Marriage & Sovereign Nations

Couples that live on American Indian reservations are beyond the reach of constitutional protections because of the unique legal status of Native American tribes. American Indians have fought to retain sovereignty over their tribal lands and to preserve their right to make—and enforce—their own laws in their own justice systems. Tribal governments are therefore allowed to continue to ban same-sex marriage despite the 2015 Supreme Court ruling. 

- Marcia Zug, USC School of Law

The fight for marriage equality on Native American reservations. | Al Jazeera America

Protecting Marriage Equality

Native Americans have fought hard to establish & protect their own rights, & Santa Ysabel is determined to support our own, & other same-sex couples in their struggle to be recognized and treated fairly as citizens of this great nation. In our support for their battle for equality, we want the LGBT community to know they are welcome here, and that the encouragement and respect of our membership are with them.

- Chairman Virgil Perez

Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes (2015)​
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (2014)
Fort McDowell Yavapai Community (2014)
San Carlos Apache Tribe (2014)
Pascua Yaqui Tribe (2014)

Santa Ysabel Tribe (2013)
Chemehuevi Indian Tribe (2015)

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe (2010)
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (2013)
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (2013)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (2014)
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (2015)

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (2013)
Grand Portage Band of Chippewa (2013)
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (2014)

Blackfeet Indian Reservation (2014)
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes (2013)
Cherokee Nation (2016)
Osage Nation (2017)

Coquille Tribe in Oregon (2009)
Fort McDermitt Paiute (2014) 
Shoshone Tribe (2014)
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (2015)
Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde (2015)

Suquamish Tribe (2011)
Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (2011)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (2013)
Puyallup Tribe of Indians (2014)
Tulalip Tribe (2016)

Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (2014)
Wind River Indian Reservation (2014)
Oneida Nation (2015)
Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe (2016)
Menominee Nation (2016)

Oglala Sioux Tribe (2016)

Cherokee Nation (2017)

In June of 2010, the Connecticut-based Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation changed the wording of its 2008 marriage code from "A man and a woman may be joined in marriage on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation" to "Two persons may be joined in marriage on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation." At the same time, the tribe also announced new laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and revised employment policies to reflect the change. The tribe is "no stranger to discrimination and the struggle for dignity and equality," said Robert Victoria, chief marketing officer for Foxwoods Resort Casino, run by the Pequot.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe

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Diné teachings tell us that both sexes are important to the survival & perpetuation of our people. At one time, our people also acknowledged a third or multiple genders in our society— who are often called the nádleehí. The imposition of modern democracy has led to our loss of memory about the inclusion of women & our LGBTQ relatives in nation-building.

We are changing the narrative because our LGBTQ+ relatives have always been sacred.

© 2013 Coalition for Diné Equality. All Rights Reserved