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Blood Degree for Enrollment

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  • Blood Degree for Enrollment

    Various comments in this forum have sparked me to ask all of you exactly what you think about blood degree for enrollment.

    Understand that blood degree for recognition or eligibility to be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe is a policy of the federal government.

    Back in the day, tribal affiliation was based on whether or not that particular tribe was maternalistic or paternalistic. Example, my father's people were maternalistic. If a man married a woman, he would become a member of her tribe. He was adopted and given and name and whatever. Now, given the values of today's Natives, not very many men would consider totally giving up some, not all, but some of their tribal affiliation.

    Also, not very many tribal governments would be happy of the fact that they would have to legally adopt and grant membership rights to a man or woman, just because one of their members decides to marry that particular person. In doing so, we then loose an important part of our teachings and culture.

    So, lets quit being selfish and self centered and take a look at our children, for their sake and future. My children are enrolled N. Cheyenne because they are not enough blood degree to be enrolled in my tribe. I am a 1/4 Colville, 1/4 Umatilla, 1/4 Tlingit and the rest some Filipino and French or German. So, my children are an 1/8 of this and that and 1/4 N. Cheyenne and a 1/4 Oglala. Consider this, if my tribe choose to enroll me at the blood quantity of my entire Indian blood, I could be 3/4 Colville, as was done on the base rolls back in the day. My children would then be 3/8 plus 1/2 from their mom. Using the base roll ideal, they could be enrolled N. Cheyenne at 7/8. I would not necessarily have to become a N. Cheyenne, legally, but for my childrens' sake, they would be considered entirely N. Cheyenne. Certainly they would not live their lives knowing nothing about their father's people, as a parent, teaching them their culture would be important.

    So, Native people, understanding that blood quantity was a longterm termination plan designed by the federal government, it is now up to us to really dig down deep and put aside all issues and truly embrace the fact that traditionally these bonds of marriage and cultural preservation for our children and grandchildren is what matters most.

    Long story short, parents would have to decide based on their beliefs or values, what tribe to enroll their children in, the Mother's or the Father's; and their children would be enrolled in that tribe a the entire Indian blood quantity from both parents.

    I hate the fact that money is a big issue and truthfully, I know that enrolling my kids in my tribe would be more benificial since we live closer and financial reasons, e.g. a larger per capita payment. But, we'd be recognizing that our family bonds are more important to maintain and we'd be participating in and contributing to the preservation of our culture.

    Is the gradual exterminating of our tribe's not a big issue to anyone?

    ...that's so, so true...

  • #2
    It is important to me

    Boozhoo niji,

    I do not relish in the thought of any kind of extinction unless its a natural one, i.e. asteriod hitting the earth and wiping out everything is pretty natural. People commiting genocide is not natural unless you subscribe to the theory that people are natural and then everything they do is Gods will. I for one do not believe that.

    People are the only species on this planet that can more or less control their destiny. People are the only species that can control their environment.

    One of the things that happens when an outside force comes in to take control of the environment is that a balance is upset. Globally forests are being cut down to make way for urbanization, and industry is growing and increasing the amount of pollutants put into the air. Global warming is the result, and as the polar ice caps melt, species will disappear forever. As the rain forest is cut down, species disappear.

    Our people are no exception, but it is taking more than deforestation and the slaughter of the buffalo to accomplish this. Rules have been set as far as how much percentile blood one can have to be enrolled. I dont know if this actually causes the population of any one tribe to diminish, I do not have the statistics in front of me, but... if a tribe keeps an even population within itself, not growing or diminishing but remaining constant, the world would grow around it and cause its presence to diminish.

    Sometimes the percentile is not set by the federal government, but by the tribe itself. The federal government allots so much money to each tribe, and each tribe has x amount of dollars annually to utilize as it sees fit. Since the introduction of reservations and money, tribal members have become more and more dependant on money. The traditional way of life simply is not there anymore. Grocries must be bought, as well as health care, transportation, and schooling. All of these things put a burden on the tribal budget, and it is up to the tribal committee to see how much funds are distributed to each group, and, I am sure, after the police and water are paid for, the rest is divided up equally among tribal members.

    EVerytime a person is born into the tribe, the number of people to divide that money into is increased by that one. Then everyone gets a little bit less. In an economy with ever increasing fuel costs, insurance and taxes (if you live off rez), if the money comming in becomes less and not more than it puts that much more of a burden on the budget.

    I know this, myself and my family live in Florida, we do not receive any government monies at all. I work, my mother and father both receive social security and my father receives a monthly check from his union as part of his pension. All of that income is fixed. Over the past couple of years we have had hurricanes and other things that have caused taxes and insurance to go up. Fuel has gone up, groceries, and well... everything, but the fixed income has not gone up. We can no longer afford to live in Florida, to keep a house which is PAID for, because of the taxes and insuance. Minnesota is the way to go.

    Since Columbus, the white man has struggled to take control of this land, and every aspect of it. At first our people were killed. When that didnt work, they tried prisons (reservations) and finally assimilation. The latter seems to be working. With our languages disappearing and Elders dieing one by one, as the full bloods pass on a little part of that culture goes with them. Not so much is being taught anymore, stories are not being told anymore.

    My mother has the minimum blood percentage to be enrolled, and she is, yet she knows no stories, no songs, and had never been to a pow wow until I started to dance. I am the one interested in learning all of that, and so far, most of what I know I got from books. Since I discredit what the white man taught me in school, I do not count that towards my knowledge of people since I believe that its not true.

    Tribal enrollment is one thing I will probably never know, and sometimes I wonder if it even matters. Being not enrolled does not make me less of a dancer or not as good of a flute player. It does not forbid me from participating in sweats or attending pow wows. It does not hinder me from learning anything (although living in Florida and not Minnesota does slow me down in learning anything).

    So I pose this question. Is a culture to be measured by how much of a percentage the members of it posess, or by the amount of knowledge that they posess of their own culture? Its the knowledge and wisdom of a culture that defines it, the traditions, the language, the legends, the songs. With these things, we are Anishinaabe, Cheyenne, Lakota, Dine, Cherokee, and so on. Without all of those qualities, we are just Americans, trying to make a living in this insane world.

    So then how do we keep from being exterminated? If we impose the percentages to control how the money is divied out then we follow the white mans plan. If we rely on the money (which we almost have to) then we follow his plan. But I believe that there are ways for us to preserve our cultures, if we take the steps to do that.

    I dont know what the steps are. I have ideas, and they are extreme ones. No one would probably believe them, so I am not posting them. But I do know that unless some kinds of changes are made, then our people will be assimilated into the white cultures. We are at the turning point, we have been for 200 years. Which path will you take? I know whats in front of me.

    I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.


    • #3
      Well, please understand that each tribe has it's own requirements and it's not all blood degree. BIA does the 1/4 thing, OR being enrolled in a federally recognized tribe.

      Two of my granddaughters should be enrolled in their dad's tribe, and they have enough of his tribe's blood, but there's a residency requirement. Their mother (my daughter) is enrolled in the her dad's tribe even though she's more E. Shoshone. So the little one's are enrolled in a tribe of which they only have 7/64 degree (less than 1/8). But they add all the blood degrees up in this tribe, which is good. Except they didn't add the blood degree that my daughter got from me, so it's really not accurate there either.

      As for me, I had 3 prospective tribes to almost get enrolled in. ALMOST. One will still take me, but there's the residency requirement and I really don't want to move.

      My mom was a 'victim' of simplification. Someone decided that the 16th's were too complicated back then so they rounded her DOWN to the 8th's. Now my other granddaughter's denominator is 256. That's what happens when an odd numerator marries an even numerator.

      MY ADVICE: Pick your prospective mate VERY CAREFULLY! (yeah right!) is what it is...


      • #4
        Well, the point was that long time ago, there was no such thing as being 1/4 this or that plus a little this; if you lived with the Cheyennes, then you were a Cheyenne. If you married a Shoshone and he moved up to your tribe, then he was a part of your tribe, so on.

        Most importantly, tribal enrollment, though not always sufficient, does provide health care, college money or free college if you want to go to KS or something, and a big fat middle finger pointed right at the federal government for having the audacity to think that their plans to rid this great land of its Native inhabitants would have ever availed!

        Uh...thass about it.

        ...that's so, so true...


        • #5
          You're right, but things were'nt as complicated as they are now. There was'nt a much mixing with other races and those that usually did were taken away from their people and the children raised outside the culture. There had to be some guidelines set by the nations themselves. My tribe's enrollment is quite specific.. 1/4 matrilineal descent is the cutoff and we don't have money to squabble over.
          Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


          • #6
            My grandma used to say, "If it weren't for those d@mn powwows, then you wouldn't have to worry about getting your babies enrolled!"

            I had mentioned, too, that when I went to AK I didn't meet someone that I wasn't related to, and alot of those Nativez that were livin up there were all married up with people from the same clan and everything. Stirrin up sh*t with their grammas and what not that way.

            But they have a serious system, as with alot of tribes, with clans and relatives and what not. Though very intricate and complex, these are the most profound and ingenious systems of maintaining relations and keeping people from incest, yuk.

            ...that's so, so true...


            • #7
              Yeah when there's money involved there's always a big squabble.

              And even down here there's more people marrying cousins.
     is what it is...


              • #8
                Well, family is family, so the cool thing is that when they get divorced, they'll still be cuzins!!!!


                ...that's so, so true...


                • #9
                  I asked my Grandfather once why nobody in the family that he ever spoke of lived on a reservation. He told me that when his Grandfather was young, he was a Dog Soldier. when it became unsafe anymore for them to be with the Cheyenne, he took them away. Grandfather also said that he would not take money from the whites because the more they gave, the more Indian spirit they took away. He told me that the "official" (I always took that to mean BIA or some such group) birth and death certificates had been destroyed in some kind of fire. Even though I have the blood degree for enrollment, I can't prove it and don't really care to prove it. In my spirit, I am Cheyenne and that's all I need. I hate to see the stories and languages disappear.In my search for bead patterns I have come across some university web sites that seem to want to preserve Native culture,at least the artistic parts. I haven't looked to closely into what else is on their sites. Why can't it be done by Tribal members? Record the stories from the elders, write them down, so they can be passed on for generations. As far as I'm concerned, these are treasures more valuable than gold and need to preserved by whoever can preserve them be they Indian or white and I think Indian would be better. Once these things are lost, they will be forever lost and that would be a tragedy for all. This has been my 2 cents worth, for now, I am off my soapbox. Edit : Sorry I got OT here. I got sidetracked by the first couple of posts talking about losing the culture. I really have no business in this thread as far as tribal enrollment goes.
                  Last edited by subeeds; 09-21-2006, 06:39 PM.
                  Take nothing for granted. Life can change irrevocably in a heartbeat.

                  I will not feed the troll-well, I will try.


                  • #10
                    The Anishinaabe have three great books that i have read so far...

                    When Beaver was Very Great, by Anne Dunn

                    Living Our Language, edited by Anton Truer

                    The Manitous, edited by Basil Johnson

                    The first was short stories from legend and Anne Dunns life, really good short stories and easy reading.

                    the second is a compilation of stories and legends from different elders all across Anishinaabe country. Some are things these people actually experienced, and some are stories passed down from family.

                    The last is a collection of legends about the spirits of the Anishinaabe.

                    All of these seem like they are very important to our culture, and at least tehy are written down so in the future they can be shared and revived, so they wont be lost. I wish there were more out there.

                    I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.


                    • #11
                      I find myself to be self sufficient in that, I pay my own bills, feed the kids and what not. But, I have no problem at all with the federal government dishing out the bucks for somethin they ph**ked up. As a matter of fact, give till it hurts! No spirit broken here!

                      But really, not everyone gets somethin. As a matter of fact, most tribes get nothing! That is 1000 times more disheartening and spirit breaking than anything I can think of.

                      So until then, keep playing the lotto and what not and I'll keep my car in my mother-in-laws name, my phone in my baby's name and my credit card in your cousin's name!! Hutcha!

                      Hey, who want's to go in on a lottery pool. Then when we win we can make out own tribe!!

                      ...that's so, so true...


                      • #12
                        Count me in on the lotto! We can call the tribe the "We Were Here First People"
                        Take nothing for granted. Life can change irrevocably in a heartbeat.

                        I will not feed the troll-well, I will try.


                        • #13
                          My family is from Canada and to be "status" or "non-status" is a whole other bees nest. Plus being Dakota my family migrated from the US to Canada and then back to the US over several generations. I have family in both Manitoba and N. Dakota but no one has lived on any rez since my great grandparents.
                          "No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible"
                          "You cannot give the people who have wronged you so much power that they take away your dreams"


                          • #14
                            this blood quantem business is a tricky thing...each tribe has their own idea of whats acceptable blood quatenem and and whats not for general im 1/4 ndn but not many tribes add up all from all sides which is sad in a way..i agree with the person that posted this thread and i honestly think the old ways are better but we have a bigger problem those who get recongized just for the money and not willing to learn...thats why each tribe set up their own requirments so ppl dont get away with this..i honestly think even though my nephews and my neice are 1/8th they will never get recognized and being ndn isnt about that at long as yar community and your family etc.. knows ya and accepts ya thats all anyone eventhough many ppl say well 1/8th well ya aint ndn i say to heck with those ppl focus on the good.. family is what matters and passing on tradition...otherwise it would die i would strongly encourage them to marry full bloods but for love thigns are runned within each community has changed alot since BIA formed and contact..its their way of control over each comminuty.. there alot more bigger powwows that arent carding anymore and theres alot that do...i go to all reguardless and not let it bother me... well n the jist off all of this being ndn is bigger than whos enrolled and who isnt theres alot of born and raised ndn's who are full blood who arent enrolled and they have their reasons or just cant for some reason..but the jist not being enrolled doesnt make anyone less ndn than the ones who are


                            • #15
                              It's all about the$$....lemme tell ya something,the last thing the BIA,and most tribes want to do is enroll anotherNDN.If you "happen" to be born on the rez,then you're one of the "lucky" ones.Off rez,no such luck.Even if you meet the blood reqs.,there is still the matter of community recognition,and family reputation.If your family name has a black spot on it,even if it goes back generations,you will not be welcome into the community by anyone,and it will be a very uncomfortable existence.I would rather live in the mainstream where people like me(or not) based on the kind of person I am,not on whether or not an ancestor of mine was a complete a@@h&** back in the day,or because one of my parents is non-NDN,or because I wasn't born in the"RED GHETTO"....KEEP SMILIN'1


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