TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – Chaos erupted in Tulsa as Gov. Kevin Stitt, local district attorneys and law enforcement met to talk about the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision.
Stitt ended the event almost an hour early.
“The whole point is when you’re a victim, you didn’t ask to be a victim, so we wanted to give them the quickest information as they could have so they could make the best-informed decisions so they could handle what has happened to them,” said Steve Kunzweiler, Tulsa County District Attorney.
But native protesters say no one was “best informed” because native tribes weren’t included at all.
Chief David Hill of the Muscogee Creek Nation released a statement, saying in part, “One sided political campaigns like the one being held here tonight do not promote healing or progress for anyone. Had an official invitation been extended, we would have welcomed the invitation.”
A member of the governor’s communications team tweeted an email sent back in June, inviting the Chickasaw and Cherokee Nation’s to the event, writing their participation would be key.
But Tuesday night, no one from any tribe appeared on the panel. Instead, protesters filled the room.
“We’ve got 3.6 million non-Natives in the state of Oklahoma. We need to keep all Oklahomans safe and we put this panel on for victims,” Stitt said.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin responded to the event, saying in part, “While it is unfortunate that some of our political leaders are focused on flashy headlines, regardless of what is actually best for victims and regardless of what is actually backed by fact, we will continue our important work. The victims in the cases dismissed or retried deserve our full and unwavering support.”
“I don’t think there was anything accomplished here other than maybe those DAs saw the displeasure the Indian people have with the racist system we have and what we’ve had to deal with,” a bystander said.
Stitt’s office sent KFOR emails on Wednesday, showing they reached out to several tribes and also the U.S. Attorney’s Office about participating in the forum.
In at the least one instance, the Governor’s Office also had their McGirt liaison, attorney Ryan Leonard, reach out to Cherokee tribal leaders. A spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office says they didn’t get a response back.
On Monday, the director of community outreach for the Tulsa County District Attorney’s office tried again to reach out to the Muscogee Creek Nation, the Cherokee Nation and the Chickasaw Nation, asking them to attend as well.
Go to KJRH for the full story.