May 31, 2017
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — A United States District Court today ruled in favor of Cherokee Nation’s lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior to prevent 76 acres of land within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction from being taken into trust for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians without the Cherokee Nation’s written consent.
“This is a critical win for the Cherokee Nation because no issue is more important to our tribal government than preservation of our sovereign rights,” said Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree. “The court rightly deemed the BIA’s pursuit for trust land for another tribe within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction was illegal.”
Originally filed in 2014, the lawsuit sought to defend Cherokee Nation’s sovereign rights within its 14-county jurisdiction. The Eastern District Court ruled that DOI putting land into trust for the UKB or the UKB Corporation was a violation of treaties between the United States and the Cherokee Nation, and could not be done without the consent of the Cherokee Nation.
“The court saw the facts and decided justly. We have said time and time again, the Cherokee Nation is the only tribe that can exercise authority within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction,” Hembree said.