Some residents of the Mohawk community of Kahnawake say the fact that a “marry out get out” law had to go to court. Quebec’s Superior Court of Justice has ruled the so-called ”marry out, get out” provisions of a membership law on the books in Kahnawake are unconstitutional.
The sections, which Kahnawake authorities said were designed to preserve Mohawk culture, are discriminatory and violate the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Quebec Superior Court Justice Thomas Davis wrote in a ruling.
The case was heard in court last year over provisions commonly referred to as “marry out, get out,” which state anyone who marries a non-Indigenous person can no longer live on the reserve just south of Montreal.
In his ruling, the judge said federal government actions over the years have disadvantaged the Mohawks because they had lands expropriated and for many years were discouraged from practising their own culture.
But Davis noted that none of the chiefs who testified were able to provide objective evidence that mixed marriages have an impact on land use or erosion of Mohawk culture.