The 100 Most Influential People of 2020
Tulsa World
By Sharice Davids
September 22, 2020 9:34 PM EDT

The U.S. federal government has long neglected and undermined the treaty obligations it owes to the 574 tribes. Native people have continued the fight that our ancestors started in upholding our sovereignty as tribal nations in many ways, and in 2019, Principal Chief David Hill and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation took that fight to the Supreme Court and won.

The McGirt v. Oklahoma decision this summer was a groundbreaking triumph for all of Indian Country. The court held that the land the Muscogee (Creek) Nation was guaranteed in exchange for leaving their ancestral home remains a reservation today, despite over a century of attempts to dissolve and dilute it. In short: the federal government must live up to its promises to Native peoples.

How the federal government treats one tribe, it treats all tribes, which is why this decision has such broad implications for all of Indian Country. Principal Chief Hill has led his people through a truly landmark victory and has continued to protect his nation’s sovereignty from state encroachment after the decision. When you know you have to do what is right for your people, you just keep pushing forward.

Davids is a Democratic Congresswoman from Kansas and a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation

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