Main Page - Latest News

American Indian Tribe rejects diversity.


CofCC.org News Team

Meskwaki tribal officials want to eject a Sioux Indian from their land, so his house can go to a member of the Meskwaki tribe. The man is married to a Meskwaki woman.

From Iowa Daily Globe…

Tribal officials claim that James Ironshell, who is Rosebud Sioux, has violated a Meskwaki law that prohibits a non-Meskwaki man from sharing a settlement home with a Meswkaki woman.

Ironshell, 48, and his wife of 13 years, Eloise, who is Meskwaki, say the ban amounts to racial discrimination.

“Not only is it saddening, it’s really confusing,” Ironshell said. “This is 2008.”

Ironshell’s attorney, Darrell Meyer, says the case raises the question of whether the U.S. Constitution provides the same equal rights protections to American Indians as it does other citizens.

Meyer says it does, but tribal officials disagree.

Raymond Cross, a University of Montana law professor who studies American Indian rights, said the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply to tribal governments.

“The reason for that is a practical one,” Cross said. “Tribal governments were not part of the plan of union that formed the U.S. in 1787.”

As a result, most tribes make and enforce their own rules.

The Meskwakis don’t ban marriage outside the tribe but do ban a Meskwaki woman from sharing a settlement home with a man who isn’t Meskwaki.

Roger Sanders, who heads the Meskwaki police department, said settlement homes are owned and assigned by the tribe and not individuals.