THE INDIAN LAW BOMBSHELL: MCGIRT V. OKLAHOMA

ROBERT J. MILLER, Torey Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

On July 9, 2020, the United States Supreme Court held by a five-four vote that the borders of the 1866 Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation in Oklahoma remain intact. The decision landed like a bombshell. Overnight, the Muscogee (Creek) Reservation was reaffirmed and recognized as covering 3.25 million acres. The entire area is once again recognized as "Indian Country," as defined by federal law. One million Oklahomans discovered that they now live on an Indian reservation, including 400,000 people in the city of Tulsa. The United States, Oklahoma, and Oklahomans will now have to deal with numerous and complex issues involving Muscogee (Creek) Nation jurisdiction over an enormously larger expanse of land and population than was previously assumed. This case has crucially important implications that will involve the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, other tribes in Oklahoma, and tribes across the country in future negotiations, lawsuits, and perhaps legislative efforts to address the issues that will arise. McGirt v. Oklahoma is likely the most significant Indian law case in well over 100 years. In this Article, we examine McGirt in-depth and we then focus our attention on its future ramifications for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, federal Indian law, the United States, Indian nations in Oklahoma, the State of Oklahoma, and Indian nations and peoples across the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2049-2104
Number of pages56
JournalBoston University Law Review
Volume101
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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