Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

May 12, 2005

Boston Bans Indians

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:15 pm

The Boston Globe reports reports that Boston may lose a bid to host a convention of ethnic-minority journalists because Massachusetts has a law requiring the arrest of any Indians who enter the town of Boston.

The law appears to apply to American Indians (AKA, “Native Americans”), rather than Indian Americans (i.e., people who, or whose ancestors, are from India). But you never know, since the law just says “Indian.” It requires that any Indian attempting to enter Boston be detained, in prison if necessary, until permission to enter is obtained from the Governor.

The law was passed in 1675.

If my understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment is correct, this is a blatant violation of Section I of that Amendment, which means it should have been repealed right after the Amendment was ratified in 1868. Which means the legislators of Massachusetts are way behind in their duties.

The law reads as follows:

We find that still there still remains ground of Fear, that unless more effectual Care care be taken, we may be exposed to mischief by some of that Barbarous Crew, or any Strangers not of our Nation, by their coming into, or residing in the Town of Boston. . . . Secondly, That there be a Guard appointed at the end of the said Town towards Roxbury, to hinder the coming in of any Indian, until Application be first made to the Governor, or Council if fitting, and to be . . . remanded back with the same Guard, not to be suffered to lodge in Town, unless in Prison.

My guess is that the law has not been enforced in a while. My guess is the guard has not been appointed either. If they repeal the law, can I have the guard’s back pay? ;-)

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