Indian law practitioner Riyaz Kanji knew early in the litigation that the way to win one of the most important Native American cases to reach the U.S. Supreme Court was to tell the story of the Muscogee Creek Nation. On the very last day of the justices’ term, an 1832 promise to the tribe made at “the far end of the Trail of Tears” was honored.

Kanji of Kanji & Katzen in Ann Arbor, Michigan, argued on behalf of the Creek Nation in perhaps the biggest sleeper surprise of the term just ended: the decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma.