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  • Blood Quantum. Good or Bad?

    A friend and I were just talking about how many tribes use blood quantum to determine their membership. She said, "tribes that do this are setting themselves up for extinction." Eventually intermarriage will wipe fixed blood quantum out.

    I totally agree with her because under the current blood quantum of my tribal membership, my future grandchildren will not qualify to be members. And this concerns me....

    She said her tribe recently opened up their membership for new members including new babies, people who moved out of state etc. In order to become a member each person seeking enrollment had to answer, historical, cultural and family questions that pertained to their tribe's identity. (For new borns, their parents were asked).

    It was this tribes belief that if they were connected to their community roots, they would know the answers to their questions. Individuals who moved away and did not maintain any connection to their tribal community were not able to answer the questions and refused membership - regardless of blood quantum.

    WOW!!!


    Is this an idea of the future that more tribe's should adopt?

    Will blood quantum, if maintained, make tribes extinct???? Should blood quantum, as the principle criteria for membership, be abandoned?

    For those of you who are not Cherokee, where is this current criteria going to put your future great, grandchildren???


    Whatcha' think?
    Last edited by WhoMe; 09-05-2010, 02:32 PM.
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    Always an interesting topic, blood quantum is paper genocide to put it lightly, originally it was implemented to curb non-tribal persons from marring tribal persons and overtaking their land. But on a underlying level, it probably was known that, as is stated, soon no one will be eligible for enrollment. Like for myself as an example, I'm enrolled with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, but my mother is enrolled with Oglala Sioux Tribe, so her 'blood' does not count toward my blood degree. Too, my grandfather's grandparent were of Comanche and Chiricarua Apache decent from the Indian Territory days, I do have French and German ancestors as well, so I know I'm not totally 'full-blood'. But in my area, how tribes are dealing with this is by openning their enrollment rules, as for Oglala Sioux Tribe the past election a law was changed by the people's vote to open enrollment to any person born to an OST member regardless of blood degree, and I know that Rosebud Sioux Tribe allows for a person to be enrolled if one parent and one grandparent is enrolled. So their is hope, I do look forward to the day when tribes will be grant citizenship rather then enrollment, that will be a day when true tribal sovereignty is in full effect. Ah-ho heccetu yelo...

    Comment


    • #3
      my brother who was almost a full blood and me -half( we had different fathers) talked about this many times, and our grandchildren cannot be enrolled because they are less than 1/4.Our mother and all before her were full bloods and in two generations our family will no longer be able to be considered members of the tribe. Its sad but thats the way it is, and unless our children marry or have children from a member of Standing Rock we will cease to exist on the enrollment records.

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      • #4
        As a born and raised white woman I seriously believe that the whites don't have any say in this topic, including me. Although I am quite sure there a lot of them that have an opinion. It's a shame that this type of conversation HAS TO BE. My gramma was Lakota but I don't claim to be a Native American because I was raised white and whiter than a glass o' milk. I am thankful for the Native American people and have hope for the cultures and languages of the First People of this country. This topic should be the least on the list if I may say so respectfully. With all my heart keep going and don't stop!

        Comment


        • #5
          I am a member of the Winnebago tribe in Nebraska. I hear what you are saying. I an registered under my father, beingI am 1/2 Winnebago, 1/4Omaha Souix and 1/4 french. My children are 1/4 Winnebago and can be registered with our tribe on their own but just barely. If they were of lesser blood quantum they would have to request to become a member-request to 'be adopted 'into the tribe. I feel for our people we are going into extinction.I am heart sick that most of our langauges are dying out too.

          Comment


          • #6
            Who me.

            Thanks for this post. It's funny that you bring this up now 'cause I'm in the middle, in a way, of something along those same lines and trying to open things up a little, but in a different way.

            I agree with what your friends tribe is doing. I think that's great for the future of the people.

            I do think that if they don't do something like this then the tribes will be gone. A good friend of mine is full blood from Rosebud, her husband is full blood from Standing Rock. When their kids were born, his tribe would only list them as 1/2, but hers would accept them as full blood as well. So she went there. But now she has grand children who are lower and though they are being raised NDN and living who they are, their children may not be eligible. And when not living on the rez, but being raised NDN, wouldn't that make you that? Her g-grandchildren may not be able to enroll if things stay the way that they are.

            I had a friend, also, who is enrolled Kiowa, but her kids fell just a hair short, and I do mean a hair.LOL But they were raised Kiowa and taught by their grandfather, I was there. And yet they weren't enrolled for a long time. I heard that the Kiowa's lowered their blood quantum.

            I don't think that blood quantum should be a basis. But that's just my opinion here. But I will fight for the right of the tribes to make that decision, not the gov.

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            • #7
              I feel sad of this only because it also eventually effects religion as well. You must be a federal native of 1/4 degree or higher to qualify for religious items as well. But it is ultimately the decision of the tribe for those of you who's grandchildren are "adopted" remember that doesn't protect their religious rights or traditions. That is a BIG concern for them to make our ceremonies forbidden to those based on blood levels?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by WhoMe View Post
                A friend and I were just talking about how many tribes use blood quantum to determine their membership. She said, "tribes that do this are setting themselves up for extinction." Eventually intermarriage will wipe fixed blood quantum out.

                I totally agree with her because under the current blood quantum of my tribal membership, my future grandchildren will not qualify to be members. And this concerns me....

                She said her tribe recently opened up their membership for new members including new babies, people who moved out of state etc. In order to become a member each person seeking enrollment had to answer, historical, cultural and family questions that pertained to their tribe's identity. (For new borns, their parents were asked).

                It was this tribes belief that if they were connected to their community roots, they would know the answers to their questions. Individuals who moved away and did not maintain any connection to their tribal community were not able to answer the questions and refused membership - regardless of blood quantum.

                WOW!!!


                Is this an idea of the future that more tribe's should adopt?

                Will blood quantum, if maintained, make tribes extinct???? Should blood quantum, as the principle criteria for membership, be abandoned?

                For those of you who are not Cherokee, where is this current criteria going to put your future great, grandchildren???


                Whatcha' think?
                Wow, where's Zeke when you need him? LOL

                Zeke and I discussed this about a year ago. I totally understand Zeke's position regarding blood quantum and agree with him, those tribes who abide by a (1/4) blood quantums have set themselves up for extinction.

                What criteria could a tribe put into effect to determine enrollment OTHER than blood quantum??

                .
                Traditions.....keep them and keep them sacred!

                I am NOT Indian. I have never been to India, nor has any of my family before me! I have met these people from India, of whom you speak, and I am nothing like them. Why do you call me an Indian?

                .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mato Mahe View Post
                  Wow, where's Zeke
                  I thought the samething when I read this thread - but then again we already know his views on this topic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, the criteria for enrollment are set by the different tribes and they can change it...and some will probably have to in the near future.

                    The N. Arapaho tribe up here went through a major revision of enrollment requirements about 20 years ago or so. Before only enrolled fathers could enroll their kids if the kids were over 1/4.

                    Both tribes here have been counting the blood degree of the mother and father even if one is from a different federally recognized tribe.

                    The sad fact is the tribes with percaps are making or keeping their enrollment requirements stricter to keep their payments as high as possible.
                    ...it is what it is...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wyo_rose View Post
                      Both tribes here have been counting the blood degree of the mother and father even if one is from a different federally recognized tribe.
                      I guess their giving preference to Native blood over non-Indian blood - interesting. Atleast its an option for other tribes to consider.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Some tribes (mine included) enroll by lineal descent. Even though they give you a CDIB, there is no minimum BQ required to enroll. That opens up another can of worms, too. If only a very small fraction of your blood is NDN, then when do you cease to be one? Or do you?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NorthofAda View Post
                          Some tribes (mine included) enroll by lineal descent. Even though they give you a CDIB, there is no minimum BQ required to enroll. That opens up another can of worms, too. If only a very small fraction of your blood is NDN, then when do you cease to be one? Or do you?

                          Wow, several of my friends and I have had this same discussion and asked the same questions.

                          But if you are raised NDN and know your history and culture, do you ever really stop being who and what you are?

                          Yeah, there's a lot of terms out there: "Wannabe", "Hobbyist", "Weekend NDN" and on and on. I've heard them all, or most of them anyway. And when you talk to the people, many of them don't even know where they come from. So how can they really know who they are? Just a question and my opinion here.

                          I have a friend who runs a center here, I've worked with them for many years. They accept anyone who "says" that they are NDN as being NDN. Where they draw the line is when someone calls them up and says "I'm NDN, now what's in it for me or what can I get for it?" He hangs up the phone.LOL I have a different perspective, of course, but then again it is based on the tribes version first and then I look at other things as well. He and I have alot of these discussions all the time and just recently did again.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It was a bad sign for Natives when we started to write down what it meant to be Indian rather than just being in the position to live it like the folks before us. There were reasons for this change, but it was a shift away from traditional methods of identification.

                            ALL of us are grappling with this and every other post colonization issue that presents a daily challenge to our communities.

                            But i think we need to face it and realize that we can't ride two horses with one behind, we either acknowledge that our cultural and social identity isn't applicable to citizenship or that it is and blood quantum is a figment of some tribal or fed gov bureaucrat''s imagination to (usually) gauge our ancestors' intelligence. Let's show them we are smarter than that system. leave it behind and create one that meets the needs and wants of the people while maintaining a strong defense of tribal identity.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by handgame_native View Post
                              It was a bad sign for Natives when we started to write down what it meant to be Indian rather than just being in the position to live it like the folks before us. There were reasons for this change, but it was a shift away from traditional methods of identification.

                              ALL of us are grappling with this and every other post colonization issue that presents a daily challenge to our communities.

                              But i think we need to face it and realize that we can't ride two horses with one behind, we either acknowledge that our cultural and social identity isn't applicable to citizenship or that it is and blood quantum is a figment of some tribal or fed gov bureaucrat''s imagination to (usually) gauge our ancestors' intelligence. Let's show them we are smarter than that system. leave it behind and create one that meets the needs and wants of the people while maintaining a strong defense of tribal identity.
                              Great post!!!!

                              Comment

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