'We Need One Set Of Rules': Gov. Stitt, Commission On Cooperative Sovereignty Deliver Report

Oct 22, 2020

On Thursday, Oklahoma's Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty delivered their first report to Governor Kevin Stitt.

The commission made up of business leaders, former politicians and representatives from the agriculture industry was formed just three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Muscogee (Creek) Nation was never disestablished.

When he created it, Stitt cited the need for one set of rules and regulations to help the state and the Tribes move forward. In its first report, The commission made five points about sovereignty, laws for the state and how the ruling will affect businesses.

"As governor, I represent members of all 39 tribes and all 4 million Oklahomans,” said Stitt. “This is why one set of rules is so essential to becoming a Top Ten state. These recommendations will help guide our response as we continue to work together with all stakeholders and provide clarity, fairness and unity for Oklahoma.”

Larry Nichols, co-founder of Devon Energy and chair of the commission says the McGirt decision has created uncertainty and that's not good for business.

"If you're getting ready to build a plant or drill an oil well or do any kind of commercial activity-if you don't know what the rules are, you're going to build that plant in some other state."

On Wednesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter released a plan to introduce federal legislation that would allow the state and tribes to compact on criminal jurisdiction matters.

Both Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill responded with criticisms of the commission's report and some of Stitt's remarks.

"The Governor’s recommendations sadly promote the radical arguments of the special interest supported Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), which recently called for the disestablishment of Indian reservations in Oklahoma," Hill said in a statement.

In a recent post, the OCPA called for Oklahoma's Congressional delegation to take up legislation to disestablish reservations of the Five Tribes.

"Governor Stitt cannot say he respects tribal sovereignty while also advocating that no role be left for tribal governments," said Hoskin Jr. "Oklahoma is one state, but the Cherokee Nation had a government-to-government relationship with the United States both before and after Oklahoma statehood. Governor Stitt claims to appreciate the role of tribes in Oklahoma's history, so it is difficult to understand why he cannot find any room for tribes in Oklahoma's future.”

Hill also criticized the Governor for not including any Tribal leaders or citizens on the commission calling it, "anti-Indian bias."

The Governor's commission is made up of 10 members which include energy executives, former legislators and representatives from the business community.

The full report can be read here.


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