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Oklahoma court recognizes Wyandotte Reservation, criminal jurisdiction

1892 map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories.
Rand McNally and Company
Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division
1892 map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has recognized that the Wyandotte Reservation was never disestablished.

The Wyandotte Reservation was founded in Northeast Oklahoma in 1867, after the tribe’s members were forcibly removed from the upper Midwest.

Steven Leon Fuller was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on Wyandotte land in 2022 but appealed his conviction. As a Cherokee Citizen, Fuller argued the DUI should be under tribal or federal jurisdiction, not the state’s.

That appeal hinges on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 McGirt v. Oklahoma decision, which affirmed the Muscogee Nation’s reservation was never disestablished, and its lands remain under tribal jurisdiction.

Last week, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed that the Wyandotte Reservation was never disestablished.

“The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals[...] affirmed what we already knew to be true: the Wyandotte Reservation — the seat of our government and the land on which our Ancestors sought refuge and created a home — continues to exist,” Wyandotte Chief Billy Friend said in a statement.

Wyandotte is the ninth tribal reservation to have its continuous existence recognized in Oklahoma post-McGirt. A total of 37 federally recognized tribal nations have land in Oklahoma.

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Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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