The Council of the Cherokee Nation unanimously approved Monday a resolution authorizing the tribe to sign agreements with city municipalities within the Cherokee Nation Reservation to donate revenue from traffic and misdemeanor citations of ticketed Natives back to those municipalities. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said the tribe wants city municipalities to succeed, and not lose funding sources after the July 2020 McGirt ruling and subsequent Hogner ruling.
The McGirt and Hogner decisions acknowledged the state has no jurisdiction over Natives committing crimes on the Cherokee Nation Reservation. Since the Hogner ruling in March 2021, when Natives are ticketed for speeding or are issued other fines for traffic or misdemeanor offenses in cities within the reservation by municipal law enforcement, those agencies send the fines to the Cherokee Nation.
“We don’t want the cities around us to lose important revenue streams that help pay salaries and make city upgrades on the heels of the McGirt decision,” Chief Hoskin said. “These agreements will give our partners, who help us with law and order on the reservation, the cushion to continue helping their communities. These agreements will also ensure that our local law enforcement partners continue to provide needed policing to our communities.”
The agreement will be in effect for one year and will allow the municipality to retain all fees and fines except for a small fee that will be sent to the tribe, which will be equal to the current fee the municipality remits to the state on traffic and misdemeanor tickets.