In the Headlines
September 11, 2021

How Will Biden's Vaccine Mandate Affect Oklahoma Tribes? It's Complicated.

The Oklahoman

Native American Law attorney James Meggesto spoke with The Oklahoman about the impact of President Biden’s vaccine requirements on tribal governments and the businesses they operate. Mr. Meggesto explained that vaccine mandates may affect tribes’ sovereign rights to carry out their government as they each see fit. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that’s going to work in Indian Country, he said.

“If they are undertaking something that is going to impact Indian Country and implicate tribal sovereignty, they ought to consult tribal governments,” said Mr. Meggesto.

Biden has tasked the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) with writing and enforcing the rules over vaccine and testing requirements among large private employers. In regards to this decision, Mr. Meggesto said that OSHA regulators will now have an obligation to consult with tribes before publishing any rules that could impact their sovereign rights.

“Tribes are sovereign governments, and it doesn’t matter what industry or what for-profit business they’re in,” he said. “It’s for the benefit of governmental revenues, and it doesn’t make it any more subject to regulation in our view.”

READ: How Will Biden's Vaccine Mandate Affect Oklahoma Tribes? It's Complicated.

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