SEMINOLE, Okla. (KFOR) — Tribes across Oklahoma are discussing what’s next after a driver was ticketed for having a tribal tag when she did not live in her tribal nation. The Seminole Nation held a meeting Friday night talking with tribal members and sharing their plan moving forward.
They shared multiple times that they would stand up for everyone in the tribe.
“We will try to fight for our tribal members and make sure that they are not going to be targeted,” said Tim Brown, an attorney.
Seminole Nation tribe members said they want clarity on tribal tags and driving in Oklahoma.
“It kind of disturbed me that we are getting in a situation so quickly. It would have been nice if we would have some warning,” said Leon Petete, a Seminole Nation Member.
“We’re going to continue to work with our neighbors across the board. And we would hope that leaders within the state of Oklahoma would also do that,” said Lewis Johnson, Seminole Nation Chief.
The Seminole Nation Business and Corporate Regulatory Committee shared what tribal members can do if they get pulled over.
“Ask the officer why you got stopped. Take a copy of the ticket and give it to the BCR. It will have the information that we need on there and we will forward it to our attorney general,” said the Business and Corporate Regulatory Committee.
They also reminded everyone to have updated car insurance and registration.
“It’s just bringing a whole bunch of confusion to the nation really. Everybody is really worried about what to do,” said Anthony Conely, a Seminole Nation Member.
With all the confusion, the Seminole Nation continued to make it clear they would handle anything that may impact a tribal member.
“The Seminole nation should have their back…and when I say that, I mean there has to be some action,” said Chief Johnson.
“I hope we reach a resolution and can maybe reach some type of compromise with the state of Oklahoma,” said Petete.
The full statement from The Seminole Nation Business and Corporate Regulatory Committee is below:
Other tribes in the state are weighing in as well.
“Please know this change was made without any consultation with the Osage Nation and without notice. The Osage Nation is working on multiple fronts to address the issue. Your safety and well-being is our top priority,” the Osage Nation wrote in a statement.
“Cherokee Nation is prepared to protect and defend its sovereign right to issue motor vehicle tags, which is embodied in a state-tribal compact,” stated Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
The Caddo Nation issued a statement as well saying it is working with their legal team to understand the issue and how it will affect Caddo Nation members with tribal tags.
The Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians said it is seeking intervention from the State Attorney General to pause this from happening until “cool heads can regain control of negotiations.”
“The Comanche Nation is actively addressing the tribal tag issue with the state of Oklahoma, working towards a resolution that aligns with tribal sovereignty and regulatory compliance,” stated the Comanche Nation.
The Otoe Missouria said, “This change was made without notice or consultation with all Tribes that operate vehicle tag registration. We are concerned about this change and are reviewing all legal options to address this issue. Once again, consultation and/or diplomacy with the tribal governments prior to this policy implementation would have been helpful to avoid this difficult situation.”