Oklahoma court says Kickapoo Reservation was disestablished

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday ruled the historic Kickapoo Reservation in the central part of the state was disestablished more than a century ago and no longer exists. The court’s decision involves a case in which a citizen of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma challenged his state conviction on four counts of lewd acts with a child.

Attorneys for Aaron Charles Buck, 52, argued that because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2020 McGirt ruling on tribal land in Oklahoma, the state lacked criminal jurisdiction because the crimes occurred within the historic boundaries of the Kickapoo Nation. The reservation was located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City near the town of McLoud in Pottawatomie County.

But the court agreed with a lower court’s ruling that the reservation had been ceded back to the United States in 1891 in the form of land allotments and cash payments to tribal citizens. Under that agreement with the government, each of the estimated 300 Kickapoos at the time were allotted 80 acres of land and cash.

Buck was sentenced to more than 130 years in prison. His attorney did not immediately respond Thursday to a message seeking comment.

A message left Thursday with the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma also was not immediately returned.

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