OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – On March 30 students of the College of the Muscogee Nation brought in educated panelists to discuss the McGirt ruling in regards to meaningful research in the Indigenous community.
Phi Theta Kappa-Beta Chi Rho Chapter is an honor society at CMN. According to CMN Tribal Services Instructor and PTK Advisor Matthew Yates, there was an initiative in 2021 where they were trying to do meaningful research in regards to education. The McGirt Ruling impacted Indigenous communities and public education combined.
“One of our sources pointed out there was an intentional omission of this knowledge to the public,” Yates explained. “So the students were supposed to propose a solution, the panel was their answer to “how do we provide an educational event to the community?’
A little bit about the McGirt Ruling and what the panelists had discussed was about the 2020 Supreme Court ruled in McGirt v. Oklahoma by a vote of 5-4 that a large portion of eastern Oklahoma, which was reserved for the Creek Nation in the 19th century will remain a reservation.
Some topics discussed on the panel was about the criminal Indigenous cases, the Treaty of 1866 between the United States and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation used to influence the U.S. Supreme Court, how the ruling affected interagency cooperation with federal, state and local officials (law enforcement and political), tribal nation sovereignty and level of respect and recognition for tribal nations.
Panelists included former Chief James Floyd, Chief of the Lighthorse Department Richard Phillips, Author/Activist Rebecca Nagle and Chief of Staff Jeff Fife.
“With Chief Floyd in office during the initial pursuit of McGirt, it gave him a unique perspective that nobody has heard since he left office,” Yates said on the decision of choosing panelists. “We wanted to get multiple perspectives which is why we included Lighthorse Chief Phillips since he has knowledge of impacts of the ruling on law enforcement. We wanted a voice from someone in Executive Office currently so we brought in Chief of Staff Jeff Fife, and an outside multiple tribal perspective that’s why we had Rebecca Nagle.”
Yates explained how wonderful it was to see how many people showed up to support the idea of communicating information about ongoing things in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
“The panel was an accumulative effort, the college is a family so it wasn’t just the PTK members,” he said. “I was humbled that everyone pitched in to make this happen in short notice and confirm all the panelists. Everybody was working extra to make sure that it was well presented.”
To view video of the panel, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wezf8ZTHIGE.