TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — A year ago today, a ruling from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) recognized that the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision applied to the Cherokee Nation, thereby affirming that the Cherokee Reservation was never disestablished.

In recognition of this milestone, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued the following statement:

“Over the past year, the Cherokee Nation has celebrated the confirmation of our sovereignty while taking every effort to meet our expanded public safety responsibilities. I am tremendously grateful to all the Cherokee Nation employees who have worked hard to expand our justice system and ensure we can support victims and provide a blanket of protection to everyone living on our reservation.

“Unfortunately, attacks on our sovereignty did not end with McGirt. While the Supreme Court rejected the political attempts to overturn its decision, it is critical that we continue to speak out for our rights and for our land. I look forward to continuing to work with our federal, state and local partners, as well as with all Cherokee citizens, to build a better and safer future for everyone.”

The Cherokee Nation has invested $30 million in fiscal year 2022 expanding its criminal justice system, upgraded criminal codes and maintained public safety within the 7,000-square mile Cherokee Nation Reservation.

Cherokee Nation’s Public Safety Achievements include the following:

  • Number of cases filed in Cherokee Nation District Court: 3,699 
  • Additional Prosecutors hired: 8 
  • Office of Attorney General Staff added 38 employees (prosecutors, investigators, probation officers, paralegals, clerks, juvenile justice and One Fire Victim Services)
  • Additional Judges hired: two
  • Cherokee Nation District Court staff added: four court clerks 
  • Additional Marshals hired: 13
  • Cross Deputation agreements in place: 90
  • Municipality agreements: 18
  • Detention contract agreements in place: 13 counties, two municipalities and two juvenile facilities. 
  • Jury Trials: around 75 cases through pre-trial, two juries were impaneled.
  • New Infrastructure: Juvenile Court Office in Muskogee and coming soon court in Jay
  • New programs, dockets added: Domestic Violence/Batterers Intervention Program review docket, Victim Protective Order docket, delinquent docket, truancy docket 

A report providing additional information on the Cherokee Nation's work over the past year to expand its criminal justice capabilities can be found linked here.