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IPFS News Link • Courtroom and Trials

What the Landmark Supreme Court Decision Means for Policing Indigenous Oklahoma

•, By Stacy Leeds

Lately, we've heard a lot about the notion of "lawlessness" and the need to restore "law and order" within the United States. For Indigenous nations, "law and order" has a particularly loaded past. Tribes have watched the United States, a country that prides itself on the rule of law, systematically disregard its own laws, unilaterally abrogate its own treaties, and, at times, disregard the decisions of its own Supreme Court.

The "Five Tribes" in eastern Oklahoma—Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Cherokee Nation, Choctaw Nation, Chickasaw Nation, and Seminole Nation—share a common history where external narratives and scare tactics of "lawlessness" inside tribal jurisdictions have been invented and recycled to justify incursions on tribal sovereignty and limit Indigenous autonomy. It is necessary, so the story goes, to bring in non-native police powers and non-native legal institutions for the sake of bringing law and order to Indian Country.