WASHINGTON _ The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from the Osage Nation arguing that its reservation encompassing all of Osage County was never officially eliminated by the U.S. government when Oklahoma gained statehood.
Without comment, the high court let stand an opinion from a federal appeals court that, even though Congress did not specifically disestablish the reservation, other factors made clear that Congress intended to abolish the reservation.
The case arose in 1999 when an Osage Nation member challenged the state of Oklahoma's right to tax her income, even though she lives on non-Indian land. The Osage Nation got involved in the case, asserting that no tribal members living in the original boundaries of the reservation should be subject to state taxation because the reservation was never eliminated or diminished.
The U.S. solicitor general's office, the administration's advocate before the high court, advised the Supreme Court last month not to accept the case, arguing that Congress clearly gave the state taxation authority in Osage County.