MCGIRT V. OKLAHOMA: ENFORCING INDIAN TREATIES AND COLLECTIVE TITLES TO INDIAN LANDS
Becerra Valdivia, Katherine
One of the most important modern United States’ Supreme Court cases involving indigenous politics centers on the problem of defining criminal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court’s decision in McGirt v Oklahoma advanced the principle that both U.S. state and federal governments must abide by longstanding treaty agreements with tribal nations, strengthening —tangentially— the collective titles to Indian lands. If an Indian reservation is to be suppressed, it must come via an explicit act of Congress, not the will of state or local governments. The immediate consequences of this decision are a renewed sense of legal duty toward treaty obligations for the United States and the reinvigoration of Muscogee (Creek) Nation jurisdiction over tribal lands, including over non-indigenous people. In the long run, this case stands to open doors for other tribal nations to challenge state absorption of tribal jurisdictions.
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