Osage Nation Joint Statement on Osage Nation Motor Vehicle Tags

Press Release

Chief Standing Bear Statement on Osage Nation Motor Vehicle Tags

“Safety is our top priority, and no one should endanger themselves or others. It is disappointing but unsurprising that Governor Stitt would work to disrupt and undermine Tribal Nations in the great State of Oklahoma. The Osage Nation Attorney General Clint Patterson, Speaker of Congress Alice Goodfox, Tax Commission Director Jennifer Oberly, and I are in direct conversation with Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond. Together, we are working on practical solutions focused on the safety and betterment of all Oklahomans.”

Official Statement of the Osage Nation Tax Commission regarding Osage Nation Motor Vehicle Tags 

The Osage Nation Tax Commission (“Tax Commission”) is aware of the situation caused by the abrupt and unannounced change in policy by the State of Oklahoma towards tribal tags. Please know we are working diligently to resolve the issues surrounding the Nation’s motor vehicle tags by working with the Office of the Chiefs, the Speaker of the Osage Nation Congress, and the Office of the Attorney General. In light of recent events regarding Osage Nation’s motor vehicle tags, we offer the following guidance:

  • It is our understanding law enforcement officers are not and cannot pull over members of the Osage Nation simply for displaying an Osage Nation tag. The law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop. Therefore, as always, we strongly encourage all Osages and drivers of Osage Nation registered motor vehicles to obey all traffic laws.
  • Under current U.S. Supreme Court law, members of the Osage Nation whose vehicle is registered with the Osage Nation and whose driver’s license address is within the Osage Nation Reservation are in full compliance and not subject to any state action for their vehicle registration.
  • Members of the Osage Nation whose vehicles are registered with the Osage Nation but whose driver’s license address is outside the Osage Nation Reservation are at risk to be cited by a state officer for operat[ing] a vehicle without proper license plate . . . or on which all taxes due to the state have not been paid.” 47 O.S. § 1511(A)(5). .” This is a civil citation and subject to a $249.00 fine.
  • If you are stopped and receive a warning or are cited for this violation, please contact the Osage Nation Office of the Attorney General at (918) 287-5514 or email a copy of the warning or citation to attorneygeneraloffice@osagenation-nsn.gov.
  • The Tax Commission will continue to issue tags and renewals until the overall issue is resolved.

The Osage Nation is considering a number of options to resolve this attack from the Governor of Oklahoma, including whether a compact with the State of Oklahoma would be in the best interests of the Nation and the Osage people. It is disappointing the State has chosen to no longer respect and recognize the Osage Nation’s sovereignty after twenty-five (25) years of collaboration, especially given the amount of money and benefits the Osage Nation contributes to the benefit of all of Oklahoma. The Tax Commission is dedicated to serving our Osage people, and we will continue to work with our elected and appointed officials towards a resolution.