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Standing Bear: ‘Osage Nation needs the right situation’ to challenge reservation status

With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation is still intact, what does this mean for the Osage Nation’s reservation claims?

In the case Osage Nation v. Irby, the Nation sought a declaratory judgment in District Court that all of Osage County was still Osage reservation land and was never formally disestablished. The suit also sought a declaratory judgment on whether the Nation’s members working and residing within the Nation’s geographical boundaries were exempt from paying state income tax and the Nation sought injunctive relief prohibiting the collection of income tax from tribal members.

Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear has said that if the Creek Nation was successful at the Supreme Court level, he would revive claims that the Osage reservation was never formally disestablished.

“This morning I called Chief Hill and congratulated the Muscogee (Creek) Nation on their victory. Now, the Osage Nation has to see if this new case will open the door to undo the Osage Nation vs. Irby case where the Osage Reservation was pronounced ‘disestablished,’” Standing Bear said. “That terrible case was decided by a federal judge in Tulsa in 2009 and supported by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010. The United States Supreme Court chose not to review the case on June 27, 2011. 

“Now, because of the new Creek case, there will be people rushing to the door to try to get into court, which could end up with the same result. The Osage Nation needs the right situation to bring the case back to federal court for review. However, given the history of the issue, we might expect the uninformed and publicity seekers to once again try to highjack our sovereignty. I have been talking with our Attorney General and others today. I have sent a copy of the new case to the Speaker of the Osage Congress and to our Osage Nation Supreme Court.”

To read the 10th Circuit Court opinion in the case Osage Nation v. Irby, see:



Shannon Shaw Duty

Original Publish Date: 2020-07-09 00:00:00

Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty is the editor of the Osage News. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a master's degree in Legal Studies, Indigenous Peoples Law from the OU College of Law. She served on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) from 2013-2016 and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee from 2017-2020. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive the Elias Boudinot Free Press Award, NAJA’s highest honor. An Osage tribal member, she and her family are from the Grayhorse District. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and six children.

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