ADA — The Chickasaw Nation and Choctaw Nation, in agreement with the state of Oklahoma, have released the court-ordered mediator from further duties and will negotiate southeastern Oklahoma water rights themselves, court documents released today show.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby and Choctaw Nation Chief Gregory Pyle issued the following joint statement:


“We agree that continuing efforts to resolve this matter through negotiation is the best course of action. We believe that further negotiations may to lead to more progress toward an agreement that is fair and beneficial to everyone concerned.”

The tribes filed suit in federal court in August 2011 to halt water transfers out of Sardis Lake, located in southeastern Oklahoma in Pushmataha and Latimer counties. Federal District Judge Lee West ordered mediation between the factions in May. The mediator — renowned water negotiator and mediator Francis McGovern — was agreed upon by all parties involved in the suit.

See more in tomorrow's edition of The Ada News.