Presidential Action Means Investments in Oklahoma Tribes

by Jackson Ingle

Major investments into Oklahoma’s tribes are on the way after the President’s actions last month. 

On Monday much of the nation’s attention was focused on President Joe Biden’s signing of the new Infrastructure bill. But the President made another move that could have a significant impact on Oklahomans.

The President signed an executive order that will work towards improving public safety and criminal justice for Native Americans. 

These orders were needed, in part, because of the attention grabbing Supreme Court decision in the 2020 McGirt vs Oklahoma case. The case ruled Congress never disestablished tribal reservation boundaries, which has resulted in a number criminal cases being transferred from Oklahoma state courts to federal courts. The decision has also led to political fallout and the state is still fighting to have the ruling overturned. 

In signing the new executive order, the President said the well being of Native Americans and their communities is important to him and is a topic his administration will be taking very seriously.

“More work is needed to address the crisis of ongoing violence against Native Americans — and of missing or murdered indigenous people” Biden said in the executive order.

In addition to criminal justice issues, the executive order addresses other issues impacting Tribal communities including goals for defeating COVID-19 and addressing high mortality rates that face those communities. It also includes support for financial recovery Tribal Nations, building physical and human infrastructure in Indian Country.

The President’s proposal also seeks to educate youth and help slow climate change

The order requires federal officials to become more involved with other law enforcement organizations in different tribes. The goal is to improve data and reporting about crimes within Tribal reservation boundaries.

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