Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill has been named to TIME magazine’s 2020 list of the world’s 100 most influential people. The 17th annual list, unveiled Tuesday, pairs guest contributors with honorees. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas), a citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation, penned the profile on Principal Chief Hill, who took his Nation’s fight concerning Tribal sovereignty and treaty rights to the Supreme Court and won.
“The McGirt v. Oklahoma decision this summer was a groundbreaking triumph for all of Indian Country. The court held that the land the Muscogee (Creek) Nation was guaranteed in exchange for leaving their ancestral home remains a reservation today, despite over a century of attempts to dissolve and dilute it. In short: the federal government must live up to its promises to Native peoples,” Davids writes.
The McGirt decision has had broad implications for all of Indian Country. Since the landmark decision, hundreds of cases being evaluated in state court have been dismissed and transferred to either Tribal or federal court.
“How the federal government treats one tribe, it treats all tribes, which is why this decision has such broad implications for all of Indian Country. Principal Chief Hill has led his people through a truly landmark victory and has continued to protect his nation’s sovereignty from state encroachment after the decision. When you know you have to do what is right for your people, you just keep pushing forward,” Davids concludes.
See the full list of TIME’s 100 most influential pioneers, leaders, titans, artists and icons of 2020. TIME has 8 covers to highlight its stars, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, COVID-19 frontline nurse Amy O’Sullivan, R&B singer The Weeknd, rapper Megan Thee Stallion, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a shared cover with Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade who were praised for raising their transgender daughter Zaya, and a shared cover with the Black Lives Matter founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.
While Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not make TIME’s 2020 list (she was included in the TIME 100 in 2015), there will also be a special cover honoring the late Supreme Court Justice. Ginsburg was part of the majority in the 5-4 McGirt v. Oklahoma historic decision that determined that half of Oklahoma is Indian land.
Other pairings, in which guest contributors speak to the impact of the TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2020 include:
- Actor Denzel Washington on Michael B. Jordan
- Athlete Derek Jeter on Patrick Mahomes
- Artist Common on actor Angela Davis
- Texas politician Ted Cruz on Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen
- Oprah Winfrey on director Tyler Perry
- Musician Taylor Swift on actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge
- Senator Elizabeth Warren on healthcare activist Ady Barkan
- The legendary Stevie Wonder on renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma
- Actor Leonardo DiCaprio on Indigenous environmental activist Nemonte Nenquim
- Actress Taraji P. Henson on rapper Megan Thee Stallion
- Actress America Ferrera on actress Selena Gomez
Among the major U.S. political leaders on the 2020 list are President Donald Trump, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Senator Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General William Barr.
But this year’s TIME 100 list includes some unexpected honorees, like Principal Chief Hill, who absolutely merit the recognition.
TIME CEO and editor in chief Edward Felsenthal said in a statement, “While you will certainly find people who wield traditional power on this year’s list—heads of state, CEOs, major entertainers—it also includes many extraordinary, lesser-known individuals who seized the moment to save lives, build a movement, lift the spirit, repair the world.”