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Old 10-11-2004, 07:21 PM   #1
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Blood Quantum...What does being Indian actually mean?

I have a very political issue...What are your thoughts on Blood Quantum? The Federal Government defines being "Indian" by 1/4 or more degree of indian blood. That means, they only "Fund" those who are 1/4 more degree of Indian Blood. What about decendents? What about "indians" who don't know anything about their culture, language, history or even their relatives?

Post your thoughts here...after a few posts, i'll post mine.
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Old 10-11-2004, 07:33 PM   #2
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Nobody can really set standards on who an indian is. Nor can anyone say who is and who isnt. My personal opinion is that your bq and your spirit ,or what kind of person you are, run together. Not one can do with out the other. That just my 2 cents..dont want to get ot into it...
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Old 10-11-2004, 07:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tradish_wiyan
The Federal Government defines being "Indian" by 1/4 or more degree of indian blood.
The individual tribes set their own 'blood quantum' for membership, not the Federal govt.

Some tribes have set 1/4; others have set 1/16th, 1/8th etc

Each tribe handles its own rolls.
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Old 10-12-2004, 12:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by this1ndnchic
Nobody can really set standards on who an indian is. Nor can anyone say who is and who isnt.
Well...I'd think that each tribe does and will continue to set their own standards towards whom is and is not a member of their respective tribe.
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Old 10-12-2004, 01:03 AM   #5
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I think that people who are mixed should look inside and see who they are. I just don't really like full whites who are trying to be indian. True, I know of naties who don't care about who they are... I think that we should be accepting of all colors, but not try to make one color on everybody. I think that black, white, red, brwon, etc. should all celebrate thier own people, yet still keep their own culture alive. Even if that means educating people who don't know anything about thier own culture and especially youth... I think i am worried about is the extiction of smaller groups, such as individual tribes and languages of non-large groups. Like cree and Blackfoot are not losing thier language. Sorry, I think I got off track, but It is also good that the governement onoy funds people sho are 1/4 or whatever, because it helps keep those individual groups together. I am not expressing myself as I would like to. I hope you get the gist here. I was recently reading a book "which is open for another discussion" but they said that the white in anyone was not mentioned, It only mattered if they became mission indians. I think that it matters inside the person as to who the identigy with, as long as they aren't totally white and have at least some native. I know of one Metis who has full-blood mother and white father, who ended up blonde and white skin....she has the nose and high forehead. part of it is genetics. But now I am off topic. I hope I made some sense.
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Old 10-12-2004, 03:39 AM   #6
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I think I know what you are saying... you don't really feel a blood quantum is necessary, but glad it's in place to help keep communities together and stay together? And that you are more worried about the smaller tribes losing their quantum and disappearing than you are the larger groups who have more language speakers. and that you can't judge who's indian based on looks cause it's a toss up of genetic material?

if that's what you are saying I mostly agree with you.
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Old 10-12-2004, 11:10 AM   #7
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Blood quantum...hum...controversial topic. Zotigh is right in regards to individiual tribes setting their own standards, ours is supposedly 1/4, however, we are a matilineal society, so if your mother, mother's mother, etc... is enrolled , you are eligible for enrollment. The problem is that it has 'stretched' our blood lines so thin now to somewhere in 1/75 (?)! brackets...it then creates controversy within the rez community regarding services...etc.....know what I mean? I don't know... it's such a wide controversial topic... it could probably go on and on.
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Old 10-12-2004, 11:32 AM   #8
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I tend to have mixed feelings as about the blood quantum issue. My tribe recently dropped the blood quantum to 1/8. It was a political move by the last chairman. I do not agree. These people are basically white or black. Because they are so diluted they usually don't know anything about being indian. But I'll bet they sure know how to take their new "Indian Card" to go and get services from the tribe.

But on the other hand the blood quantum issue works against people who are actually almost full blood Indian but just of different tribes. Kinda the Heinz 57 thing.

Hey I have a radical idea.

Just marry another Indian so your children will be Indian too!!!!
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Old 10-12-2004, 11:55 AM   #9
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Heh, qauntum number san get rediculous fast. My family has been intermarrying with trappers and taders for a long, long time. My daughter is about 3/4, but her quantum is measured in 512ths (which puts me in the 256ths) and my grandchildren will be in the 1024ths!

Then there is the missuz, who is rated at 100%, but it is also well known that her family is at least a little bit French - It's said her grandafather was chief when they were coming up with quantum numbers back in the day. Still, this is just as accurate as the actual official government methods of determining blood qauntum. The govts. determined it according to two common tests, the scratch test and the phrenological test. Withe the scratch test, they would scratch you arm and look to see what color the skin turned where it was scratched. This color was matched to a color chart that related color to blood qauntum. For the other test, the number and location of bumps and dips on your head were recorded and then compared to another chart to determine how evolved you were and thus, how much native blood you had.

So pretty much, the whole blood quantum deal is an arbitrary (at best) process. At worst, it is a function of statistical genocide - which is easy preventable by marrying other Indians of the same band as you. Remember folks - most bands in the United States do not recognize the blood of other bandss, even if it is from within the same tribe (example: red lake ojibwe doesn't recognize leech lake ojibwe for purposes of enrollment). I hear LCO is now counting the blood of other Ojibwe bands for the purpose of enrollment - good for them! I hope more folks follow their excellent lead.

One last thing, most tribes have not created their own enrollment standards, they are still using enrollment guidelines put into place by the U.S. government back when the Indian Organization act was exercised. Here in MN, the tribal constitutions (and govts.) were all based on the charter at the U of MN - and anyone who's gone to school there knows how jacked up that place is (heheheh).

Anywho, just ramblin on now.

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Old 10-12-2004, 12:39 PM   #10
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I am definetly mixed on this issue. I'm enrolled Navajo at 1/2. Our blood quantum is 1/4. Our tribal council sets the limit, not the feds. (But they might have initially set it) Of my 4 kids I have 2 who have a non-ndn dad. (What was I thinking) They are enrolled 1/4. So if they do not marry navajo, their children will not legally be Navajo. (I guess I can get them enrolled Cherokee, cause their is no minimum. But they won't know much about it, cause I don't know much about it.)

At the same time there are thousands of full blood Navajos who are not learning to speak the language or our culture and traditions. Most of them live right here on the "REZ." Their children will legally be Navajo, but won't know what it means to be Navajo.

I feel like the feds insist on "paper" like you register your dogs, horses and cats. Latin Americans do not have to indicate what fraction their blood quantum is.

But on the other hand I understand the financial implications of higher or lower blood quantum.

I know one tribe the if you are more than one tribe they will count all your NDN blood quantum on their rolls. So if you are 1/2 Navajo and 1/8 Cherokee then you would be 5/8 on their rolls. Maybe more tribes should consider that.......
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Old 10-12-2004, 12:53 PM   #11
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OK, here are my 2 cents. We have been told from the time we were teenagers that if we want our children enrolled and eligible for services, including land ownership, then we find a spouse from our reservation. We were told that from day one. Now when I bring that up, I realized that not everybody was raised "traditionally" and were not taught of lineage and passing on the culture and traditions. Our language here is in the revitalization stages. Now, there are some radicals who want to abolish the blood quantum to "decendency"...I disagree with that because when a woman marries...she takes on her husbands cultures and traditions (typically) and the children of that relationship typically take on the fathers heritage. When are we going to teach our Indian youth to find other Indians to keep the traditions and cultures? We are so worried about keeping our culture alive, but what are we doing about it? We need to teach our children the facts...the government does not fund 1/8th...regardless of what your tribe's requirements are. If you are from a reservation with economic opportunities, then the funding comes from the tribe itself. But when you are from a tribe with very little to no economic development, the funding comes from the government who only funds 1/4 or more.

I liked the comment before about the "radical" idea...if you want Indian children...MARRY AND INDIAN!!!!
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Old 10-12-2004, 01:10 PM   #12
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by sookout sh'nob
... The govts. determined it according to two common tests, the scratch test and the phrenological test. Withe the scratch test, they would scratch you arm and look to see what color the skin turned where it was scratched. This color was matched to a color chart that related color to blood qauntum. For the other test, the number and location of bumps and dips on your head were recorded and then compared to another chart to determine how evolved you were and thus, how much native blood you had.
LOL... he's just kidding right???!!!
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Old 10-12-2004, 01:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tradish_wiyan
I have a very political issue...What are your thoughts on Blood Quantum? The Federal Government defines being "Indian" by 1/4 or more degree of indian blood. That means, they only "Fund" those who are 1/4 more degree of Indian Blood. What about decendents? What about "indians" who don't know anything about their culture, language, history or even their relatives?

Post your thoughts here...after a few posts, i'll post mine.
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t_wiyan:

The federal government does not define who is an Indian. Tribes do this to determine their membership. The majority of tribes have a minimum blood quantum requirement of 1/4 or more degree of blood to qualify for membership.

However in some tribes such as the Cherokee, you just have to prove you are a lineal descendent of someone who was on the Dawes roll to qualify for membership. Thus, their membership is made up of both full-bloods and individuals with 512ths degree of Cherokee.


Defining who is an Indian is a four sided ax . . .

Side one - The federal government accepts who the federally recognized tribes decide are a part of their membership: for purposes of census, educational/health/social/housing services and assistance.

Side two - (Hypothetically Speaking)If card indentification is ended and individuals who carry a card are no longer recognized by both tribes and the federal government THEN, anyone who simply states they are an Indian will be eligible for services that are currently federally obligated to go to Indian people.

Side three - Many people who ARE Indian but not recognized as tribal members (by federally recognized tribes) are often not recognized for federal, tribal or urban services because they don't carry a card.

Side four - If you have blonde hair or look like you have African Heritage (even if you do carry a card), sometime in your life, an identifiable Indian is going to question your Indianness.
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Old 10-12-2004, 05:45 PM   #14
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LOL... he's just kidding right???!!!
I'm afraid he's not, but they don't do these tests today.. but this was one of the tests done on some folks in NC in the last century to determine 22 people of being 1/2 or more indian blood, includeing measuring head bumps and wetting hair.....

Anyhow, you are SNI right Lax? I know in the confederacy most don't enroll less than 1/4 . The way the SNI are doing it is more traditional and as long as they live in the community I don't see a problem. They are still community and family. It's when they have'nt had ties for generations with the community and want to come and enroll for services and money is when I have a problem with it. Being haudenosaunee always meant more to me than quantum, meant knowing your family and people and that's why I make every effort to bring my kid back home at least once a year (wish I could afford to go more often).
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Old 10-12-2004, 06:57 PM   #15
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Side four - If you have blonde hair or look like you have African Heritage (even if you do carry a card), sometime in your life, an identifiable Indian is going to question your Indianness.[/QUOTE]


I have to agree with this last statement.

There are some young women that work in the same building that I work. They are women that choose to marry outside of the Indian Nation. Although the children are enough to be enrolled with us, others see them different.

But now they are crying around. One the young ladies live in a small tribal housing community. She is getting mad and hurt because her children are being called names like n*****. She simply cannot believe that other children would actually be like that. What I find amusing is the woman is actually shocked. I am sure her family told her what the consciences would be when she started dating the would-be husband.

I don't agree with the name calling of these innocent children. The mother of these children should have been prepared for something like this to happen. People won't look at these children and see them as Indians but as what color is dominate in the child.
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Old 10-12-2004, 07:16 PM   #16
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This issue really hits home with me. I am married to a man who is not the same tribe as me...he is Meskwaki. His mother is a full blood who is enrolled and his father is not. He can't be enrolled with the Meskwakis because only the men can enroll their children. So, my husband is 1/2 Meskwaki and has the papers to prove it, but not enrolled anywhere. My children are 6 tribes (my mom and dad are different tribes), they are 3/4 Indian and for the longest time they were not enrolled anywhere because the only tribe that they are at least 1/4 of is Meskwaki. Thank god Three Affiliated Tribes accepts all of your Indian blood. My babies are officially Indian now......well at least according to the government.

Personally, I feel that tribes should recognize all of your native blood. There is so much we are losing. People say to marry your own tribe...what if you have a big family? I wasn't about to marry/have children with relations just so my children could be enrolled.

NEWAYZ...dang rambling. Blood quantum DEFINITELY does not measure how native you are. It is in your heart, your beliefs....so much more. It is sad that we let the government tell us if we are native or not.

Last edited by nativemom; 10-12-2004 at 07:18 PM.. Reason: changed a few words
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Old 10-12-2004, 07:29 PM   #17
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The way the SNI are doing it is more traditional and as long as they live in the community I don't see a problem. They are still community and family. It's when they have'nt had ties for generations with the community and want to come and enroll for services and money is when I have a problem with it. Being haudenosaunee always meant more to me than quantum, meant knowing your family and people and that's why I make every effort to bring my kid back home at least once a year (wish I could afford to go more often).
It wish there was a way to determine Indianness from this. Because Blood Quantum isn't everything....

But then how would we keep out the wannabes......

Very complex topic.
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Old 10-12-2004, 09:58 PM   #18
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I don't understand your question Kiyaani's mom.....
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Old 10-12-2004, 11:27 PM   #19
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It wish there was a way to determine Indianness from this. Because Blood Quantum isn't everything....

But then how would we keep out the wannabes......

Very complex topic.
The Quantum system was not designed to keep out wannabes, it wasn't even designed by Native people. What the quantum system was designed to do was determine who is a citizen (non-natives) and who was not (natives). the less natve blood you had, the more human you were and thusly the more likely you were to be a decent land tending citizen. Remember, the policy of the day was nits beget lice... best to cut off the problem at it's source - coincidently the same aim (hah, a pun) of boarding school, allotment, and the entire reservation system (which wasn't supposed to be dissolved after the indians had the savage bred or beat out of them). The quantum system of enrollment also made it easier to steal land (allotment again) and destroy extened family relations (the jealousy and greed that often accompanied land deals on the reservation at this time). If you're not really native, why not sell your lil piece of the rez, right?

Insidious and sinister, that's blood quantum. India is doing somthing similar today with people they want to get rid of - the popular prejudice is to call it "statistical genocide" - the idea that eventually, there will be no one left who can legally call him/herself from that group. It was the same intent here... the problem is it just didn't quite do it's job as exactly or as quickly as was planned.

In short, it's a trick, get an axe.

Last edited by sookout sh'nob; 10-13-2004 at 12:21 AM..
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Old 10-14-2004, 12:10 PM   #20
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Anyhow, you are SNI right Lax? I know in the confederacy most don't enroll less than 1/4 . The way the SNI are doing it is more traditional and as long as they live in the community I don't see a problem. They are still community and family. It's when they have'nt had ties for generations with the community and want to come and enroll for services and money is when I have a problem with it. Being haudenosaunee always meant more to me than quantum, meant knowing your family and people and that's why I make every effort to bring my kid back home at least once a year (wish I could afford to go more often).
BB, unfortunately even with the 'traditional enrollment"... our lineage is really 'out there'...you should see it at tribal election time!!!, they come out the woodwork-and it's just for the $$$! but yeah...it's hard seeing blue eyed/blonde haired people sitting next to you when you're waiting at the clinic.. but then again they're just as much on the rolls as me and eligible for the same services... everything is so out proportion though...ex. we have tribal laws that prohibit any individual from 'being on two federally recognized rolls' though...I had to challenge it for my granddaughter...my daughter married an ojib from canada and our own tribe tried to make an issue of her being eligible for two rolls...beat them with their own language of 'federally recognized.." as the canadian tribes are not federally recognized within the states. That's a whole 'nother issue, like NYS doesn't recognize canadian ndns... it gets scary in regards to the Indian Child Welfare Laws and such....our tribal courts have recently had to intervene alot in some of those cases to keep canadian native children out of the hands of the State.... it could go on and on!!!
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Last edited by Ohontsia; 10-14-2004 at 12:30 PM..
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