Robert Dunham 0:01

Hello, and welcome to Discussions with DPIC. I’m Robert Dunham, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center. In this episode, we’ll be speaking with Joel Williams, a senior staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. The Native American Rights Fund has been providing legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide, since it was established in 1970. NARF has successfully asserted and defended the most important rights of Indians and tribes in hundreds of major cases, and has achieved significant results in such critical areas as tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection, and Indian education. It is the oldest and largest legal organization devoted to protecting the rights of Native American tribes and people. 2020 has been a landmark year on the question of tribal sovereignty and the death penalty, starting with a historic US Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, affirming the sovereignty of Muscogee Creek Nation over tribal lands within the borders of the Creek Reservation, which was established in the mid-1800s. But that was soon followed by the execution of the sole Native American on federal death row over the strenuous opposition of his tribe and of Native American leaders across the country. McGirt settled the tribal sovereignty issue presented in the case of Oklahoma death row prisoner and Muscogee citizen Patrick Dwayne Murphy. The Creek Reservation was established in a series of treaties between the federal government and the Muscogee Nation, in the aftermath of the federal government’s forced relocation of the Creek, the Cherokee, the Choctaw, the Chickasaw, and the Seminole nations, moving them from their homes in Alabama and Georgia, to a new land in Oklahoma. The Creek Reservation encompasses 11 counties in eastern Oklahoma, including much of the city of Tulsa. In 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Oklahoma’s appeal of a federal appeals court ruling that Congress had never disestablished the Creek Reservation. Because Murphy’s crime had occurred on tribal lands, the circuit court said, Oklahoma had no jurisdiction to try him for murder or to sentence him to death. With Justice Gorsuch recused from Murphy’s case, the Court was unable to reach a decision, apparently evenly split. Shortly after that, the Court agreed to hear McGirt’s case which raised the same sovereignty issue. And on July 9 2020, in a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Gorsuch, the court ruled that Oklahoma had no jurisdiction to try McGirt. That ruling also resolved the legal issue in Murphy’s case, voiding his conviction and death sentence. NARF was part of an amicus brief, a friend of the court brief, filed by the National Congress of American Indians in support of McGirt’s claim the lands within the borders of the Creek Reservation were still Indian country under the sovereignty of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Joel Williams, welcome to Discussions with DPIC.

Joel Williams 2:45

Thanks so much, Robert. It’s good to be here with you.

Robert Dunham 2:48

Before we get into the cases themselves, you’re part of a group called the Tribal Supreme Court Project. Would you please tell our listeners a bit about the work of the Project and how it got you into the Oklahoma tribal sovereignty cases?

Joel Williams 3:01

Sure, I’d be happy to. The Tribal Supreme Court Project is a joint project of the Native American Rights Fund and the National Congress of American Indians. Its genesis was really in the late 90s—there were a few things that kind of happened around the same time. There was a well known, well respected legal scholar named David Getches, who actually, as it happens was one of the co-founders of the Native American Rights Fund, and he went on to be the Dean of the University of Colorado Law School. David Getches had written a law review article that was very important: it was really the first time that someone had quantitatively evaluated how tribal interests were doing at the US Supreme Court. Traditionally, Indian tribes had fared okay at the US Supreme Court, but there was a sense that the court was beginning to sour on tribal cases. David did a lot of research and wrote this article, and one of the things that he pointed out was that at the time, in the late 90s, you had a much better chance of success as a criminal defendant at the US Supreme Court than you did as an Indian tribe. We were losing about 80% of our cases at the Court, at that point. Around that same time, there were two really particularly troubling decisions that came out of the Court: the Atkinson Trading case, and Nevada v. Hicks, cases that based on foundational Indian law principles, we should have won and we lost those cases. And so that led to tribal leaders having a meeting on September 11, 2001 in Washington, DC, to talk about this crisis in Indian country called the West Supreme Court and how it could be addressed. That was how the Tribal Supreme Court Project came to be: the tribal leaders asked NARF and NCAI to take the lead on this project. So we’ve been doing it for close to 20 years now. Our simple objective is just to improve the win-loss record for tribal interests at the US Supreme Court. And we do that through a number of strategies. One of the primary pieces of work of the Project is strategic amicus briefs and the coordination of amicus briefs in support of tribal interests in the Court. So that’s, you know, how we came to be involved in the cases. You know, certainly as a Cherokee citizen, I had already been following the Murphy case pretty closely at the circuit court level. We had helped a little bit in the later stages at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals with that case, but then, when it came to the US Supreme Court, we really dove in and there was quite a bit of work to do on that case. And little did we know, you know, some of the twists and turns that Murphy and later the McGirt case, would take. I guess one final note about it—that’s an interesting one, I think—is that two of the key people at the very start of the Tribal Supreme Court Project, the Project was really Riyaz’s idea, and he was counsel for the Muscogee Creek Nation at both Murphy and McGirt. And then Ian Gershengorn, who was also an early advisor to the Supreme Court Project, who was former Solicitor General of the US and was counsel for both Mr. Murphy and Mr. McGirt at the Supreme Court.

Now in the opening, I gave a brief introduction to the Murphy and McGirt cases. But you’re the expert here. So can you give us a little bit more about the background of the case and why the tribal sovereignty issues in it were so significant?

For a lot of people, particularly Native people from Oklahoma, these cases were really about debunking this creation myth of Oklahoma. That creation myth was that Oklahoma statehood and Indian reservations were fundamentally incompatible. And that’s been, you know, a narrative that’s been pushed by non-tribal people about Oklahoma from the very beginning. A lot of us out there never believed that that was true. Going back to the 19th century, arguably, Congress never thought that and didn’t think that that was true. You know, nevertheless, that was a persistent myth that took hold. It was a narrative that was in history books about Oklahoma. It’s one of those things that—just the more you looked at it particularly through the eyes of an Indian lawyer—you could just see it was just simply not true. You know, it had done a lot of damage to Indian tribes and Tribal people for the course of more than a century. And so really that was, in my view, at the very heart of this case of historical narratives and the need to once and for all debunk those historical narratives.

Robert Dunham 8:10

Now, the sovereignty issue here in the two Oklahoma cases came up in the context of one prisoner who’d been sentenced to death for murder, and another, Gypsy McGirt, who had been convicted of rape. Obviously, overturning the convictions of murderers and rapists isn’t the ideal vehicle for promoting tribal sovereignty. So how did that affect the way you and the parties framed sovereignty arguments to the court?

Joel Williams 8:37

So the first thing to keep in mind, I think, on that issue is that Indian tribes are governments, and one of the fundamental roles of government is to provide for public safety. So tribal governments are no different in that respect, and they take their role of protecting the public very seriously. You know, if you particularly look at the Muscogee Creek Nation, that is a tribe with a very well developed judicial system, state-of-the-art police force. The case was never about these people going free, right? The argument for the tribes was never that their crimes shouldn’t be punished. The question was, “Who should have the authority to do that?” That certainly shaped, I think, the approach to the advocacy in this case and particularly with the amicus briefs in eastern Oklahoma, well before Murphy and McGirt. There were a lot of cross deputation agreements between tribal police forces and local law enforcement and sheriffs’ offices. That, you know, is one aspect of tribal and local government cooperation that was already present, and that we can really point to to say that there are mechanisms here already in place. The alarm bells about rampant crime and anarchy that would, you know, that would ensue from this case just were simply not true. And actually, that was, I think Justice Gorsuch really pointed that out, in his opinion how those claims were just greatly exaggerated. That certainly needed to be brought out as part of the briefing, and I think that we successfully did that.

Robert Dunham 10:30

You mentioned Justice Gorsuch, and he makes these cases really interesting. Initially, the court wasn’t able to reach a decision on Murphy’s case. Justice Gorsuch had recused himself from that case, so we basically had four conservatives, four moderates to liberals; the court appeared to be at a deadlock. It rescheduled the case for argument after having heard argument in it in the 2018 term, still wasn’t able to decide—

Joel Williams 11:01

Heard argument and supplemental briefing too.

Robert Dunham 11:04

That’s right, yeah. So it pretty much became clear that the case was going to be in Justice Gorsuch’s hands. How did that affect your strategy in preparation for the amicus brief and the overall preparation by the tribes for the case?

Joel Williams 11:17

A couple of things about that too. When I was initially thinking about the Murphy case, after Justice Gorsuch—it was clear that he had recused when they granted the case that was noted as part of the order when they granted—my thinking about it, I think this was shared by others as well: it really wasn’t clear how some of those justices would line up. In Indian law decisions, generally, what might be normally thought of as sort of the liberal wing of the court and the conservative wing of the court doesn’t really necessarily hold up when it comes to Indian-law cases. Justice Ginsburg who’s thought of as a liberal icon on the Court has written a number of really troubling anti-tribal opinions. And during her time on the Court, when you’re looking at that eight justice lineup, not sure where Justice Ginsburg might land on something like this. Justice Thomas had, just a couple of years before, authored a unanimous opinion in favor of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and their reservation-diminishment case, you know, that uses the same legal framework that was at issue in this case. So you begin to think well, Thomas wrote this unanimous opinion. Maybe that’s someone who may come down on our side in this case. You know, it wasn’t necessarily clear how the justices might sort of line up at the very beginning. Certainly by the time that McGirt was granted, it was very clear the Court couldn’t come to a majority position, and that Justice Gorsuch would likely be the one to cast the vote to to get either a majority or a plurality decision—that he would he would be the decider here. You look at the messaging and the amicus briefs that were filed, the attorneys who wrote those briefs, were letting you into any secrets. I mean, you can look at the cover of the briefs, and you can see a conservative, former United States Attorney from Colorado. You have someone who’s a former 10th circuit judge that the briefs were certainly presented in a way that we hoped would garner his interest.

Now, Justice Gorsuch was from the 10th circuit, and he’s the only one on the Court who really had had any experience as a lower appellate court judge in Indian land cases. Did that give you optimism? Or did that give you concern?

For me, it gave me a lot of optimism. When Justice Gorsuch was nominated, as part of our work here, at the Supreme Court Project and our judicial nominations project, we looked pretty thoroughly in the Justice Gorsuch’s record, a public research paper on our website people could look at regarding his Indian law record. There were certainly some, you know, mixed parts of that record. He wasn’t a 100%, pro-tribal judge or anything like that. But it was certainly clear from his record, that Indian law was something that he had thought a lot about, that he—there may be decisions here and there that one might, you know, disagree with—but he certainly, in those decisions, was was adhering to what we would think of as more foundational Indian law principles, which has always been a concern for us about the Supreme Court sort of veering away from those principles. So, this is someone who we felt was deeply steeped in the law in this area, familiar with tribal communities from his upbringing in Colorado, in the West. And so certainly, for me and I think others, had a lot of hope when this case took that turn and Justice Gorsuch was immediately in the middle of, you know, in the center of the case.

Robert Dunham 15:14

So ultimately the Supreme Court rules in favor of McGirt and Murphy, and the tribes, 5-4, and Justice Gorsuch writes the opinion. And he concludes the land within the historic borders of the Creek Reservation remains Indian country. That it, in fact, remains a reservation. What was his reasoning? How did he get there?

Joel Williams 15:37

What he did in that decision, when you look at it just purely as a legal matter, is he is applying well-established framework—I mentioned this a little bit earlier. You know, the leading case on this is a case called Solem v. Bartlett from the 1980s, I don’t remember exactly what year. But Solem, said that, yes, Congress can disestablish an Indian reservation, but it must make its intent to do so very clear. When you look at all of the cases in which the Supreme Court has concluded that a reservation was either disestablished or that it was diminished—that its size was made smaller—Congress, in a specific statute, articulated an intent to do that. None of that was present with these cases. What Oklahoma was saying is, you have to sort of step back and look at this entire course of conduct over 15 or 20 years—something like that—and conclude from this entire course of conduct that Congress was intending to disestablish this reservation.And the majority opinion in McGirt is really pretty straightforward in terms of saying, what we do here is a textualist interpretation of what Congress does — and it’s not in the text. You look at an act of Congress to see if a reservation is disestablished, and nothing here did that. There are some other pieces to that opinion, in terms of the Creeks as well as other tribes in eastern Oklahoma had some rather unique land holdings or the tribes own their lands in fee simple. You know, it’s a more robust type of property, right? If you own a home in Virginia or something, typically you would own that property in fee simple, right? Usually, Indian tribes have a different form of title than that, buut, you know, one of Oklahoma’s arguments was that there was never a reservation to begin with because of the type of title they had and Justice Gorsuch just said, no, in a treaty, they were promised a homeland. And then the United States gave them a fee patent to this land. So not only do they have this fee title, but it’s also backed up by a treaty with the United States.

Robert Dunham 18:02

Ownership is more, not less.

Joel Williams 18:04

Yeah, exactly. You know, I think his final section of that opinion is, without question, that’s an Indian Reservation. So there’s some other pieces to Oklahoma’s argument that they had to go through in that opinion, but fundamentally, it was really just about Congress never expressed that intent to disestablish these reservations. Part of the strategy of Oklahoma in both Murphy and McGirt was to say, what I call the “But Tulsa” argument, right? That they say, okay, you know, you might conclude with all that textual stuff that this was never disestablished, but look, here’s Tulsa. And here’s all of these non-Indian people who flocked into this area, whether legally or illegally, they’ve established their lives here for 120 years, and you can’t suddenly create a situation where, one morning, they wake up to find out they live on an Indian Reservation. That upsets all of their settled expectations. And that was one of the most important parts of this opinion, in my view; Justice Gorsuch and the others in the majority saying, No, you can’t rely on this long course of conduct and in many ways, that this conduct violated the law and violated these treaties. And you can’t go back and depend upon that and say that we should ignore what the law was and, you know, still is.

Robert Dunham 19:42

And in my mind that resulted in one of the great legal sentences in modern Supreme Court history. The magnitude of a legal wrong is no reason to perpetuate it.

Joel Williams 19:51

Yes. For your listeners, if they haven’t yet, I would really encourage people to pull up this opinion on the internet and to read it because it is hard to pick out just one sentence, one quote from it. I mean it really is one of the most compelling pieces of legal writing that I’ve ever seen. I think that even if you’ve never read an opinion from the Supreme Court, this is a good one to start with.

Robert Dunham 20:20

I noticed during the course of the case—and you’ve made reference to this—there was a lot of argument by Oklahoma and the state’s supporters that had nothing to do with the actual issues in the case. And so we saw briefs coming in from companies with oil and mineral interests and we saw news reports that suggested that the decision would place almost half of Oklahoma, including, as you mentioned, much of Tulsa, under tribal control. Was that necessary? I mean, that’s not what the court did, is it?

Joel Williams 20:49

No, it’s not what the court did, you’re right. And going back to the Murphy case, the state’s brief there, when you opened up that brief to read it, the first thing you saw was this big picture of downtown Tulsa, right? It was as if to say, “That cannot possibly be an Indian Reservation. There’s too many tall buildings.” I found it offensive, frankly. It plays off of a lot of really repugnant stereotypes. But, in the McGirt brief, that was a different attorney that did that briefing and I think a lot of that was still there, but not in the same kind of way. I want to be fair about that. But yes, the law and the legal framework there was really not on their side, and even the 11th circuit was a pretty resounding defeat for the state. And even the one judge said, yeah, this is the legal test. I don’t think that we should follow it in this case, but yet this is the test, and they don’t need it. That’s kind of all they had to go on, they really had to play on optics of what they wanted to sell the court on in terms of what would be sort of the huge consequences of following the law in this case. And that was going back to the majority opinion. That was, you know, something that Justice Gorsuch really went in depth on; that, you know, no matter what the consequences are, you have to follow the law, and if you don’t like the consequences, Congress can change the law. But especially when it comes to Indian treaties and Indian reservations, that’s a role for Congress, not for the courts. So that was certainly a path that they thought they needed to go down to win the case. That is not, in my view, the results of this case, right? That Mr. Murphy and Mr. McGirt won, the tribe’s position won in this case and this was argued in the briefs and in the oral argument. The decision itself is a pretty narrow ruling: The decision itself is not about tribal authority. It’s about the federal government’s authority to prosecute and punish certain Indian offenders. So in that way, it’s fairly narrow. Their fear was, well, once you say it’s a reservation, you have a lot of follow-on consequences about civil jurisdiction and adjudicatory jurisdiction and taxes and all kinds of other things. But still, at this point, that’s pretty speculative. Courts haven’t decided that yet. And there’s also ways, if one were to think that those things were problematic, there’s other ways to to address that. You know, that was one of the reasons that we talked about intergovernmental agreements so much. A lot of those fears were brought up by Oklahoma and cases during the 80s and the 90s about other types of tribal lands in Oklahoma. Those things just didn’t play out, in part because the state and the tribes did a lot of things like intergovernmental tax agreements and compacts and things. So, it’s not as far reaching as they would have had you believe in their briefing.

Robert Dunham 24:12

One of the issues that was always in the background in the case was the history of the federal government’s deceits, lies, broken promises. Was that going to happen here? I thought it was really interesting with Justice Gorsuch, another one of his lines: “So it’s no matter how many other promises to a tribe the federal government has already broken. If Congress wishes to break this promise, it has to say so.”

Joel Williams 24:38


Robert Dunham 24:39

That kind of leads to another segue because this case is one and there is tremendous optimism, tremendous hope — it is the validation of the tribes interests. It possibly has ramifications for the other tribes, not just in Oklahoma, but across the country. It says that the government has to behave in a particular way under the Major Crimes Act in offenses that involve either Native American offenders, or in which Indians are victims. First, let us start with what does this practically mean, for Mr. Murphy? And then I want to kind of segue into the Lezmond Mitchell case.

Joel Williams 25:20

Sure, sure. What it means for both Mr. Murphy and Mr. McGirt is what we were talking about at the beginning. This doesn’t mean that they necessarily go free, right? My understanding is that the United States is pursuing charges against both of them in federal court already? Yeah, I think charges have been filed on both of them already, so that will play out, that’ll play itself out. We’ll see how that happens. But it doesn’t, just because the state didn’t have jurisdiction, doesn’t mean that they suddenly get let out of jail. You know, there’s others out there that were already convicted and my understanding is that at least in some counties, they have these, “McGirt courts” that are already going and you know, a day every week where they do these claims, and, you know, eventually just work through them all. In terms of new crimes, new prosecutions, those are already brought now federal court. So it’ll take a little bit of time to work through some of those, but you know, they’ll get there eventually.

Robert Dunham 26:23

Now, it’s a substantive matter under the Major Crimes Act. This is one of the big issues for Murphy: he’s not eligible for the death penalty, because if he’s prosecuted under the Major Crimes Act, the tribe has to opt in to the death penalty portions of the Act, and essentially no tribes in the United States—I think there’s one—has opted in. So for Murphy, the difference is life and death, but he still faces life without parole. We then move on to Lezmond Mitchell, because Lezmond Mitchell—we’re talking here about a crime in Arizona. Mitchell is a member of the Navajo Nation. He committed a murder involving two members of the Navajo Nation and was on Navajo land. The Navajo tribe told the federal government, the death penalty is against our culture. We don’t support the death penalty. It goes against our culture of life and respect for human dignity. The federal government pursued the death penalty anyway, using what the Navajo described, and many legal observers described, as a loophole that was created in the 1990s. The Major Crimes Act was a product of the 19th century. Then, during this great fear in the United States with the pandering on crime in the 1990s, Congress wrote a new federal death penalty law and just overlooked the Major Crimes Act altogether. So Lezmond Mitchell can’t be prosecuted for murder under the Major Crimes Act, capitally. He gets prosecuted for carjacking, that results in death, and they bootstrapped that into a capital case, and he gets sentenced to death.So here we are. And July 9, the Muscogee Creek Tribe wins McGirt. And then less than three weeks later, the federal government announces it’s going to seek the death penalty against the wishes of the tribe in Lezmond Mitchell’s case. How did that go over?

Joel Williams 28:26

Yeah, that certainly did not go over very well and Indian tribes don’t always agree with one another. There are a lot of issues, right? We have our differences in various areas, but there are a couple of areas where you will find unanimity or close to unanimity on certain things. Issues like this one are one of those areas. Even as you mentioned, you know, there may be a tribe out there where their tribal citizens may want to leave the door open to the death penalty, they respect self-government and self-determination of another tribe to make a different decision about their own citizens. There was a pretty vocal reaction to this decision about about Mr. Mitchell. You know, as you mentioned, not only the Navajo Nation spoke up about it, but a lot of other tribal leaders, tribal organizations, and individuals as well. Just the fact that it was ignored was very troubling, in certain respects, right? There is a certain amount of consistency there that one of the persistent complaints of tribes in relation to the United States is that decisions are made that affect our people and affect our governments and we’re never consulted about those decisions. You know, more than anything, that really gets people angry. We need to be at the table as a part of that decision-making in those conversations when they have such deep effects on on our tribes and on our tribal citizens. McGirt and Murphy were fantastic decisions that came out of the Supreme Court. The United States was opposing the tribal position in those cases. You can point to other cases and litigation going on right now or the person or thing is true or tribes are raising issues just simply about the lack of not being part of the decision-making process.

Robert Dunham 30:39

And the facts in Mitchell’s case are really disturbing. Prior to trial, the FBI interrogated him in a tribal jail, in circumstances in which any other American would have had the right to counsel. Then they admitted the statements they obtained against him — they were allowed to do that. The government then struck nearly every Native American from jury service and, with a nearly all white jury, made arguments that Mitchell’s lawyers on appeal described as playing to anti-Indian stereotypes. And then Mitchell’s lawyers wanted to interview the jurors to find out whether it was a fair trial or whether the arguments had infected the deliberations. Whether there were anti-Native-American comments made by jurors and so forth. The Federal Court applied Arizona state law and barred them from even interviewing the jurors. So it seemed to many that was not just disrespectful, but insulting to the Navajo Nation all the way through, and the Navajo Nation described seeking the death penalty and seeking the execution as an affront to their nation. Then the president is given a clemency petition supported by the Navajo, by 13 tribal governments, by the National Congress of American Indians, and a petition signed by 200 Native American citizens representing 90 tribes, and they go ahead and they execute him without even ruling on the clemency petition. I mean, that’s a lot of bad stuff. But is that something that you think is isolated to a highly political, politicized death penalty case? Or is that indicative of something broader with the current administration?

Joel Williams 32:39

I would say that, to generalize maybe even a bit more, it’s indicative of a lot of the relationship between tribes and the federal government. It’s a troubled relationship because the United States has these multiple roles, right? The United States is supposed to be a trustee for Indian tribes and so, in that role, is supposed to work in our best interest, but also is free to work in its own self interest, as well. And so in any other area of like trusteeship law, that could not be a trustee, right? So it’s always a sort of fraught relationship. You can kind of look out there across the landscape, and point to any number of cases and issues that come up, where it’s a matter of the United States not properly taking the viewpoints of Indian tribes, the interest the rights of Indian tribes into account. Perhaps one of the most famous cases of the last several years is the Dakota Access Pipeline case. And that’s fundamentally, as a legal argument, that’s what lot of that case is about. It’s just that they’re making decisions about this pipeline, that the tribes interests were not properly taken into account, the tribes weren’t consulted and at the table the way that they they should have been. It’s something that comes up all of the time. There’s these, you know, these cases like the DAPL case, like the Lezmond Mitchell case, that really elevate that issue, but those are the things that our cases are just sort of routinely made of.

Robert Dunham 34:31

I know we’ve covered a lot of ground here. Before I let you go, is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?

Joel Williams 34:37

I certainly appreciate again the invitation to come in and have this conversation with you, and as things move forward in Oklahoma, I hope that people will look at the news stories and things with a critical eye. Even immediately in the wake of the McGirt decision, the very first stories that were coming out that day, were not entirely accurate and continued along that narrative that we were talking about a little bit before: that suddenly all of Eastern Oklahoma’s is disrupted and you know, the sky is falling, and all of those sorts of things. As things go forward, I think that those sorts of narratives will continue to be pushed in the near future and I hope that people will look at that with a critical eye and really think about what’s happening on the ground now — and that things are not crazy, they’re not chaos. The tribes in the United States deal with criminal justice issues, routinely deal with regulation, and all of those things routinely. We’ll have to just kind of work through these issues as they come up over the next months to come. But it certainly won’t be the kind of chaos that was predicted.

Robert Dunham 35:55

Joel Williams, thank you so much for joining us on Discussions with DPIC.

Joel Williams 35:59

Thanks for having me on. Appreciate it.

Robert Dunham 36:01

To learn more about the Native American Rights Fund, please visit their website at To learn more about the death penalty, visit the Death Penalty Information Center website at To find out more about the federal government’s historical use of the death penalty against Native Americans, read DPIC’s new report on race and the death penalty, “Enduring Injustice: The Persistence of Race Discrimination in the US Death Penalty.” You can find a link to it on the DPIC homepage. And finally, to make sure you never miss an episode of our podcast, subscribe to Discussions with DPIC on your podcast app of choice.