May 06, 2012

Boston law banned Indians until 2005

Antiquated law banned Native Americans from Boston until 2005

By Alex Pappas[A] look through history reveals that the city of Boston—just across the Charles River from Harvard’s Cambridge—hasn’t always been so kind to American-Indians. In fact, under a law that wasn’t repealed until 2005, Warren—a Native American—technically committed a crime every time she crossed that river.

Even though authorities long refused to enforce the law, there was actually a law on the books dating back to the colonial era banning Native Americans from entering the city.

The law was passed in 1675 out of a fear of a “barbarous crew” that would expose the city’s residents “to mischief.”

In 2004, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino called for doing away with the antiquated law.
Comment:  Someone noted that Boston passed the law in the aftermath of King Philip's War. Good point. I didn't think why it started in that particular year.

Still, the Pequots lost. Were Bostonians worried that a few Indians would sneak in and terrorize the city? Setting fires and killing people?

I could see that being an issue for five or 10 years. Then they could've repealed the law. 330 years is a long time to worry about savage Indians.

These days we can't ban Indians (or blacks, Latinos, Muslims, or gays) legally, but we can our best to ostracize them so they'll go away. For examples of this, see Sunday Night Probed Over "Freakshow," Racist "Windian" Poster, and Play Portrays Ishi as Rapist, Murderer.

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