Byline: Kaylea Berry/Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — A Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council Land, Natural Resources and Cultural Preservation Committee meeting was held on March 22 at the Mound Building in Okmulgee.
The following grant program was approved through LNC:
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Church and Ceremonial Ground Grant: Alabama Coushatta Indian Baptist Church – Bobbie Joslin $38,445.00. Committee passed 4-0.
All passed legislation is subject to full council approval during the regular session.
LNC addressed the following legislation, the interpretation of which is attributed to language in the bills:
TR 22-137 Authorizing the Principal Chief to execute an agreement for gas installation by the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company for the Three Ponds Elderly Housing project. Representative Galen Cloud sponsored the legislation, which passed 4-0.
The construction of the Three Ponds Elderly Housing Project includes installing pipelines for natural gas utility services for residences. To do so, the Nation has to agree to gas installation by Oklahoma Natural Gas Company.
TR 22-138 Approving the construction contract for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Housing. Representative Galen Cloud sponsored the legislation, which passed 4-0.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Housing requests approval for one construction contract with MacHill Tribal Construction, LLC, to build four homes (two in Henryetta and two in Wetumka). MCNCA Title 24, 2-102 requires contracts for day-to-day operations or goods and services above $250,000 to be approved in writing by the Principal Chief and Tribal Resolution of the National Council. The total cost for constructing the four homes is $1,010,618.
TR 22-139 Supporting the 574 Tribal Prayer – Gathering of the Sacred Nations. Representative Mark Randolph sponsored the legislation, which passed 4-0.
In seeking the Creator’s intervention for our people and laws currently in the history, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation agrees that this land belongs to the Creator, and Creator has given the Indigenous Tribes spiritual authority to speak to it and address issues in this land. MCN stands together in authority the Creator gave to effect spiritual change that will cause change to come to the physical situations in this land. MCN comes into an agreement for the Creator to release blessing and prosperity for our people. MCN agrees that divisions, racism, and civil and political unrest will cease, and the Creator will bring people together to lay a foundation for future generations. MCN agrees in prayer that the Creator will heal the deep wounds inflicted upon our people by the colonization process of those who came into this land from Europe. Agrees and releases that forgiveness that will bring healing, and we release justice into the land.
NCA 22-099 Creating a new Chapter 12, entitled “Forestry Management and Fencing Act” in MCNCA Title 28 “Land and Minerals.” Representative Galen Cloud sponsored the legislation, which passed 4-0.
The Forestry Management and Fencing Act, codified as Chapter 12 in Title 28, will benefit the Nation and its citizens as a whole by protecting restricted and trust property, defining boundaries, and raising the value of restricted and trust property being serviced.
The purpose is to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the Nation and to minimize private and public losses due to forest wildfire or loss of lands through adverse possession by provisions designed to:
- Protect human life and death;
- Minimize expenditure of public money for costly wildfires damaging restricted and trust lands of the Nation and its citizens;
- Minimize the need for costly legal services for claims of adverse possession of restricted and trust lands of the Nation and its citizens; and
- Institute preventative measures minimize damage to public and private facilities and utilities that potential wildfires may cause.
The methods used to accomplish its purposes are:
- Maintaining and improving the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests to meet the needs of current and future generations;
- Managing vegetation, restoring ecosystems, reducing hazards, and maintaining forest health; and
- Installing fencing from start to finish on restricted and trust properties to reduce claims of adverse possession and clearly define the Nation’s and its citizens’ landowner boundaries.
The Forestry Management and Fencing Program will also be able to harvest wood for Tribal citizens and to sell to local entities. The program will set up a Revolving Fund before beginning the sale of harvested timber to local entities.
The program will be funded through the Comprehensive Annual Budget annually for the administration, professional staff, equipment, and operation; the Bureau of Indian Affairs will assist with up to $50,000. The program operates under the management and direction of the MCN Realty Trust Services. The Act is effective immediately.
Four additional legislations were added after the Order of Business:
TR 22-142 Authorizing the Principal Chief to execute a Memorandum of understanding with Sac and Fox Nation, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, and the United States Department of the Interior on behalf of its environmental programs to create the Wilcox Oil Company Superfund Site Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Trustee Council. Representative Joseph Hicks sponsored the legislation, which passed 4-0.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Sac and Fox Nation, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, and the United States Department of Interior seek to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding to recognize their shared interests in and responsibilities for natural resources. Article VI, 7(b) of the MCN Constitution requires National Council Approval of any agreement with a federal, state, or local government entity.
The National Council granted a limited waiver of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s sovereign immunity from suit with respect to specific enforcement of the Memorandum of Understanding. Nothing in the limited waiver of sovereign immunity shall be construed as allowing any award of punitive or exemplary damages against the MCN. For the limited purpose of enforcement of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s obligations established under the MoU, and shall not be construed as granting a waiver to obtain a court judgment or order requiring payment from, delivery of, or otherwise affect any other fund or assets of the MCN, or any real property, personal property or chattels of the MCN or any entities, agencies or political subdivisions of the MCN, or any funds belonging to, owed to, owned by, held in trust for, administered by or under the control of the MCN or any entities, agencies or political subdivisions of MCN.
TR 22-143 Amendment to TR 19-076 (Suspending all special appropriations and donations) as amended by TR 20-150, TR 21-080, and TR 22-128. Representative Nelson Harjo Sr. sponsored the legislation, which passed 4-0.
There was a need to amend TR 19-076 to allow donations to the MSW Indian Baptist Association, Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, and Muskogee Oklahoma Native American Association (MONAA).
The Nation must immediately suspend all special appropriations and donations, with the exception of special appropriations for Hickory Ground Ceremonial Ground, a one-time special appropriation for Duck Creek Indian Community if NCA 21-055 is enacted, a one-time donation to Rock the Native Vote if NCA 22-085 is passed and a one-time donation to the MSW Indian Baptist Association and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference if NCA 22-102 is enacted and a one-time donation to MONAA if NCA 22-103 is enacted until this Tribal Resolution is repealed.
NCA 22-102 A Muscogee (Creek) Nation law amending MCNCA Title 5, 2-115 entitled “Funding” to allow donations to the MSW Indian Baptist Association and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. Representative Nelson Harjo Sr. sponsored the legislation, which passed 3-1.
This amendment shall be codified in Title 5 21-115 of the Code of the MCN laws. The Attorney General is hereby authorized: (1) to approve any changes related to how sections, articles, chapters, and subchapters are designated consistent with the format in the Code of Laws published in 2010 by West Publishing Company; (2) to include footnoted references to the legislative history in said pocket parts to the Code of Laws; and (3) to note in said pocket parts any editorial correction of minor clerical or grammatical errors in the following amendment, without further National Council approval:
- For FY 2022, funds that have not been encumbered or utilized as of September 23, 2022, from 2-115 A.6., shall be used for donations to the MSW Indian Baptist Association of $182,940.00 and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference in the amount of $50,800.00. This subsection C. shall only apply to the time limit in this section.
NCA 22-103 Authorizing a donation to Muskogee Oklahoma Native American Association (MONAA). Representative Mary Crawford sponsored the legislation, which passed 4-0.
The Act’s purpose is to authorize a donation to MONAA of $2,000.00. MONAA Secretary Margrett Kelley is accountable for the funds allocated by submitting original receipts to the Office of Controller within thirty (30) days after the 2022 Indigenous Peoples Day Events have concluded.
Meetings and agendas can be viewed at www.mcnnc.com.