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Northwest Tribal Leader Denied Access By Security Outside U.S. Supreme Court

JoDe Goudy, Yakama Nation Tribal Chairman, addresses the Alaska Federation of Natives in his full regalia in October 2016.
JoDe Goudy, Yakama Nation Tribal Chairman, addresses the Alaska Federation of Natives in his full regalia in October 2016.

JoDe Goudy, Yakama Nation Tribal Chairman, addresses the Alaska Federation of Natives in his full regalia in October 2016.
Credit Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network
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JoDe Goudy, Yakama Nation Tribal Chairman, addresses the Alaska Federation of Natives in his full regalia in October 2016.

JoDe Goudy, Chairman of the Yakama Nation, was denied entry to the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday. Goudy almost always dons his traditional regalia with purpose for important occasions, and a visit to the highest court in the U.S. is no exception.

But diplomacy didn’t seem to sway a security guard outside the Supreme Court.

“So, the court is not to be subject to outside influence… the headdress itself will not be allowed inside the courtroom…” said a security guard, in a video posted by Goudy to social media.

The guard told Goudy there were “decorum issues in the courtroom” and his headdress could obstruct the view for others. Chairman Goudy called the experience ‘dehumanizing.’

“I wouldn’t say it was an outright show of disrespect," he said. "I think there is probably some misinterpretation and misunderstand with regard to what our traditional attire and regalia means to us what it would mean to a person who wears a headdress to essentially ask them to remove it," Goudy said.

He was in Washington, D.C. to hear arguments in a case dating back to 2013 that questions the rights outlined in a 163-year-old treaty signed between the Yakama Nation and the United States.

The question before the court is whether a unique travel clause in the Yakama’s Treaty allows members of the tribe to transport goods on state highways in Washington state tax free. Goudy refused to remove his headdress, so he was forced to wait outside until arguments were over. 

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.