Waldlaw Blog

Friday, April 28, 2006

An Interesting Role for the Indian Nations

Twice in the last couple of weeks, news items involving the role of the Indian Nations in creating change have caught my eye. The first, which I already mentioned in my April 20 blog about the South Dakota abortion fight, was the promise by "the leader of the largest Indian reservation in South Dakota" that his tribe would open an abortion clinic on tribal land if the South Dakota abortion ban stands. So you have the prospect of South Dakota banning all abortions -- and women from all over the state going onto the Indian reservation to get the reproductive health services they need. The second happened in conjunction with the annual gala dinner of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (www.nclrights.org). Honored at the dinner were Dawn McKinley and Kathy Reynolds, both Oklahoma residents and members of the Cherokee Nation. Dawn and Kathy discovered in 2004 that Cherokee law did not exclude same-sex couples from marrying, and on May 18, 2004, they were married on Cherokee land in Tulsa Park, Oklahoma. So you have the prospect of states banning same-sex marriage -- and same-sex couples turning to the Indian Nation to allow them to marry. I see some amazing alliances here, and an opportunity for Indian Nations to play a significant and valuable role in larger movements for social change. And to do well by doing good. Think about the infusion of funding for Indian health care services that could accompany the opening of clean, professional reproductive health centers on Indian land. Think about the honeymoon industry! How profitable could it be if Indian Nations began offering wedding packages to same-sex couples?? A healthy alternative to casinos, maybe? I love it when the opportunity to "think outside the box" pops up in unexpected places. And maybe there's nothing to this, but it certainly seems like there's opportunity here....


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