Professor Valencia-Weber to Discuss Landmark Pueblo Decision

Gloria Valencia-Weber

Professor Gloria Valencia-Weber will discuss a long-term project she is working on with Santa Clara Pueblo at a 4 p.m. presentation on Feb. 11 in Hibben Center, Room 105. The project arose from the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez.

In this case, among those most cited in U.S. decisions, the Supreme Court upheld the pueblo’s authority to enforce its own rules for eligibility for membership. The Santa Clara Pueblo ordinance expressly treats differently the female members who marry non-members than it does male members who “outmarry.” The ordinance denies membership to the children of the female members, but grants membership to children of the similarly situated male members.

The decision affirmed the sovereignty of Santa Clara Pueblo (and all tribes) and the authority to self govern. Today this decision underlies the development of tribal governance across many subjects, not just membership. The decision also is a startling opposite of the jurisprudence of equal protection in the constitution. Thus Santa Clara continues to provoke critiques and reviews from strict constitutionalists as well as feminist critics

The talk, sponsored by the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies, is part of the Anthropology Colloquia Series. A reception will follow.