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Modoc Nation says Northeast Oklahoma reservation never disestablished in wake of McGirt

The seal of the Modoc Nation
Modoc Nation
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The seal of the Modoc Nation.

Update: The Modoc Nation filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss their complaint against Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond and Doug Pewitt, the DA in Ottawa and Delaware Counties. The notice was filed in the Northern District of Oklahoma and is dated Oct. 12.

Attorneys for the Modoc Nation say the State of Oklahoma is improperly prosecuting Indigenous people on their reservation.

They recently filed a complaint in federal court against the state and Attorney General Gentner Drummond.

The Modoc Nation cites six cases that were brought before the local courts in Northeast Oklahoma between 2019 and 2021 that involved Native defendants who had their cases dismissed because the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals found the state lacked jurisdiction under McGirt v. Oklahoma to prosecute them.

They also claim that the Modoc Nation Reservation was never disestablished.

Lawyers for the tribal nation say Drummond is ignoring those dismissals and has ordered local prosecutors to prosecute cases involving Native people under the 2022 Castro-Huerta ruling. They cite letters sent to local District Attorneys from the Attorney General's Office.

The Modoc Nation is asking to halt prosecutions of Native people on Native land and are asking that their reservation be deemed never disestablished.

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Updated: October 19, 2023 at 7:42 AM CDT
Allison Herrera covered Indigenous Affairs for KOSU from April 2020 to November 2023.
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