Kiowa Tribe creating a tribal court, completing new government

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:43 PM CST
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Southwest Oklahoma (KSWO) - The Kiowa Tribe is expanding its sovereignty by setting up its own court system, completing the new government established by a new constitution established in 2017.

“As a government, and a complete sovereign government, we are going to have all components in place to take care of our civil issues, our business issues, and our criminal issues,” Kiowa Tribe chairman Lawrence Spottingbird said.

Vice chairman Jacob Tsotigh said establishing this court is the last step needed to complete their new government.

“This new system established four branches of government, the Kiowa Indian Council, the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. We are just now poised to implement the judicial branch fully as the last remaining leg of our four-leg stool of government.”

This addition is one that Spottingbird said is needed to seek justice for the tribe and its citizens.

“We feel like we’re more fair and objective. Historically, in Oklahoma and other states, that’s not really been the case. Oklahoma has not really been the most friendly to tribes.”

Previously, the federal government prosecuted any crime committed in the Kiowa jurisdictional areas scattered throughout southwest Oklahoma.

“We are a sovereign nation as the Kiowa tribe and we need to be able to determine our own decisions based on customs, traditions, and laws. So, once we have this up and running, we will have fully attained our role as a sovereign nation,” Tsotigh said.

Spottingbird said taking that power back completes their sovereignty.

“Now, we are a complete tribal government.”

A grand opening for the court will be held on January 3.