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Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations Amend Water Rights Lawsuit

The Chickasaw and Choctaw nations have amended their lawsuit over water rights, to not include any existing permits or agreements that Oklahoma City already holds. This came just one day after Oklahoma City acknowledged in court that tribes do have rights to water within tribal territories, but do not feel their rights are as broad as the tribes claim.

The tribes claim that an 1830 treaty gives them rights to water resources on tribal land. Oklahoma City officials however, claim other treaties also needs to be considered, including one signed in 1866. Oklahoma City officials claim, following the tribes’ revolt against the United States during the Civil War, that in this treaty the tribes relinquished tribal rights.

The tribes both agree, that while they are confident that they have strong legal claims to the water, they still would like to negotiate. In a letter to Gov. Fallin back in August, the tribes stated,

“We have previously and successfully worked on an intergovernmental basis to resolve difficult but now resolved challenges in a manner that, today, benefits all Oklahomans. We continue to hope that eventually we will do the same on water resource ownership and management issues.”

This issue is on-going and as sovereign nations the tribes are asking for a federal decision in the matter. Currently the lawsuit is in mediation with Duke University law professor Francis McGovern.


If you would like to know more about this issue read Oklahoma Native American Tribes Fight for Water Rights.


About the Author

Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.


Photo credit: FreeWine