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Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez

SANTA CLARA PUEBLO V. MARTINEZ

SANTA CLARA PUEBLO V. MARTINEZ, 436 U.S. 49 (1978), a landmark case regarding the federal government's jurisdiction over Indian tribes, arose from tribal disputes over membership. A woman member of the Santa Clara Pueblo tribe married a Navajo and had seven children. The Santa Clara Pueblo denied membership to the woman's children based on a tribal ordinance excluding the children of female, but not male, members who married outside the tribe. Excluded children could neither vote, hold secular office, remain on the reservation in event of the mother's death, nor inherit their mother's house or interest in communal lands. The mother asked the federal district court to enjoin enforcement of this gendered ordinance. The district court decided in favor of the mother, contending that the Indian Civil Rights Act granted it implied jurisdiction to do so. Congress passed the act in 1968 to apply certain provisions of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution to tribal governments in criminal cases. Santa Clara Pueblo appealed the federal court's decision, arguing that the 1968 law did not authorize civil actions in federal court for relief against a tribe or its officials. The Supreme Court agreed, guaranteeing strong tribal autonomy except when Congress provided for federal judicial review.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

MacKinnon, Catherine A. Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987.

Molander, Susan Sanders. "Case Notes: Indian Civil Rights Act and Sex Discrimination." Arizona State Law Journal 1 (1977).

TonyFreyer/j. h.

See alsoBureau of Indian Affairs ; Native Americans ; Women in Public Life, Business, and Professions .

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