OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KNWA/KFTA) — On Wednesday, June 29, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Oklahoma can prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes committed on tribal land when the victim is Native American.

The decision cut back on the high court’s ruling from 2020 that said a large eastern chunk of the state remains an American Indian reservation.

Governor Kevin Stitt issued a statement shortly after, celebrating the victory for the state and Native American Victims.

Today’s ruling is a clear victory for all four million Oklahomans, the state of Oklahoma, and the rule of law. I am heartened that the Supreme Court ruled in our favor, allowing Oklahoma to prosecute non-Natives who violate the law and protect Native victims. Since the Court’s 2020 McGirt decision, federal prosecutors have declined thousands of cases like Castro-Huerta, a non-Native who monstrously abused his 5-year old Native stepdaughter. Justice has been delayed and denied to thousands of Native victims in our state for no reason other than their race. Now Oklahoma law enforcement can help uphold and enforce the law equally, as we have done for over a century. This is a pivotal moment. For two years, as a fourth generation Oklahoman, member of the Cherokees, and Governor of the state of Oklahoma, I have been fighting for equal protection under the law for all citizens. Today our efforts proved worthwhile and the Court upheld that Indian country is part of a State, not separate from it. I look forward to working with leaders across the state to join our efforts in combatting the criminal-justice crisis in Oklahoma following McGirt.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

According to the Associated Press, the Cherokee Nation is the country’s largest Native American tribe by population with about 400,000 citizens, about 261,000 of whom live in Oklahoma.

Native Americans make up just under 10% of Oklahoma’s nearly 4 million people, according to the Census Bureau.