The Five Civilized Tribes’ inter-tribal council has released a rare joint statement on a US Senate candidate running to replace retiring Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma:
“It is disheartening to see a candidate who seeks to represent Oklahoma echoing shameful anti-tribal rhetoric that is altogether based on fearmongering and half-truths. Senate candidate Alex Gray needs to know that Oklahoma is strongest when our tribal nations are treated with respect and when elected leaders commit to working with us, rather than wasting resources and working to divide our state over issues that have been settled time and time again. That means tribal nations should always be at the table, and our sovereignty should always be respected. Candidates who seek to restrict our rights and disestablish our reservations, after the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed twice that they have always existed, do not deserve to represent our state. Mr. Gray and those who continue to seek to undermine tribal sovereignty are actually undermining all Oklahomans.
The facts are clear. Since the McGirt decision, tribal nations have focused on expanding our criminal justice systems to prosecute crimes, support victims and protect everyone on our reservations. Federal courts are also doing their part to ensure justice is served. As tribal nations, we are proud of our record of success in working closely with federal, state and local partners to meet our critical public safety priorities. Mr. Gray’s claims to the contrary are misleading at best.
Unfortunately, some politicians and candidates for office continue to create division and undermine cooperation by refusing to work with tribes as partners or by promising to attack established tribal sovereignty. Our hope is that those people, including Senate candidate Gray and Oklahoma Gov. Stitt, take time to better understand tribal history, which in Oklahoma pre-dates statehood. Then, they should focus on how we can work together moving forward. That would be the courageous and bold action to take as a candidate and as a political leader.”
- Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
- Muscogee Nation Principal Chief David Hill
- Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton
- Seminole Nation of Oklahoma Chief Lewis L. Johnson
- Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill
It is rare for the tribes to get involved in non-tribal politics, but with attacks on the McGirt opinion recognizing the continued existence of the Native reservations that consume most of eastern Oklahoma, their solidarity in opposing those attacks has produced unified opposition to those who seek to break those treaties and undo the progress the tribes have made.