WASHINGTON D.C. – The Stigler Act Amendments of 2018, H.R. 2606, is on its way back to the U.S. House of Representatives for Swift Action consideration, following the U.S. Senate’s Dec. 13 passage of H.R. 2606 with an amendment supported by Oklahoma Senators James Lankford and Jim Inhofe.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is pleased with the Senate’s passage by unanimous consent, as it brings the bill one step closer to being signed into law, which will be proclaimed as a victory for the MCN and citizens.
Sen. Lankford proposed to the Senate an amendment that clarifies certain provisions. Therefore, the amended bill must now be returned to the House for consideration. Once approved by the House, it will be sent to U.S. President Donald Trump for final signature.
H.R. 2606 amends the Act of August 4, 1947, known as the Stigler Act, as it pertains to the restricted fee status of land for members of the Five Civilized Tribes. The current law requires the MCN, along with Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole citizens, to have at least one-half Native American blood quantum to maintain restricted status of land from original allotted land parcels passed down by ancestors.
The revisions in the bill would significantly impact the MCN in restoring equality for the Five Civilized Tribes by removing the blood quantum requirement.
This would allow lineal descendants by blood of the original enrollees named on the Five Tribes membership rolls, to maintain restricted fee status on family land as it’s passed on to succeeding generations.
The new law would ensure that citizens of the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma are treated the same as citizens of all other U.S. federally-recognized tribes, who under federal law, were never governed to meet any arbitrary blood quantum requirement to keep ancestral land in restricted fee status.
Once signed into law, the revisions to the Stigler Act would positively affect a number Muscogee (Creek) families within the Nation’s 11-county jurisdictional boundaries.
Removing the blood quantum requirement would also improve probate-related correspondence and the process of acquiring a clear title to restricted properties.
For the MCN, H.R. 2606 would potentially resolve nearly 300 cases in probate by acquiring a valid title. As the number of resolved title issues increases overtime, it will also assist in correspondence and access to contact information related to oil and gas property leases.
MCN Principal Chief James R. Floyd expressed that signing the bill into law would be a solution to a problem that has afflicted thousands of Oklahoma tribal families for years.
As the legislation continues through Congress, Floyd recognized and thanked the congressional members and the Oklahoma delegation, among others for their ongoing support and roles in the H.R. 2606 legislation.