FIRST NATIONS

Native American Tribe In Michigan Enacts Marriage Equality

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa IndiansThe Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians has become the third tribal nation in the United State to pass a marriage–equality statute. The Michigan-based tribe will now perform same-sex weddings and recognize those performed elsewhere.

A similar measure failed last July by a single vote. The tribe now joins the Coquille of Southern Oregon and the Suquamish of Washington State.

“We have our own constitution, our own court system, and our own government, police force [and], Department of Natural Resources, so it’s our right to express equality,” said former Odawa Council Chairman Ken Harrington. “In my mind, we’re all equal in our creator’s eye.”

A tribal LGBT equality toolkit released by Indigenous Ways of Knowing in 2012 is geared toward helping Native communities enact inclusive laws and practices.