A tribal leader of the Yakama Nation in Washington state was not allowed access to a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday that involved the tribe, because he refused to remove his traditional headdress.
According to KomoNews, Yakama Nation chairman JoDe Goudy was told he could access the Supreme Court if he removed the headdress. In a Facebook Live video shot during the incident, a guard explains to the chairman that the headdress might influence the court.
Goudy’s Facebook post reads, “Denied access to view the Yakama Nation Supreme Court case …. it’s a beautiful day my relatives … keep a prayer in your hearts for all of our Nations, Lands, Waters, Peoples, and Relations … Atauwishamush.”
Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den is a Supreme Court case that questions whether the Yakama Nation has the right to avoid state taxes on off-reservation commercial activities that make use of public highways, under the Yakima Treaty of 1855.
According to the Department of Licensing, Kip Ramsey, who is the owner of a gas station called the Cougar Den, sold out-of-state fuel without paying the state’s fuel tax and sold it for 50 cents less than other gas stations nearby.
Under the 1855 treaty, the Yakama Nation argues that it does not have to pay the state gasoline tax because the treaty allows free travel to tribe members. The state contends it isn’t a tax on travel, but instead on a product.
Goudy, who would not remove his headdress and was not granted access, left the courtroom to pray.
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