Yakama Nation Chairman denied entry to Supreme Court for wearing headdress

Vincent Schilling

Security: "The headdress “draws attention to you.” Yakama Chairman JoDe Goudy was denied entry to the U.S. Supreme Court

Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy was denied entry to the United States Supreme Court hearing of Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den, Inc. on Tuesday due to his wearing of traditional dress, which included a feathered headdress.

At the supreme court building, a security guard explains Chairman Goudy cannot enter unless he removes his headdress and states “the court cannot be subject to outside influence” and that the headdress “draws attention to you” and causes “obstruction issues for other people who are trying to watch the court.”

Chairman Goudy relies to the guard, “for the record, I am being denied access to the Supreme Court if I do not take off my headdress” to which the security guard states “correct you can go inside the courtroom without the headdress.”

After the initial interaction, Chairman Goudy left the courtroom area without incident and went outside to pray.

In a live feed via Facebook Chairman Goudy is shown talking to one of the security guards outside the hearing.

Chairman Goudy released a statement, “The Yakama Nation treaty case is on trial at the Supreme Court today. I cannot wear my traditional regalia before the Supreme Court for the reasons that were stated, but I refuse to take off my traditional regalia.”

The case argued before the Supreme Court concerned the Yakama Nation’s Treaty-reserved right to travel outside the Yakama Reservation to take goods to market free from state tax, conditions, or encumbrance.

According to the Yakama Nation statement, “The State of Washington ignored these sacred rights and argued that it could prevent Cougar Den, Inc., a Yakama-licensed corporation, from traveling on public highways without first paying a tax for the transportation of goods to the Yakama Reservation. The State’s argument relies on cases that can be directly traced back to the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, which is a racist and genocidal doctrine that is being wielded against Native Nations by the State of Washington and United States to this day.”

For more information on this case or the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, please see the Yakama Nation’s amicus curiae brief here.

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling

Email -vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com


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