Opinion: Tribal sovereignty at stake in Oklahoma
"It has been a long-standing policy among the different tribes in Oklahoma, as well as tribes in the United States, to maintain areas of jurisdiction within their own tribal boundaries. Whether this is a written law, policy or a gentleman's agreement does not matter.

When the Choctaw Nation crossed the Arkansas River to purchase the Blue Ribbon Downs Race Track in Sallisaw, it flagrantly violated observation of another tribe's jurisdictional area of operation.

It was public knowledge that the Cherokee Tribal Council had authorized Principal Chief Chad Smith to bid on the property when the bidding date was set. The Choctaw Nation, without prior notice to the Cherokee Nation of their intentions, plunked down $1.25 million more than some estimates valued the racetrack. This was an offer the owners could not refuse.

The Choctaw Nation's actions may have damaged the good working relations among the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Tribes that has worked well for some 50 or 60 years. Consider the message the other tribes in Oklahoma are getting about properties in another tribal jurisdiction that they may want to purchase."

Get the Story:
John A. Ketcher: Sovereignty is at stake (The Cherokee Phoenix 11/20)