TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signed an executive order Monday asserting the tribe’s right for citizens to hunt and fish within the Cherokee Nation Reservation, regardless of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cancellations of the state's hunting and fishing compacts.
Stitt's office announced they wouldn't renew the agreements that have been in place since 2016 when they expire at the end of this year.
The agreements had previously generated millions of dollars for the state's conservation efforts while also allowing licensing discounts for tribal citizens.
“As I have said before, the Cherokee Nation has outlasted many who tried to take away our sovereignty and destroy our identity as a people," Hoskin said.
"Gov. Stitt’s refusal to work in good faith with tribal nations on a hunting and fishing compact that has provided millions of dollars in previous years to state conservation efforts is astounding, but it is not going to hinder our efforts to exercise our inherent rights as Cherokees - rights that have been reinforced in treaties with the United States. In the absence of a 2022 hunting and fishing compact with the state of Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Office and our tribe’s Wildlife Conservation department will manage and regulate hunting and fishing in the Cherokee Nation Reservation.”
The Cherokee Nation won't issue a specific hunting or fishing license, but will allow Cherokee citizens to use their tribal citizenship card or Cherokee Nation photo ID in place of a license. Cherokee citizens will be required to follow bag limits and season dates in accordance with Cherokee Nation law, which aligns with those of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Hunters and anglers must still have landowner permission to hunt and fish on private property as they always have.
“Cherokees have always been good stewards of land, water and wildlife resources. We have relied on hunting and fishing since time immemorial as a means of subsistence and as an integral part of our cultural lifeways,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner.
“As a tribal government, we are prepared to exercise these rights on our reservation moving forward. Earlier this year, we signed the historic Cherokee Nation Park, Wildlands, Fishing and Hunting Preserve Act of 2021, signaling a new era for conservation on our public lands and designating several new Cherokee Nation preserves. That legislation gave us a road map to preserve our culture and our resources, and it will be crucial to supporting our hunting and fishing efforts outlined in Chief Hoskin’s executive order.”
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