Stigler Act Amendment Huge Victory For Oklahoma Tribal Families, Chief Says
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma - An amendment to a 71-year-old law now sits on President Donald Trump's desk waiting to be signed. The chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation says it will affect just about every single family in Oklahoma's Five Civilized Tribes.
Chief James Floyd says this is a huge victory for tribe members. He says the amendment to the Stigler Act means they no longer have to worry about losing access to the lands of their ancestors.
The amendment to the Stigler Act may look small on paper, but in reality, it's something much bigger.
"It's a one sentence amendment, but it's huge," said Chief James Floyd, Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Currently the Stigler Act of 1947 says a tribe member can only maintain non-taxable status of their family's land if the landowner has at least 50 percent Indian blood from one of the Five Civilized Tribes.
"The Creek Nation has 139,000 acres in restricted status at the present time," Floyd said.
The 2018 amendment lifts that restriction, something Chief Floyd says will affect just about every family in the Creek Nation.
"Now, regardless of blood quantum, they can inherit the restricted land, the lands of their ancestors," said Chief James Floyd.
Floyd says it's not about avoiding taxes - it's about families being able to afford holding onto large pieces of land, without having to split it up and sell it off.
"We look at land as being our land, our family's land. And a lot of families lost that land from 1947 to 2018," he said.
The amendment has already passed the House and the Senate. All that's left, is the president's signature.
Chief Floyd says the president should be signing the amendment any day now.