancing when they open.
  • State Purchasing Power. The AAP is advocating for federal funds to support safe public school re-opening. As they have thankfully done for the medical community, the state should utilize its purchasing power to obtain and distribute needed PPE, hand hygiene and cleaning supplies, and sanitation materials, including full medical PPE for all public school nurses, building first responders, and teachers/para-professionals in self-contained/special needs classrooms.
  • Clear Communication. The OKAAP and OAFP believe a strong alliance should be established between the health care community, the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to ensure clear guidance is given to school districts across the state.

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Friday, July 24, 2020, 1:41 PM

Brian Bias

Brian Bias, who killed motorcyclist Brian McElmurry in 2016 on the Fort Gibson Dam while driving drunk, was arrested again for DUI in December with a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher and had that charge upgraded to aggravated DUI.

He was charged with DUI in Cherokee County in connection to the 2016 death, but that charge has since been expunged from the Cherokee County records.

He had at least one other DUI charge in Wagoner County.

Yesterday, his attorney filed to have his latest DUI case dropped because it is filed in Muskogee County District Court and Bias is Native American.

Yesterday’s filing says the state court has no jurisdiction to try him. He is scheduled for a hearing on the motion in August.

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Friday, July 24, 2020, 8:46 AM

Solomon Horsechief

In the first instance since the U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating tribal or federal authority over crimes in Indian Country where the accused is a Native American, Solomon Lamont Horsechief, 34, of Muskogee is charged in federal court with raping a 14-year-old girl after allegedly lacing a marijuana blunt with a substance that helped him overcome her resistance, according to documents filed with the case.

Horsechief is a member of the Cherokee Nation, and the alleged rape occurred on 12th Street in Muskogee, which is inside the boundaries of the Creek Nation reservation.

According to an investigation by the FBI, Horsechief is alleged to have provided two underage girls with blunts, one of which he smoked with them, the other he did not smoke, the girls told investigators. After smoking the second blunt, the girls said they don’t remember much, except that the victim ended up in the back seat of the pickup with Horsechief, whose pants were down, and the girl was in her bra and panties with her panties pulled to the side. The girl who remained in the front of the pickup remembered the victim telling Horsechief to stop and “no.”

Horsechief later told FBI investigators that he had sex with the girl, but that it was consensual. Since she is under 18, it is not legally possible for her to engage in consensual sex with an adult. Horsechief allegedly also told investigators that “if” the girl said “no,” he stopped.

The victim told investigators that she has known Horsechief for awhile, and that he was aware she is 14. The other girl also remembers informing Horsechief that the girl is 14. A physical examination of the girl showed signs of trauma consistent with rape, an affidavit states. She also complained of pain in her lower abdomen.

The alleged rape occurred on March 27 and the case was transferred to federal court because of Horsechief’s Indian status.

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Thursday, July 23, 2020, 8:30 AM

Glenn Ferguson, 48, of Muskogee was found guilty in federal court in January of possession of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Ferguson possessed and accessed images and videos containing visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The images and more than 50 videos of children ranging in age between infants to pre-teens engaged in sexually explicit conduct were transported over state lines via computer, which is what landed the case in federal court.

The verdict was the result of an investigation combining the resources of the FBI and the Muskogee Police Department.

Yesterday, federal Judge Ronald White returned the sentence: 10 years in federal prison, followed by five years of probation and $5,800 in restitution to the victims. Ferguson must also register as a sex offender. He requested assignment to a prison close to Muskogee so his relatives could visit, and White recommended he get it.

Ferguson cannot possess a computer with access to the Internet, including at any place of work. He also cannot possess any kind of pornography, and he must attend mental health treatment while in prison.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 12:39 PM

After an employee at the county treasurer’s office tested positive for COVID-19, Muskogee County Commissioners have mandated that anyone entering the county services building or the county courthouse must be wearing a mask in common areas.

  • All persons entering the Courthouse complex, which encompasses the Courthouse and the County Services Building, shall wear a mask covering their nose and mouth while in common areas of the buildings.
  • Elected Officials and Supervisors shall establish mask wearing procedures for their employees that govern whether a mask is necessary at the employee’s work station.

The resolution, which passed at a special meeting this morning, takes effect tomorrow morning.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 8:41 AM

Dr. Beverly Smith

Bacone College has announced Dr. Beverly Jean Smith, enrolled member of the Navajo Nation from Grandfalls, Arizona, has been selected to fill the role of vice president of academic affairs for Bacone College.

Smith, whose Navajo clans are Naakaii Dine’e, Kinlich’iinii, Todich’iinii and Tsenjinkini, is the maternal great-granddaughter of Hastiin Alchini Lani (Muchachos Muchos), one of the markers of the Navajo Treaty of 1868.

Smith attended public schools and residential Indian boarding schools, before earning her Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies from Haskell Indian Nations University in 2001. She then earned a master’s degree in education counseling with a student affairs emphasis in 2011, and in 2017 she earned her doctoral degree in education organization and leadership with a concentration in higher education and a graduate minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Dr. Smith brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in American Indian higher education that will benefit and inspire our faculty and students,” said Bacone College President Dr. Ferlin Clark. “We welcome her to our Medicine Wheel circle of learning at our historic college.”

Smith credits her parents for raising her in a deeply traditional and cultural environment and credits her son and network of scholars who mentor and inform her leadership and administrative work.

“My philosophy reflects my grandparents’ cornfield teachings, ‘as long as you have a way, we are happy for you,’ tending and harvesting in good thought and purpose,” Smith said. “I embrace diversity and support President Clark’s vision for Bacone College. I humble myself to be appointed in an administrative leadership position with levels of agendas with and toward student success.”

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dragonfly dojo

Monday, July 20, 2020, 2:39 PM

Editor’s note: This article is the opinion of Ponie Lance McCrary. It has been edited for length

I never really grew up in the State of Oklahoma. I grew up on a reservation called Indian Country. And so did everyone who grew up in the area roughly between Oklahoma City and Arkansas.

More than 14 years ago, I worked in an externship program with Muscogee Nation District Court under former Judge Patrick Moore. One of the first things he ever showed me was an interesting law that existed in the Oklahoma State Constitution. Article 1, Section 3:

The people inhabiting the State do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title in or to any unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof, and to all lands lying within said limits owned or held by any Indian, tribe, or nation; and that until the title to any such public land shall have been extinguished by the United States, the same shall be and remain subject to the jurisdiction, disposal, and control of the United States. Land belonging to citizens of the United States residing without the limits of the State shall never be taxed at a higher rate than the land belonging to residents thereof. No taxes shall be imposed by the State on lands or property belonging to or which may hereafter be purchased by the United States or reserved for its use. (Emphasis added)

He asked me what I thought it meant. I told him that it sounded like all Indian land in general is forever disclaimed by the State of Oklahoma. After taking a walk down memory lane, I began my usual internet research of the Oklahoma Constitution and found an article that seems to, in conjunction with the McGirt Supreme Court decision, render the State of Oklahoma powerless over Indian Country:

Section XXIII-8: Contracts waiving benefits of Constitution invalid.

Any provision of a contract, express or implied, made by any person, by which any of the benefits of this Constitution is sought to be waived, shall be null and void.

This suggests that AG Mike Hunter, Governor Stitt, or any other officials of the State cannot even contract with Native American people nor their tribes while Article 1 Section 3 exists. The lands of reservations of the Five Tribes are not part of Oklahoma — and according to the McGirt decision and the state’s Constitution, never have been. So the big question now is where do we go from here?

In this situation, it calls for the tribes to use the State facilities for tribal governing purposes just like the facilities are doing now. From judges to janitors, all state and county employees without CDIB cards should be immediately re-evaluated and possibly replaced with card-carrying Native Americans that are qualified and meet current tribal criteria.

I think most Native Americans agree that as a people we like commerce. We like shopping, buying cars, going to Wal-Mart, eating at buffets and barbeque joints. At a glance, it should all seem in the future as nothing but business as usual. Behind the scenes, the tribe should run things. Basically anything involving licensing would be run through the Five Tribes. This includes but not limited to driver’s licenses, business licenses, health licensing, attorney licensing, medical licensing, just about anything that requires licensing. Native governments can use federal marshal services and Native police instead of county sheriffs and state police.

Indian Country can and will collect its own taxes and federal funding, just like any other territory in the United States. It can evaluate on a case by case basis certain things like past state judicial decisions, business dealings, and land transactions to determine if the past actions were done in good faith.

Of course there will be growing pains. There will also be opportunities. Most smart tribal business and governmental officials know that Indian smoke shops and casinos are not truly the way to our future. These things were a means to an end. With our jurisdictional boundaries defined, the future well being of the tribe lies within our boundaries: riparian rights. Indian country holds the majority of the lake water within the tri-state area. We own the water. Even if others don’t see it that way, they still have to go through us to get to the water. This is the key to all future negotiations when dealing with our state neighbors.

Unfortunately NOW is not the time for compromise when it comes to jurisdictional issues. Now is the time to set up boundaries and rules. The Dawes Commission that was formed around the time of statehood had one primary goal: to assimilate the Native Americans to the American culture. As a people, our culture never died but lessons were learned and applied that came from the American culture: we lawyered up.

Ponie Lance McCrary is a licensed attorney with the State of Oklahoma and the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. He also practiced in Cherokee and Muscogee Creek Nation tribal courts. He was born and raised near the town of Warner of Cherokee Nation.

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family time rentals

Monday, July 20, 2020, 8:13 AM

Cherokee citizens are expected to pack the Cherokee Nation Council meeting today at 1 p.m. in Tahlequah, expressing concern and outrage over an Agreement In Principle with the state of Oklahoma relaxing much of the jurisdiction won in the McGirt Supreme Court decision two weeks ago.

One counselor, Wes Nofire, has proclaimed that the agreement was a “backdoor deal” done behind closed doors and sacrifices Cherokee Nation sovereignty in the name of getting along with the state.

The council was not consulted before it was announced the nation was participating in the agreement, Nofire said.

“You need to back off and sit down,” Native activist Suzan Shown Harjo said to Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin. “It is a sad day in Indian Country when one Native Nation is willing to sell out another because of some backroom dealing benefit.”

Some citizens are circulating a petition for the removal of Hoskin over the debacle.

UPDATE 2:04 P.M.: After the council meeting, the Cherokee Nation released the following:

“The leaders of the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations have been, and continue to be, committed to discussing the parameters of the historic Supreme Court decision in the McGirt case. These leaders agree that any path forward requires strong collaboration between the Five Tribes.

None of the leaders of the Five Tribes support eroding our sovereignty or turning back the recognition of our reservation achieved through McGirt. We feel that the leaders of each tribe understand that we must be engaged with the state Attorney General and members of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation if we are to have a meaningful voice in any legislative process that moves forward as a result of McGirt. Above all, each leader has a responsibility to the citizens we represent to protect our sovereignty.

Last week’s statement of principles began a discussion with state and federal stakeholders. Upon further reflection, and after obtaining feedback from the people we represent, leaders of the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations agree that more discussion is warranted with stakeholders and the general public. We remain committed to communicating with and responding to the stakeholders and tribal citizens about the statement of principles, and we are committed to take the time to do that. We remain deeply respectful of Chief Hill’s and Chief Chilcoat’s views on this matter on behalf of their respective nations, and we will continue to work with them on this issue.

The leaders of the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations are engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of issues surrounding tribal, state and federal jurisdiction in light of McGirt. We all agree that such discussion must address the parameters of criminal jurisdiction and potential impacts of the McGirt case on civil jurisdiction, and must involve members of Congress and state leaders. We are optimistic that the leadership of the Five Tribes will demonstrate the wisdom to remain engaged, in a unified manner, with stakeholders as we move forward cautiously and carefully on matters impacting the McGirt case.”

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herringshaw

Monday, July 20, 2020, 8:00 AM

Clint Lee Mullican

A man was shot and killed over the weekend near Summit, according to numerous emergency authorities.

The man, Clint Lee Mullican, was Native American and the slaying happened within the boundaries of the Creek Nation, so the FBI and the Creek Nation Lighthorse Patrol are investigating.

The suspect is Timmie Coleman, 36, according to emergency officials.

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sooner surplus 1541949930

Monday, July 20, 2020, 7:29 AM

Jon R. Malek, 65, of Broken Arrow drowned yesterday morning on Fort Gibson Lake, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Malek was operating a 1997 Concord boat just west of Sequoyah State Park around 10 a.m., when he stopped the vessel, jumped in the water to go swimming and immediately started struggling, according to family members.

The boat’s passenger, Margie L. Malek, 57, attempted to throw a float cushion to him, but windy conditions made the throw unsuccessful. Jon Malek was face-down, and Margie Malek started the boat after several attempts and was able to drive the boat to the victim, dive into the 27-foot-deep water and hold onto him until passersby were able to stop.

Malek was pulled from the water and transported on the boat to shore, where Wagoner County EMS was waiting. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was not wearing a personal flotation device.

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highers bonding

Friday, July 17, 2020, 3:16 PM

Despite an announcement yesterday by Oklahoma’s attorney general that the state and the Five Civilized Tribes had entered into an “Agreement in Principle” that would take the state’s judicial system back to the status quo before last week’s Supreme Court decision, two three of those five tribes have announced today that they are not on board with the “agreement.”

“The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is not in agreement with the proposed Agreement-in-Principle document released yesterday by the State of Oklahoma,” David W. Hill, principal chief of the Creek Nation, said today. “I very much believe that collaboration between federal, state and tribal governments is critical and necessary ... that collaboration, however, does not require congressional legislation. The Nation will continue to pursue all appropriate intergovernmental agreements to ensure public safety within its borders.”

The Seminole Nation also said it isn’t part of the “agreement”:

“The Seminole Nation has not formally approved the agreement-in-principle announced by the other four tribes. To be clear, the Seminole Nation has not been involved with discussions regarding proposed legislation between the other four tribes and the State of Oklahoma. Furthermore, the Seminole Nation has not engaged in any such discussions with the State of Oklahoma, including with the Attorney General, to develop a framework for clarifying respective jurisdictions and to ensure collaboration among tribal, state and federal authorities regarding the administration of justice across Seminole Nation lands.”

The Chickasaw Nation is currently working on a statement.

The Cherokee and Choctaw nations have not returned requests for comment.

The attorney general’s office has said it will send a clarification.

UPDATE 5:20 P.M.: The Choctaw Nation hedged on the announcement from the attorney general, saying the nation would not stand for any reduction of sovereignty:

“The Choctaw Nation, working in unity with leaders of other tribal nations, is actively shaping the congressional response to the historic McGirt ruling to ensure we preserve the magnitude and integrity of the monumental win in future federal legislation. We are looking at ways to expand our sovereignty with the McGirt decision while balancing meeting the needs of our citizens and the communities in which they reside. Our commitment is to strengthen not weaken our tribal hard-earned rights to self-government. The best way to protect this is by having a ‘seat at the table’ during any legislative discussions. Be assured, we will not acquiesce our rights to self-determination through our sovereignty to anyone or any government body. Working together, we stand the highest possibility to achieve historical advancements for our citizens and honor our ancestors who dreamed and fought for this day,” states Chief Gary Batton, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

That makes three of the five tribes walking back their nations’ involvement in the attorney general’s “Agreement in Principle.”

UPDATE 5:29 P.M.: The attorney general just released the following statement:

Attorney General Mike Hunter today released the following statement after the Muscogee (Creek) Nation withdrew from the agreement in principle for proposed federal legislation.

“Since the Murphy case went before the U.S. Supreme Court over two years ago, we have been meeting regularly with the Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations to discuss potential legislation, so Chief Hill’s statements today come as a stunning and regrettable reversal of commitments and assurances to me. This is neither in the best interest of the state of Oklahoma nor its tribal citizens. Legislation is necessary to clarify the criminal and civil uncertainty created by the McGirt decision. I am deeply disappointed in Chief Hill for withdrawing from this process. It is my hope that both the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the Seminole Nation will recommit to our agreement on legislation that preserves public safety and promotes continued economic growth.” – Attorney General Mike Hunter

The Cherokee Nation has issued a long statement that appears to affirm the nation’s desire to allow state courts to have at least partial jurisdiction over Natives. In effect, the agreement would codify the nation’s government’s freedom from state interference while allowing the state to have jurisdiction over its citizens. In part, it reads:

let me be clear about this— in developing legislation, Cherokee Nation will never agree to undo what ultimately the McGirt decision affirmed. We will protect our reservation boundaries and our sovereignty. As we always have, we will continue to work with the State of Oklahoma and our federal partners to ensure the safety of the public. ...

For decades, the Cherokee Nation has entered into cross-deputization agreements with Oklahoma towns, cities, counties and other law enforcement agencies. These agreements created a stable and comprehensive law enforcement presence both on and off the reservation. The decision in McGirt has not changed that: you should still call 9-1-1 in case of an emergency, and you will receive the same service as before the Court’s ruling.

Under the agreement in principle, a similar jurisdiction sharing would occur and affirm the tribe’ s sovereignty and jurisdiction throughout the reservation. Tribal courts will maintain criminal jurisdiction over individuals throughout the reservation boundaries. State courts will also have jurisdiction to enforce state criminal laws and arrest and prosecute both Indians and non-Indians who commit crimes on the reservation (emphasis added). By pooling our resources and sharing jurisdiction, communities across the reservation will be more safe and secure. This also ensures the offenders are held accountable for the crimes they commit on the reservation.

Under the agreement in principle, however, the civil jurisdiction of the Five Tribes is affirmed throughout the reservation. The tribal courts will retain jurisdiction to hear disputes between citizens, the Cherokee Nation may pass civil regulations within the reservation. This broad acknowledgment of tribal authority within the reservation boundary ensures that the Cherokee Nation’s sovereignty is protected.

...

This would mean that an Indian living on the reservation could still be required to follow state regulations that require any dog to be on a leash in a city park, for instance. But it would not permit state officials to dictate how the tribe governs itself, its own citizens, or its businesses.

You can read the entire Cherokee Nation statement here.

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simmons for sheriff

Friday, July 17, 2020, 8:42 AM

After last week’s landmark Supreme Court decision recognizing the sovereignty of the Five Civilized Tribes on tribal land covering most of eastern Oklahoma, the tribes and the state quickly collaborated on a joint agreement-in-principle urging Congress to pass legislation solidifying cooperation between the state and the tribes in legal matters.

The announcement was made in a press release from the state attorney general’s office. (UPDATE July 17, 3:26 P.M.: Two of the five tribe have said they are not involved in the agreement.)

“Unless Congress adopts it, it doesn’t mean anything,” an attorney familiar with the workings of the tribal justice system said. “If adopted, it ... means return to the status quo: the state would have criminal jurisdiction over all offenses regardless of Indian Status (as has been historic practice) while the tribes would be limited to offenses on trust land (as has been historic practice). It’s not at all what I expected.”

Only Congress can change the tenor of reality after the Supreme Court ruling, which gave tribes absolute jurisdiction over legal proceedings involving Natives inside the borders of the Five Tribes reservations. As it stands now, the state cannot try any cases involving Natives, and previous cases involving Natives are now subject to being overturned due to the court’s ruling.

If Congress adopts and passes the suggested agreement revealed late yesterday, the state would again have full legal authority and jurisdiction over everyone inside the borders of Oklahoma, while the tribes would have specific jurisdiction only over tribal trust lands, not the entire reservations.

Here is the text of the agreement:

With the Supreme Court cases of Sharp v. Murphy and McGirt v. Oklahoma in mind, the Five Tribes and the State of Oklahoma believe intergovernmental cooperation will best serve our shared interests in consistency, predictability, and a mutual respect for sovereign rights and interests. To this end, the Five Tribes and the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General (OAG) look forward to working with the U.S. Department of Justice and Oklahoma’s congressional delegation in crafting proposed legislation that generally (1) recognizes tribal sovereignty, jurisdiction, and the continued importance of the Five Tribes’ respective boundaries set out in treaties and statutes while (2) also affirming continuity of the State of Oklahoma’s jurisdiction within Eastern Oklahoma but outside of Indian trust or restricted lands (meaning, those lands held in trust by the United States on behalf of the Tribe or an individual Tribal member or citizen, restricted title lands, and Tribal treaty lands that have never been allotted), subject to limitations concerning Tribes and Tribal hunting, fishing, or water rights protected by treaty or other Federal law.

Accordingly, the Five Tribes and OAG today recommend to Oklahoma’s congressional delegation a set of principles that memorialize our shared position. Our goal is to see these principles implemented in appropriate Federal law for purposes of enhancing and clarifying respective State and Tribal jurisdiction, both criminal and civil, without limiting the jurisdiction or immunities of either the State or any Nation. We believe implementation of these principles will preserve sovereign interests and rights to self-government while affirming jurisdictional understandings, procedures, laws, and regulations that support public safety, our economy, and property rights.

  1. Criminal Jurisdiction: Presently, the Federal government has law enforcement jurisdiction within the Nations’ treaty territories. With respect to criminal matters, the legislation should:
    1. Affirm the Five Tribes’ criminal jurisdiction throughout their respective treaty territories over Indian offenders, as well as those non-Indian offenders over which federally-recognized tribes generally have jurisdiction in Indian country, such as domestic abusers covered by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013;
    2. Provide and affirm the State’s criminal jurisdiction over all offenders throughout that same area, including appropriate and legal mechanisms to address matters concerning existing convictions, with the exception of crimes involving Indians committed on Indian trust or restricted lands; and
    3. Authorize and direct the U.S. Department of Justice to coordinate with the State and Nations concerning deployment of law enforcement resources and respective authorities under the law.
  2. Civil Jurisdiction: With respect to civil jurisdiction, including the ability to legislate, regulate, tax, and adjudicate on non-criminal matters, legislation should:
    1. Affirm the Five Tribes’ civil jurisdiction throughout their respective treaty territories, to be exercised subject to Federal law that generally governs Tribal civil jurisdiction in Indian country. The Five Tribes would accordingly be affirmed in their civil jurisdiction over, for example, matters of self-government and their members but would remain subject to the Federal law that provides, as a general matter, that Tribes do not have civil jurisdiction over non-members outside Indian trust or restricted lands, as described above, except for (1) subject matters for which Federal law specifically grants Tribes jurisdiction; (2) activities of non-members that are part of a consensual relationship, such as contracts, with the Tribe; or (3) conduct of non-members that threatens Tribal self-governance or the economic security, health, or welfare of the Tribe.
    2. Provide and affirm the State’s civil jurisdiction over all persons throughout the treaty territories, except on Indian trust or restricted lands, but legislation would not grant the State jurisdiction to regulate or tax, directly or indirectly, any Tribe, Tribal official, or entities owned or operated by one of the Five Tribes. Also, the legislation would not affect jurisdiction over Tribal rights relating to hunting, fishing, or water that are protected by Federal law.
  3. General Provisions: In addition, the legislation should:
    1. Protect Tribal sovereignty and consistency in law enforcement by affirming that only the Nations will exercise Tribal jurisdiction within their respective treaty territory.
    2. Allocate resources sufficient to ensure public safety and effective law enforcement.

Each of these components would reaffirm or expand upon the Tribes’ and the State’s sovereign authorities and should not be read as limiting any authority possessed prior to legislation being enacted, including any sovereign immunity.

We recognize that details about how these broad principles will be worked out in particular situations will require further development. Accordingly, we believe the legislation should encourage the State and Nations to resolve any remaining concerns through intergovernmental compacting, while providing also that it does not alter or terminate any existing compact or other intergovernmental agreement between the State and one of the Five Tribes.

UPDATE 9:54 A.M.: Representatives of the executive branches from the Cherokee Nation and the Creek Nation have not yet returned calls for comment.

UPDATE 2:28 P.M.: Tribal members are hopping mad over the announcement via social media.

Longtime Cherokee advocate David Cornsilk did not mince words:

[W]e are at a crossroads similar to the place our ancestors found themselves at the birth of Oklahoma. Our ancestors voted to terminate their government and give everything to the new state. When their descendants realized the mistake and rebuilt our Nation from practically nothing, we dared not dream of this day, but knew in our hearts, our reservation remained intact. Now that the crossroads are in front of us, will we retreat in fear of our own power? Will we opt for the status quo because it’s the evil we know? Will we allow weak and cowering elected officials steal this from us and more importantly from our grandchildren? I say NO!

Cherokee Chief Chuck Hoskins has not returned requests for comment; neither has his press secretary or the press secretary for the Creek Nation.

“Our tribal members are so mad that our Chief after all the time and effort would even consider an agreement with the State of Oklahoma,” one Creek citizen said. “People are saying he needs to be impeached. No we do not have to agree to the State Attorney General and should not. The United States Supreme Court has made a ruling. ... Why ask Congress to legislate authority to the State? No tribe speaks for the Muscogee Nation and the majority of our people will not stand for this turning back to the jurisdiction of the State.”

The Seminole Nation issued an official statement that it is not involved in the agreement, which said it was between the Five Civilized Tribes and the state, of which the Seminoles are one.

The Seminole Nation has not formally approved the agreement-in-principle announced by the other four tribes. To be clear, the Seminole Nation has not been involved with discussions regarding proposed legislation between the other four tribes and the State of Oklahoma. Furthermore, the Seminole Nation has not engaged in any such discussions with the State of Oklahoma, including with the Attorney General, to develop a framework for clarifying respective jurisdictions and to ensure collaboration among tribal, state and federal authorities regarding the administration of justice across Seminole Nation lands.

“Before the Seminole Nation will consider any such framework, the Nation requires respectful and meaningful government-to-government discussions directly with the state. Until such government-to-government discussions occur, and the Nation has an opportunity to fully conduct its own due diligence to any such proposed legislation, the Seminole Nation does not consent to being obligated to an agreement between the other four tribes and the state. As always, the Seminole Nation is proud to be one of the Five Tribes and is eager to have a constructive discussion during this monumental time in our history.”

Chickasaw Nation spokesman Tony Choate said he will have a statement as soon as possible from his tribe.

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charlies chicken

Thursday, July 16, 2020, 9:30 AM

A group of Native Americans, citing last week’s Supreme Court ruling declaring the state of Oklahoma does not have the right to adjudicate cases involving Natives living inside the boundaries of Native reservations, has filed a class action lawsuit against the state and various district attorneys demanding the return of all fees and fines paid by Native defendants.

“For more than a century,” the suit states, “the State of Oklahoma and its political subdivisions have investigated, detained, charged, arrested, imprisoned, fined and otherwise taken large sums of money from Native American people without the authority of law.”

The suit further alleges that the taking of fines from Natives have “unjustly enriched” the state and its political subdivisions with “ill-gotten gains.”

The suit seeks refunds of fines and fees paid by Native defendants. No number other than “greater than $10,000” is specified.

You can read the suit here (pdf, < 1mb).

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coopers furniture 1582561260

Thursday, July 16, 2020, 8:09 AM

Last week’s Supreme Court decision recognizing that Native Americans living in the eastern part of Oklahoma are not subject to state law enforcement has trickled down to the Muskogee Police Department.

Cities derive their authority from the state, so the decision directly affects the Muskogee Police force.

“The City of Muskogee Police Department is actively engaged in working with Tribal, State and Federal authorities including Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police to ensure the rights of Native Americans are protected in light of the McGirt decision,” Muskogee Police Public Information Officer Lynn Hamlin said. “It will now be necessary during any enforcement contact, for an officer with the Muskogee Police Department to inquire whether an individual is an enrolled member of any federally recognized tribe.”

That requirement fits both victims and suspects in crimes, since the high court decision makes it clear that either one would trigger tribal jurisdiction.

“As all officers of the Muskogee Police Department are cross-deputized with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police, this information will, if the situation warrants, assist the officer in determining where jurisdiction for the matter lies,” she said. “Offenders of the law will still be prosecuted.”

The change is effective immediately.

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