McKay, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation whose research focuses on social inequality and Indigenous identity, writes that “Some Oklahomans are expressing trepidation about the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that much of the eastern part of the state belongs to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. They wonder whether they must now pay taxes to or be governed by the Muscogee.”
McKay explains that the landmark July 9 decision applies only to criminal law and gives federal and tribal courts jurisdiction over felonies committed by tribal citizens within the Creek reservation, not the state of Oklahoma.
“Any shock that tribal nations have sovereignty over their own land reflects a serious misunderstanding of American history. For Oklahoma – indeed, all of North America – has always been, for lack of a better term, Indian Country,” she writes. “As both an educator and scholar, I work to correct the erasure of Indigenous histories through my research and teaching.”
McKay, who joined the Colorado College faculty in 2016, currently serves on the national advisory committee for the Native American Student Advocacy Institute, as a co-advisor for the Indigenous Studies minor at CC, and on multiple committees to advance Indigenous peoples. She previously held an appointment as Secretary of Education for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and served as a member of the Native American Advisory Committee for the Office of the Governor of Kansas and the former vice-chair for the Mvskoke Women’s Leadership Institute. She also was a planning committee member for the Third Annual Native American Nutrition Conference.
Her research has been published in numerous scholarly journals, including Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, American Indian Quarterly, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, and the European Sociological Review. She has authored multiple published book chapters, poems, essays, and opinion editorials. McKay was a regular columnist for Indian Country Today for five years, served as the executive producer for the 2017 documentary film, “Force/Resistance: From Standing Rock to Colorado Springs,” and has been featured on radio shows such as “Calling Native America,” “Mixed Race Radio,” and on Minnesota’s National Public Radio.
McKay was honored as Elder of the Year at the 10th Annual Garden of the Gods Rock Ledge Ranch Powwow in Colorado Springs last fall, in a celebration that was attended by numerous Colorado College students, faculty, and staff.