Oklahoma governor warns murderers get away with pretending to be Native Americans
Oklahoma’s governor has warned that criminals are trying to avoid jail time by claiming Native American ancestry, putting them beyond the reach of state law.
Kevin Stitt told Tucker Carlson that he got himself a Native American card, which he said was a sign of how easily the system could be exploited.
He told Carlson that “literally half of our state” is now off-limits to state law enforcement thanks to the July 2020 ruling, which he says is causing an increase in crime.
Indigenous peoples who commit crimes on Oklahoma’s Eastern Reservation, which includes much of Tulsa, cannot be prosecuted by state or local law enforcement and must instead face justice in courts. tribal or federal.
Murders in his state rose 15.3% year-on-year, data released in December showed, and aggravated assaults rose 10.3%. Violent crime as a whole rose 6.6%, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reported.
The 49-year-old Republican said the situation was “a real mess right now for Oklahoma.”
“We have death row inmates doing 23andme DNA testing to try to have their convictions overturned,” Stitt said.
Kevin Stitt, the Republican governor of Oklahoma, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show Wednesday night to discuss the impact of a 2020 Supreme Court ruling on his state
Stitt said the problem started with the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in the landmark case of McGirt v. Oklahoma.
Jimcy McGirt, a member of the Muscogee Nation, also known as the Creek Nation, was convicted of child sex crimes by the State of Oklahoma within the historic Creek Nation boundaries.
He was sentenced to life in prison on state charges after he raped a four-year-old child in 1996.
McGirt argued that Oklahoma could not exercise jurisdiction over him because, under India’s Major Crimes Act, any crime involving a Native American victim or perpetrator, or occurring within recognized reservation boundaries, is subject to federal jurisdiction and not state jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court ruled in McGirt’s favor, citing an 1856 treaty that barred the state from having jurisdiction over tribal lands.
In August, McGirt, now 72, was sentenced to life in prison for abusing the girl.
Still, the case he took to the Supreme Court is now having a big ripple effect, and Stitt said it’s dangerous.
“Basically it all started when McGirt, who was a child rapist, showed his Indian card and had his conviction overturned,” Stitt told Carlson.
He pointed out that large swaths of land in Oklahoma were now classified as tribal lands.
Stitt said nearly half of Oklahoma’s land, shown on the map with tribal reservations to the east of the state, was now outside of state jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court found the state had no criminal jurisdiction over the territory — home to nearly 775,000 people and parts of its second-largest city, Tulsa — because Congress never formally dissolved the boundaries of reservation when Oklahoma became a state in 1907.
The lands are owned by five Native American groups: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole and Muscogee Nation.
The Cherokee, with 392,000 members, were the largest of the 574 federally recognized Indian tribes until last year when it was overtaken by the Navajo Nation, which has 399,500 members.
Stitt said the 2020 ruling wreaked havoc on his state, putting much of the land out of state jurisdiction.
“If you haven’t been to Oklahoma in a while, it’s literally half our state,” Stitt told Carlson.
“Think of Tulsa with a million people – now we have changed the rules.
“The state, if there is an Indian involved, has lost jurisdiction to prosecute these crimes.
“Our police have lost their jurisdiction.”
Jimcy McGirt has been in prison since 1997 for sexually abusing a four-year-old girl. He challenged the right of the State of Oklahoma to prosecute him, as a carded member of a Native American tribe. His case went to the Supreme Court and in July 2020 he won, but he remained in jail and was sentenced to life on federal charges.
He said it was too easy to claim an indigenous identity card, which guarantees you rights as a citizen of the tribe.
Different groups have different rules.
The Navajo Nation requires members to be at least one-fourth Navajo, unlike tribes like the Cherokee who waive a quantum specific blood requirement in favor of citizenship based largely on Cherokee ancestry.
For Stitt, he could obtain citizenship because he could trace his ancestry to someone whose name appeared on the 1906 “Dawes Roll” – a list of people accepted between 1898 and 1914 by the Dawes Commission as as members of the five tribes of the region.
Stitt’s ancestor, Francis Dawson, is accused of paying to be included on the list, High Country News reported – an allegation Stitt himself has strongly denied.
But on Wednesday night he admitted the ties could be tenuous.
“When you think who’s in it, you could be a 500th, an 11,000th,” he said.
“I have my Indian card. My six blond-haired, blue-eyed children, they all have their Indian cards.
“You can’t tell who’s an Indian and who’s not an Indian in the eastern part of Oklahoma.”
Carlson remarked, “It’s on the basis of race! Depending on the racial category you fall into, you are treated differently by law enforcement. Sounds like that’s what you’re saying.
Stitt replied, “That is absolutely correct. Cases across the state.
He referred to the April 2021 release of Daniel Vivier, one of three people convicted of the 2011 beating and robbery of an 85-year-old man.
“A case I would like to highlight, Daniel Vivier,” said Stitt.
“Three bad guys beat an 85-year-old man almost to death, robbed him, stole his truck.
“One of them showed him the Indian map. He got out of jail.
“The other two are still in prison. It is not equal protection under the law.
“One guy got out because of race and the other two are still in jail.”
Oklahoma, with 7.62% of its citizens identifying as Native American, has the fourth highest population in the United States.
Alaska has the highest rate, at 14.89%, followed by New Mexico and South Dakota.
New Hampshire, at just 0.15%, has the lowest percentage of Native Americans.