Patrick B. McGuigan, The City Sentinel
Oklahoma City – In a shocking turn of events, Seminole Nation Chief Greg P. Chilcoat has issued a statement saying the tribal nation he leads was not involved in discussions for a widely touted “agreement-in-principle” about tribal and state legal jurisdictions in the wake of ‘McGirt v. Oklahoma.’
Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office, in a press release Thursday (July 16) said the five major Oklahoma tribes were involved in asserted negotiations with “the state of Oklahoma.”
Chief Chilcoat’s statement, sent to The City Sentinel and other news organizations, asserted: “[T]he Seminole Nation has not formally approved the agreement-in-principle announced by the other four tribes. To be clear, the Seminole Nation has not been involved with discussions regarding proposed legislation between the other four tribes and the State of Oklahoma. Furthermore, the Seminole Nation has not engaged in any such discussions with the State of Oklahoma, including with the Attorney General, to develop a framework for clarifying respective jurisdictions and to ensure collaboration among tribal, state and federal authorities regarding the administration of justice across Seminole Nation lands.
“Before the Seminole Nation will consider any such framework, the Nation requires respectful and meaningful government-to-government discussions directly with the state. Until such government-to-government discussions occur, and the Nation has an opportunity to fully conduct its own due diligence to any such proposed legislation, the Seminole Nation does not consent to being obligated to an agreement between the other four tribes and the state. As always, the Seminole Nation is proud to be one of the Five Tribes and is eager to have a constructive discussion during this monumental time in our history.”
This reporter has previously asked the attorney general’s office for details about recent statements that office has made concerning discussions between Hunter’s office and the tribes.
Today, a new question was sent to the Attorney General’s office with earlier questions re-asked. This reporter wrote to a member of Hunter’s communications staff: “Please provide a timely explanation for how the Chief’s statement can be reconciled with the press release the attorney general’s office circulated yesterday.
“I have several previous unanswered questions relating to the McGirt case and its aftermath. Although I am sure you have those, to be helpful I am submitting them again below.
“The unanswered questions are (in italics below):
“Was the governor of Oklahoma consulted or informed beforehand concerning yesterday’s press release?
“Was the governor of Oklahoma consulted or informed beforehand concerning the ‘agreement in principle’ referenced in the July 16 press release?
“Were any of the smaller tribal nations consulted or informed before issuance of the press release of July 16 or the referenced ‘agreement in principle’?
“My previous questions from July 9, reworded to reflect the passage of time, remain:
I am curious as to whether or not any of the smaller tribal nations were consulted before issuance of this morning’s press release [or the first release on July 9]?
In the July 9 press release, did the reference to “The State of Oklahoma” include the governor of the state of Oklahoma?
“Thank you for prompt attention to my new question about the Seminole’s chief’s statement, the questions posed yesterday, and the questions posed one week ago.”