PAWHUSKA, Oklahoma -- Since 2001, the Osage Nation has been fighting the state of Oklahoma over whether the state has jurisdiction to assess personal income taxes against tribal members who live within the original reservation boundaries of Osage County.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by the tribe to throw out a Court of Appeals decision to dismiss its suit against Oklahoma.
Osage Nation Principal Chief John Red Eagle issued a brief response Monday concerning the high court's decision, calling it a mistake.
"I am disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision to allow a clearly wrong decision to stand, but this does not end the Osage Nation's efforts to protect our homelands," Red Eagle said. "We will continue to exercise our inherent rights as a sovereign nation."
The Osage Nation filed the suit in 2001 against the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
The state of Oklahoma's position was that the Osage Nation Reservation lost its legal status when it was incorporated into Oklahoma at statehood in 1907.
In 2007, the Court of Appeals agreed and dismissed the lawsuit, so the Osage Nation appealed to the Supreme Court.
Red Eagle stressed that the Supreme Court's decision does not change how the Osage Nation currently operates in any manner.
"No tribal programs, services or business enterprises are affected by today's ruling," Red Eagle said. "The Osage Nation will continue to operate programs and services that benefit not only Osage tribal members, but also our local communities and the state of Oklahoma."
The U.S. Supreme Court case was Osage Nation V. Irby, Constance, Et Al.