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Chair Grijalva on McGirt Ruling: Taking Laws and Treaties at Face Value is Overdue, and This is Part of Our Country’s Long Reckoning With Its Racist Past

07.09.20

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement on today’s Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which holds that much of the Eastern portion of Oklahoma is still a part of “Indian country” because Congress never changed the terms of longstanding treaties to that effect. 

“Our country is in the middle of a reckoning with its violent, racist past and the human consequences of ignoring that past. By taking the relevant laws and treaties at face value, in itself an overdue act of social responsibility, the Supreme Court advanced that reckoning in an important way today. As the Court powerfully wrote in today’s ruling, ‘Unlawful acts, performed long enough and with sufficient vigor, are never enough to amend the law.’ Our form of government is based on the principle that power alone – political, financial or otherwise – does not put one above the law. The same holds true for the government itself. Today’s ruling should push state and federal entities to reject and make amends for the centuries of paternalism, violence and neglect they have perpetrated against Native Americans. This decision is not the end of that process, it’s the beginning, and I look forward to exercising this Committee’s authority to help build a more respectful and successful place for Indian Country in the United States.”

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