The tribes filed a lawsuit in federal court in August 2011, essentially laying claim to the water rights in Oklahoma's wettest region — a 22-county area stretching from Grady County to the southeast corner of the state.
The state Water Board's adjudication suit was seeking to gain control of the same water rights, court records show.
Waterways at the heart of the dispute include the Kiamichi River and the Muddy Boggy and Clear Boggy stream systems.
The tribes claim the water rights were granted to them through a series of treaties signed with the federal government in the 1830s.
They say any unauthorized removal or export of the water is a direct violation of federal law.
Before filing their lawsuit in August 2011, tribal leaders claimed they'd been trying to negotiate with the state of Oklahoma for years — but to no avail.
“A lack of any real progress on the initiation of meaningful government-
CONTRIBUTING: Staff Writers Nolan Clay and Randy Ellis