Published February 15, 2016
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA – Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker remarks on the passing of Bill Rice, tireless defender of sovereignty in Indian Country:
“With the passing of renowned attorney and law professor Bill Rice, we have lost a tireless warrior and advocate for tribal sovereignty and the rights of Indian people to determine their own paths. Because of Bill’s work, Indian Country and all of us are forever changed.
“It was Bill who successfully argued one of the most important tribal sovereignty cases in modern history—Oklahoma Tax Commission v. Sac and Fox Nation, which made its way all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. The high court ruled 9-0 in favor of tribal sovereignty, due in large part to the painstaking work of Bill. It was that case which affirmed our right to levy taxes on our own citizens and recognized tribal independence from many state tax laws.
“Bill poured his heart, his soul and his life into protecting and affirming our rights as sovereign nations. He was also a family man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his many loved ones as they face this terrible loss.”
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