Letter to the editor

Phillip Smith

Taking issue with McGirt decision

Dear Editor,

Osiyo. The McGirt decision strips away rights from Native Americans in Oklahoma.

There is no federal Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground law. If you shoot a home invader you could be charged with murder. Tribal courts don't prosecute major felony crimes. You will be tried by a federal court under the 1885 Major Crimes Act. This is a step back to the 19th century when our ancestors weren't considered US citizens!

Recently, a young Native man was shot on the hiking trail that runs through Sperry. The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office refused to investigate once it found out the victim was an Indian (the FBI took over). We are again becoming second-class citizens in our own communities.

The McGirt decision hinges on an intellectually dishonest assertion that there are still established reservations in Oklahoma. Our land was distributed into private ownership by allotment. Even on restricted "Indian Land" no Native American is reserved there. Even in Osage County, where the tribe still has collective ownership of mineral rights, Native Americans are free to come and go as we please.

The McGirt decision granted us no rights; it only takes them away. 

Phillip Smith