On Saturday, Aug. 5, the United Keetoowah Band tribal council voted to remove Christina Vaughn as attorney general and hire as interim attorney general Klint A. Cowan.
Cowan is a civil litigator who practices in the fields of federal Indian and tribal law, litigation and trial practice, election law and campaign finance.
He has a solid grasp of tribal laws and has assisted with various vendors in conducting business with federally recognized Indian tribes.
Cowan is a graduate of the University of Oxford, Bachelor of Civil Law, with distinction for dissertation, 2005; University of Tulsa, Juris Doctor with highest honors, 2004; and Antioch College, Bachelor of Science in geology, 1998.
Cowan represented the UKB as one of two tribes to file friend-of-the-court briefs in the recent case of a Muscogee (Creek) tribal member Patrick Dwayne Murphy and successfully argued that Murphy should have been prosecuted by the federal government rather than the state of Oklahoma.
In an opinion issued on Tuesday, Aug. 8, the three-judge panel of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, sided with Murphy, contending that he should have been tried in federal court for the 1999 murder of another man since the death occurred in “Indian country.” The ruling could have major implications for Creek Nation citizens and other Oklahoma tribes.
Cowan agreed the ruling was significant for other tribes.
“Everyone has always assumed there were no reservations in Oklahoma and this is the first time we’ve gotten the 10th Circuit to say, yes, the reservation is still there, Congress never took action to disestablish or diminish it,” Cowan said. “It may be a shock to the state, ‘Hey wait now, we have a big ol’ reservation right in the middle of Oklahoma.'”
Cowan said this ruling could eventually have both civil and criminal jurisdictional…