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Posted: Nov 10, 2023 1:40 PMUpdated: Nov 10, 2023 2:42 PM

Local Native American Tribes Respond to Tribal License Controversy

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Nathan Thompson, News On 6, News 9

There is growing concern within Oklahoma's Native American community that citizens will face fines for their tribal tags after a recent uptick of enforcement of rules regarding taxes and license plates.

The Delaware Tribe of Indians, which is headquartered in Bartlesville, issued a statement Friday saying that their tribal tags should be valid. Chief Brad KillsCrow says Delaware Tribal tags are issued through the Cherokee Nation and covered by the compact. KillsCrow says if any Delaware Tribal member gets pulled over by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and issued a ticket for having a tribal tag, they should immediately contact his office.

Letter to Delaware Tribal members from Chief Brad KillsCrow

Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear told Osage News his office has not received any communication from Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office or OHP about a change in policy on tribal tags. Standing Bear says if Osage Nation elected officials come to a consensus that the tribe needs to enter into a new compact with the state, he will work on that quickly.

Currently, the state of Oklahoma only has tribal tag compacts with the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations.

Our partners at News On 6 and News 9 reached out to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt this morning and received a statement from his team:

"This is addressing a significant public safety issue that puts law enforcement and others at risk. If tribal governments won’t share vehicle registration information with DPS, we can’t keep our officers and our streets safe. Members of tribes with valid compacts that provide needed car registration information will not be ticketed. Oklahoma Highway Patrol is simply enforcing the law and following U.S. Supreme Court precedent.”

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