Tribes: Stitt will not renew fishing and hunting agreements with Cherokee, Choctaw Nations
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma (KFOR) – A long-standing agreement with two Native American tribes is coming to an end.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has announced that he will not renew permanent hunting and fishing agreements with the governments of the five tribes after they expire this year.
The agreements with the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations have been in place since 2016, but will now expire on December 31, 2021.
The Covenants were the first such state-tribal agreements in the country and provided millions of dollars to state conservation efforts.
âThis move is extremely disappointing, not only for Cherokee citizens who lose a program that Governor Stitt himself knew was a win-win, but for every Oklahoman who benefited from these deals and future generations who would have benefited from a federal funding to support wildlife management and conservation, âsaid Cherokee Nation Senior Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.â Unfortunately, this is in line with what we’ve seen from the governor since the McGirt Supreme Court decision . Whenever there is an opportunity to cooperate with the tribes – whether to keep criminals off the streets or for hunting and fishing rights – the governor has instead sought to undermine the collaboration and claim that McGirt created chaos. I promise the citizens of the Cherokee Nation that I will continue to aggressively defend our treaty rights and sovereignty against these attacks. “
âUnder previous administrations, hunting and fishing license agreements were a matter of routine. They clearly provided great financial and cultural benefit to both the state and the tribal members. Unfortunately, Governor Stitt has yet again decided to let his personal concerns trump what is best for the people he has been elected to represent, putting conflict before cooperation, âsaid the nation’s leader. Choctaw, Gary Batton. “We hope he changes his stance and respects tribal sovereignty while protecting wildlife, generating income and improving the quality of life for Oklahomans.”
âWe believe in the treaty rights of tribal nations,â said Muscogee Nation Senior Chief David Hill. “The state’s decision to end the hunting and fishing agreements with the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations is disappointing, especially since it only harms the state of Oklahoma, but the real intention is to belittle tribal sovereignty. “
âThe Chickasaws have a long history of having a close relationship with the land and a strong commitment to the responsible stewardship of our natural resources,â said Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. âWildlife conservation is an important aspect of our duty to protect and preserve our environment for future generations. Therefore, the Chickasaw Nation joins with the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole Nations in a collaborative effort to protect the hunting and fishing rights of our citizens while preserving the abundant wildlife of Oklahoma for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.
âThe 1866 Treaty between the United States and the Seminole Nation guaranteed the Seminole possession of their lands and protection from enemies in exchange for peace,â said Lewis Johnson, leader of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. âThe Seminole Nation from time immemorial has supported tribal sovereignty and remains at peace with other Indian tribes and supports our compatriots in calling for the methods and tactics of the Governor of the State of Oklahoma to end acts of hostility against tribal sovereignty. It is time for the governor to change his approach to tribal rights and instead focus on what is best for the people of Oklahoma and recognize the value of tribal partnerships. Seminoles will always defend tribal rights and sovereignty.
The Cherokee Pact generated over $ 32 million and the Choctaw Pact was worth $ 6 million.
The leaders of the Cherokee and Choctaw nations also sent letters to the governor’s office, linked here and here, about the decision.
KFOR has contacted Governor Stitt’s office for comment but has yet to receive a response.
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