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Tribe allows non-member to remain while remedy sought

November 14, 2008

MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT - The Meskwaki Tribal Council agreed Wednesday to hold off on the enforcement of its own exclusionary order, which would have forced a local man out of a tribal home.

At issue is whether James Ironshell, a member of the Sioux tribe, will be able to stay in the home with his wife, who is a native-born member of the Meskwaki tribe. Tribal law dictates that no non-Meskwaki male can live with a Meskwaki female on the settlement.

Ironshell and his wife believes that is a racist and sexist policy, noting there is no such provision prohibiting Meskwaki males from living with non-Meskwaki females on settlement grounds and in settlement homes.

Due to these most recent developments, Ironshell is dismissing a lawsuit in Tama County, which sought to impose an injunction on enforcement of the order.

His attorney, Darrell Meyer, said they will seek to find an appropriate remedy through the tribal court system. While this may take Ironshell out of immediate danger of being removed from his home, the threat is still there.

If the tribal court rules against him, Meyer is prepared to have Ironshell take it to the next step.

In the event of an unfavorable ruling, "Mr. Ironshell will file a petition for injunction and review in the tribal court," Meyer said. "If the tribal court refuses to timely grant the injunction preventing enforcement of the exclusion order, Mr. Ironshell will commence an action in federal district court."

If forced to leave, Ironshell may be separated from his wife and three daughters.


Contact Ken Black at 641-753-6611 or



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