I was recently surfing the Internet and remembered an entertaining Web site I found a few years back - www.dumblaws.com. So I surfed over to the site, and it looked the same as when I first found it. The dumb laws featured on the Web site are still broken down by international laws, United States laws (laws that cover or once covered the whole country) and state laws.
Well being from Oklahoma, I once again clicked on Oklahoma's dumb laws to see if any new dumb laws had been added or any old ones had been repealed. The laws I saw were the same as I remembered them, none added and none repealed.
A small sampling of Oklahoma's dumb laws include forbidding women to do their own hair without being licensed by the state, forcing dogs to have a permit signed by a mayor in order to congregate in groups of three or more on private property, forbidding people to wear boots to bed and not allowing whaling in the state. That's the one that really gets me. It's still against state law for me to go to Lake Eucha or Tenkiller, get in a boat and hunt for whales. What is this country coming to?
As far as I know, these laws are still on the books in Oklahoma because when the Web site lists a law that is no longer in effect, it will put the word "repealed" beside it in parenthesis.
But then my curiosity got to me, and I started clicking on other states. I was a little concerned, no; I was extremely disappointed in what dumb laws I found in other states.
In Globe, Ariz., "cards may not be played in the street with a Native American." What is the thinking behind that law? Do they think Indians cheat? Did the lawmaker never hear of an honest Injun?
In Columbus, Ga., "all Indians must return to their shore of the Chattohoochee River by nightfall." Luckily, that one has been repealed because if I ever go to Columbus, Ga., I would really want to stay in a hotel and not by the shore of the Chattohoochee.
In Maine, state law requires people to take shotguns to "church in the event of a Native American attack." Are those darn Passamaquoddy and Micmac tribes causing trouble again? Maybe it's the Penobscots? I've always heard they were troublemakers.
In Massachusetts, one state law reads that "all men must carry a rifle to church on Sunday," yet hunting on Sundays is prohibited in the state according to the Web site. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the Wampanoags and the Nipmucs are on the warpath.
In Montana, state law reads that "seven or more Indians are considered a raiding or war party and it is legal to shoot them." As far as I know, this law is still valid. I saw no (Repealed) beside it. Just think about it, if you and six other Native friends walked into a caf� to grab some grub, you could be legally shot according to that law. Frightening.
In North Dakota, I would advise you not to go horseback riding just to be safe because according to state law "it is legal to shoot an Indian on horseback, provided you are in a covered wagon." Granted, there aren't a whole lot of covered wagons around any more, but better safe than sorry.
In the great, compassionate, understanding state of South Dakota, state law reads, "If there are more than five Native Americans on your property you may shoot them." I would advise against traveling in groups of six or more if you're Native and in South Dakota. "Excuse me sir, my five friends and I were headed to the powwow when our van broke down in front of your home. Hey, what's with the gun?"
It gets even worse in Spearfish, S.D., because city law states, "If three or more Indians are walking down the street together, they can be considered a war party and fired upon."
There are more in some other states, but I think you get the idea. Not only does it bother me that these laws were ever enacted, but that all of them are still valid (according to the Web site) except the Georgia/Chattohoochee River law. Why hasn't someone stepped up and abolished these laws? Are Native Americans still thought of in such a manner that these states feel the need to keep them? Surely not. Hopefully not.