Gay Marriage legal on some Native Reservations

Gay Marriage legal on some Native Reservations

Posted By Charlie Ballard December 1st, 2015 Last Updated on: December 2nd, 2015

On June 26, 2015., the United States Supreme Court ruled that Gay Marriage is legal in all 50 states.

Of the 567 federally recognized Indian tribes that reside in the United States, just a handful of Indian tribes recognize gay marriage, those being:

  • The Coquille Tribe in Oregon (2009)
  • The Suquamish Tribe in Washington (2011)
  • The Tribal Council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (2013)
  • The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan (2013)
  • The Santa Ysabel Tribe in California (2013)
  • The Colville Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation in Washington (2013)
  • The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma (2013)
  • The Leech Lake Tribal Court in Minnesota (2013)
  • The Puyallup Tribe of Indians in Washington (2014)
  • The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes in Alaska (2015)
  • The Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin (2015)
  • The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan (2015)

Our Nations are not run by one committee or a pan-tribal council.  Each tribe has created its own tribal constitution, made up of different community laws which are voted on and amended by its tribal members, in short, not every tribe may welcome formal, recognized unions between the same sex, its a community to community decision.

The U.S. Congress could theoretically pass a tribal gay marriage federal statute that affects all of Indian Country but its not likely. That is because the U.S. Congress recognizes tribal self-determination, which allows tribes to govern their own domestic affairs. However, the U.S. Bill of Rights extends to tribal jurisdictions through the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.  Claims made under that law must be heard in tribal court. (nor)

Listen here:  

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 11.28.30 PM

Peggy and Buck. (Dine) Peggy said to be inter-sex. Photographer: Ben Wittick, taken between 1880-1890. (Courtesy of Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, New Mexico History Museum)

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 11.31.58 PM

Dine same sex couple holding hands was taken in Fort Sumner, New Mexico in 1866 by an unknown photographer. (Courtesy of Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, New Mexico History Museum)





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