Indian Affairs Ruling a 'Historical Moment' for McAfee & Taft Client: Key Victory for United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma

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On Wednesday, June 24, 2009, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs issued a ruling that puts the McAfee & Taft client United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) on equal jurisdictional footing with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO).

The tribe is principally represented by shareholders James McMillin and Michael McClintock.

Assistant Secretary Larry EchoHawk’s ruling reversed a long-held view within the Bureau of Indian Affairs that the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) retained sole jurisdiction over a 14-county area in the northeastern part of the state. Instead, his opinion stated that neither the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma nor the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is the historical Cherokee Nation and that both tribes are “successors in interest” to the original tribe.

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