OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – After years of waiting with baited breath, the Oklahoma Supreme Court finally began to hear opening arguments in the Stroble v. Oklahoma Tax Commision case that will determine whether Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizens that live in the MCN jurisdictional boundaries will legally have to pay taxes to the state. Opening arguments began on Wednesday, Jan 17.
The MCN citizen suing the tax commission is Alicia Stroble. In 2022 Stroble was handed a victory when an administrative law judge for the Oklahoma Tax Commission ruled that she was exempt from paying state income taxes. The tax commission rejected this decision, which resulted in Stroble filing an appeal that would gain support from the Five Civilized Tribes.
Not only is Stroble a MCN citizen who works for her tribe, she also lives within her tribe’s jurisdictional boundary as well. Throughout this case Stroble has worked for her tribe as the Secretary of the MCN National Council. She was recently reelected as the council’s secretary in an emergency session held on Jan. 8.
The Nation was granted permission to participate in opening arguments before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Principal Chief Hill issued a statement on behalf of the MCN, who filed a joint amicus brief with Seminole Nation in support of Stroble in the case.
“Laws related to taxation of income earned by tribal citizens who both reside and earn that income on a reservation have been settled for decades, but the State of Oklahoma has chosen to ignore those laws. It should concern every resident of Oklahoma that the state feels like it can pick and choose when to follow the law. Today, it’s Alicia Stroble, tomorrow it will be someone else if the state is not held accountable. The State is not above the law, and it is our hope that this case will ensure the Oklahoma Tax Commission recognizes that,” Principal Chief David Hill said.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation contends that the state tax commissions’ claim of authority to tax tribal citizens residing and working in Indian Country undermines tribal sovereignty and contradicts decades of established law.
The decision to be handed down in Stroble v. Oklahoma Tax Commission will leave a big impact on tribal sovereignty, federal law and tax obligations on behalf of all federally-recognized tribal citizens who live within their tribe’s jurisdictional boundaries in the state.
Mvskoke Media live streamed opening arguments made before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and has been following updates in the case. An interview with Stroble’s lawyer in the case, Mike Parks can be found on Mvskoke Media’s Youtube channel.
The full opening arguments in the case can be found in the link below.