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Journey to Wellness: "I think it will make a difference on some of these cases."

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On the far end of the Trail of Tears was a promise. Forced to leave their ancestral lands in Georgia and Alabama, the Creek Nation received assurances that their new lands in the West would be secure forever. In exchange for ceding“all their land, East of the Mississippi river,” the U. S. government agreed by treaty that “[t]he Creek country west of the Mississippi shall be solemnly guarantied to the Creek Indians. Both parties settled on boundary lines for a new and “permanent home to the whole Creek nation,” located in what is now Oklahoma.  The government further promised that“[no] State or Territory [shall] ever have a right to pass laws for the government of such Indians, but they shall be allowed to govern themselves.”

Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said other-wise, we hold the government to its word. ~Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch

Thursday's Supreme Court ruling  does not means the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is getting most of Oklahoma back.

But even though Tadd Johnson, the head of UMD's Masters of Tribal Administration and Governance program and an expert in federal Indian law, says it's important to keep the issues of criminal jurisdiction separate from land ownership in this case, he says the the decision could be an important precedent, including in some cases from Minnesota and Wisconsin moving through the courts right now.

You can read the full text of the 1835 Treaty at New Echota, Georgia here.

You can read the statement of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in response to the ruling here.

You can read the complete text of Justice Gorsuch's opinion, and dissenting opinions, here.

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