A Cherokee Official's 'Treasonous' Dissent

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  vic-eldred  •  2 weeks ago  •  7 comments

By:   The Editorial Board (WSJ)

A Cherokee Official's 'Treasonous' Dissent
Tribal lawmaker Wes Nofire runs for Congress on solving the problems caused by the Supreme Court's McGirt ruling.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Wes Nofire is a former professionally ranked heavyweight boxer running for Congress in eastern Oklahoma. The June 28 GOP primary for the 2nd district features more than a dozen contenders, including a state Senator and a police chief, but Mr. Nofire has a unique selling point.

He's a sitting lawmaker on the Cherokee Nation's 17-person Tribal Council. And he thinks the Supreme Court's McGirt ruling has been disastrous for everyone. "Right now, it's dangerous to every Oklahoman," he says, "whether you're an Indian or you're non-Indian."

This position hasn’t made him friends among his tribal colleagues.  One recently said  Mr. Nofire’s view “borders on being treasonous and traitorous to Cherokee Nation.”

The  McGirt  ruling, decided in 2020, revived six Native American reservations in Oklahoma that cover close to half the state and almost two million people. Mr. Nofire, who says his father’s first language was Cherokee, initially thought it might be a proud moment to get tribal recognition from the highest court in the land. “But with that,” he adds, “it takes great responsibility, and like any government, you have to hold the government accountable.”

The immediate challenge is what Mr. Nofire calls a “crime wave.” Oklahoma can’t prosecute crimes within reservation boundaries if they involve Native American perpetrators or victims. The federal government has jurisdiction but is overwhelmed. The Tulsa World newspaper  reported this week  that since  McGirt  was handed down, eastern Oklahoma’s U.S. Attorneys have received 5,847 criminal referrals that have gone unprosecuted. Tribal courts can pursue Native suspects, but their efficiency is disputed.

Mr. Nofire points to  news stories  about Tyler Tait, a former physician in the Cherokee Nation’s health system. Mr. Tait was charged with domestic assault and battery in January 2021, according to the Cherokee Phoenix. That charge was dismissed under  McGirt  and sent to tribal prosecutors in April 2021. Months passed. In October, Mr. Tait was arrested for allegedly murdering a nurse. He pleaded not guilty.

Suddenly, the tribal court moved on the previous domestic assault. “The next day, you see that Cherokee Nation refiled those charges in their court, so you know that they could have done that,” Mr. Nofire says. “But there’s a problem and there’s a broken system in play.” He thinks most Cherokee members see  McGirt  the same way he does, in contrast to the tribe’s leadership.

Mr. Nofire is running in a GOP primary, so he emphasizes his opposition to abortion and support for gun rights. He also has bigger criticisms of Cherokee officials. “They have such a connection to Joe Biden that he sent his own wife down here  to meet the chief ,” Mr. Nofire says. “They’re now trying to turn Oklahoma into a border state.” The tribe is in talks to open an immigration facility that could house 4,000 minors seeking asylum, although Tulsa County last week  denied a requested  zoning change.

Those criticisms aside, Mr. Nofire hopes that if he wins election to Congress, he can serve as a bridge between state leaders and Oklahoma’s tribes, leading to some type of mutually agreed  McGirt  settlement, along with whatever federal legislation is required to bless it. “Because I’m a half-blooded Indian man, and the way I speak,” he says, “I’m able to thread that needle and bring everybody back together.”


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    2 weeks ago

Look out now, but there appears to be diversity of thought in the Cherokee Nation.

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
1.1  Hallux  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    2 weeks ago

Appears to be? There always was. I suggest you read 'The Dawn of Everything' by David Graeber and David Wengrow.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Hallux @1.1    2 weeks ago
I suggest you read 'The Dawn of Everything' by David Graeber and David Wengrow.

Any particular reason?

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
1.1.2  Hallux  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.1    2 weeks ago

Deconstructing your myths.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.3  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Hallux @1.1.2    2 weeks ago

My myth being?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.2  Kavika   replied to  Vic Eldred @1    2 weeks ago
Look out now, but there appears to be diversity of thought in the Cherokee Nation.

LOL, that shows that you have little to no knowledge of the Cherokee Nation or any Indian tribe.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.2.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Kavika @1.2    2 weeks ago

Very little.

 
 

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