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  • Blood Quantum And Unnecessary Refence To It.

    I hold some opinions but please try to look at the subject of Blood Quantum in general, this is a major issue in the Native community.

    I see Native people always representing their Blood Quantum when they don't need to. I often feel really bad to see Native people doing this. Can you imagine what your ancestors might say if they knew that their children went around saying, "I'm 1/2 blood or I'm full blood". Most people who walk around throwing out their blood quantum aren't even aware of the consequences of Blood Quantum.

    The only time I can see it being acceptable is when you announce your Tribe when you announce Blood Quantum, only and only if you are in a place in life where you are seeking to have your children enrolled.

    What I'm getting at is that saying your Full Blood doesn't mean a thing. Your only Full Blood or any blood quantum because your Tribe that is set up in a non-Traditional style says you are. Europeans were here like 400 years before they even established blood quantum, there’s hardly a such thing as Full Blood in any Race of people. Some Europeans squeezed their way onto those rolls also. During the Dawes Act in 1887 many Native women couldn’t get a piece of land because they weren't "head of household". Sometimes they would take any man they could, even if that meant a White man, since all the Native men already signed for a piece of land and couldn't sign for two pieces. The White man became an automatic "full blood" upon signing that paper.

    When a Mexican comes and has kids with an American do those kids get an I.D. card that says: 1/2 American? NO THEY DON'T. We as Natives are the only people who have to legally prove who we are.

    It is entirely possible for someone to trace back as far as records were kept and find all Native ancestors. This person could be wholly Native and some might call them "Full Blood". However, it is very possible this person has a mixing of 4-5 different Tribes and doesn't hold enough blood in either of them to be enrolled anywhere.
    Another scenario is: Say a so called Full Blood Ojibwe from Minnesota has kids with a Full Blood Ojibwe from Wisconsin. Those kids are essentially from the same Tribe just different Rezervations(bands). Now you would think that since their parents are so called Full BLood they should be too right? WRONG those kids are legally 1/2 Blood from whatever Tribe their parents choose to enroll them.

    Blood quantum is GENOCIDE, yes genocide. I understand why Tribes do it though. They want it there so that people won't marry outside the Tribe, they want to keep Native people marrying Native people and I entirely agree that Native people should, we are a dying race. I believe the only time someone should be saying their blood quantum is when the words "I’m from "tribes name" Tribe and I'm "Blood Quantum". The only reason I can see people doing this and I would completely understand it is for people who are looking towards finding a partner and want their kids to be enrolled.

    Think of what Blood Quantum is doing to people psychologically, those people who were raised traditionally Native. They cannot get housing on the Rez because they aren't enrolled and are considered outsiders(many tribes at least).

    It makes me upset every time I see people unnecessarily representing their Blood Quantum. I think that if you weren't raised in a Native Family and you have just found out your Native then you must come to fully comprehend values and traditions and do your best to live by them before you can really know what it is to be a Native person.

    I have five cousins who look entirely White yet they hold Tribal I.D cards that show they are 1/4 and are enrolled. Those cards don't tell me they are Native; they are Native because of where they come from. They come from a Native family and they are traditionally more Native then some people who would call themselves "Full Bloods".
    Last edited by JayFive; 03-29-2008, 04:10 AM.
    Native people were chosen by the Creator to be an example to the world.

  • #2
    Well, I enjoyed reading this and just want to ask you, why your opinion on this subject is what it is? I can agree that there are not many full-bloods anymore. My granny was the last real full-blood in my family, even though she was of two tribes. My father and his brothers like to claim they are full-blooded too, even though I know my grandfather's side had a white great-grandfather back in the family tree. I'm just curious what your intentions are in writing this thread up? BTW, I do not agree with some of your statements, such as, parents only wanting to be able to enroll children. I'm only just over half and I have always had pride and comfort in my brown skin; I love my hubby's brown skin, and most definately love my two brown-skinned children. Enrollment was the last thing on my list of priorities. As I said, I can appreciate your opinion, however I would remind you that other people may have a differing perspective and it might be wise to think about all the factors you base your opinion on to begin with.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by WocusWoman View Post
      Well, I enjoyed reading this and just want to ask you, why your opinion on this subject is what it is?
      Better to say your genes are strong then to say "I'm 3/4" or "I'm Full blood". Blood quantum may influence the darkness of your skin but I believe it is wrong to walk around being proud of a system that works like that. Whats the point of telling people your Blood Quantum without telling them your Tribe? Theres no point in mentioning it at all if you aren't doing that because the only reason whatsoever is to let people know what Tribe you are incase you meet someone you may have children with.

      What other legit reason does Blood Quantum serve if not for that?

      My opinion on the subjuct is that it upsets me to see Natives adopt a system that is not of Tradition. Blood Quantum was created by the U.S. governemt and maintained by Tribes.

      How can you be proud to say your 3/4 blood quantum when other people from your Tribe are being ousted from blood recognition because their parents are from two different Tribes?

      I do not agree with some of your statements, such as, parents only wanting to be able to enroll children.
      I did not say that, I said

      "The only reason I can see people doing this and I would completely understand it is for people who are looking towards finding a partner and want their kids to be enrolled."

      Meaning I find announcement of Blood Quantum understandable only if one announces their Tribe along with the announcement.

      Blood quantum is Genocide....whats to like about it?

      I'm just curious what your intentions are in writing this thread up?
      My intentions are to bring fourth a topic that is a major issue in the Native Community which is Blood quantum. I'll also clear a few things up.
      Last edited by JayFive; 03-29-2008, 04:10 AM.
      Native people were chosen by the Creator to be an example to the world.

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      • #4
        For the most part I agree with you. However, I think the issue is far more complex than a simple denunciation of blood-quanta makes it sound.

        First speaking as a scientist: There is no gene for race or culture. Those are social constructs that are environmentally transmitted. While we are discovering nature (genetics) plays a far greater role in things long thought entirely a matter of nurture. However, no reputable scientist has found gene/s that mark anything other than geographically linked concentrations of genetically regulated traits. (Believe me if they had, every wannabe New-Ager would be lining up for gene therapy. Brings a whole new dimension to Indian by injection, LOL.)

        Native identity is primarily: 1) Kinship and all its obligations. 2) Language, which we are discovering has far greater influence than thought. (Some PET scans show people born deaf and using sign language with its different modality have different activity patterns in their brains.) 3) Religion and its fallout of ethics, worldview, and mores. 4) Art, literature (oral and written), history, and sport. 5) Community recognition and participation.

        Originally posted by JayFive View Post
        [B]I see Native people always representing their Blood Quantum when they don't need to. I often feel really bad to see Native people doing this. Can you imagine what your ancestors might say if they knew that their children went around saying, "I'm 1/2 blood or I'm full blood". Most people who walk around throwing out their blood quantum aren't even aware of the consequences of Blood Quantum.
        I think that this discredits the intelligence and awareness of most Native people. In my experience we are fully aware that blood quanta is a European imposed, pseudoscientific system -- legacy of the social Darwinist fallacies that still influence the dominant culture to its detriment. However, it does partially encapsulate the reality that all of the above components of culture are principally transmitted within the family. You are far more likely to have a complete and rich knowledge and experience of (insert your Nation's name here) culture if most people modeling language and behavior during your childhood are of the same culture. (Which is precisely why Indian education system operated as it did.)

        Originally posted by JayFive View Post
        When a Mexican comes and has kids with an American do those kids get an I.D. card that says: 1/2 American? NO THEY DON'T. We as Natives are the only people who have to legally prove who we are.
        No, but then they do not have the same dual citizenship we have. We have unique historical and political relationship, embodied in our various treaties, to the government of the US or Canada. (I omit south of the Rio Grande because legal dissimilarities from the English Common Law roots of US/Canadian governments have resulted in some significant differences in the status of Native peoples.) We have cards to prove we are tribal citizens or descendants of tribal citizens.

        Originally posted by JayFive View Post
        Blood quantum is GENOCIDE, yes genocide. I understand why Tribes do it though. They want it there so that people won't marry outside the Tribe, they want to keep Native people marrying Native people and I entirely agree that Native people should, we are a dying race.
        First, the numbers don't bear out the "dying" assertion. Taking the census bureau's figures at face value, we have gone from ca. quarter million in 1900 to ca. three million, with something on the order of half our population under the age of 30.

        At the risk of sounding like powwows.com 's favorite Ayn Rand and Fredrick Hayek quoting foe of blood quanta :) , I do think numerical genocide is a very real possibility for some tribal groups. However, I do not see a clear solution that would be acceptable to the dominant culture. Self-identification poses real risks to tribal resources and infrastructure, and to our precious cultural and intellectual property. I'd like to see a workable, community-based system of naturalization developed -- in part because I think the process alone could slow Native North America's linguistic fade. However, such a system (or more likely systems) must be a product of the tribal community and worldview, and work within the realities of our fraught relationship with the dominant culture governments.

        Originally posted by JayFive View Post
        [B]IThink of what Blood Quantum is doing to people psychologically, those people who were raised traditionally Native. They cannot get housing on the Rez because they aren't enrolled and are considered outsiders(many tribes at least).
        First ask yourself a few questions: Is the tribe trying to conserve scarce resources? Why are they considered outsiders? Could it be that they fail to support and interact with their kin according to community norms? Could they be neglecting their social and political obligations? Could they be demonstrating a dominant culture orientation?

        While I certainly would not discount simple prejudice, things are seldom easy. People who have been identified as phenotypically and/or culturally "deviant" from dominant culture norms often suffer early and brutal damage at the hands of the system. When I was seven my more Native-looking cousins and I entered a drugstore lunch counter in a small Nebraska town. In the course of our visit, I -- being able to pass -- was given a free cookie and pat on the head, while my cousins were alternately ignored or subjected to subtle hostility. This experience and others have had profound consequences in our lives.

        Rightly or wrongly as a person of mixed-heritage, I have benefit of being able to have my Native identity be a private matter. I can pass unnoticed when others cannot. Being fair my first impression is not "gee she's Native" with all the attendant dominant culture bagage. I get the cookie or the secret white person handshake in social situtations, that others who are phenotypically Native do not. This cannot help but create fertile ground for bias against those who have that advantage -- even though they did not choose it.

        Blood quanta is a two edge sword. It has hurt. It is an instrument of colonization. It has, however inadvertently, preserved tribal resources and political distinctiveness. It will condemn many groups to numerical extinction. It has protected us from suffering more damage induced by cultural dilution and distortion inflicted by those who would cherry pick our precious cultural inheritance to death.
        Last edited by OLChemist; 03-29-2008, 06:58 PM. Reason: Sentence fragments and clarity.

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        • #5
          [quote=JayFive;1059653]I hold some opinions but please try to look at the subject of Blood Quantum in general, this is a major issue in the Native community.

          I see Native people always representing their Blood Quantum when they don't need to. I often feel really bad to see Native people doing this. Can you imagine what your ancestors might say if they knew that their children went around saying, "I'm 1/2 blood or I'm full blood". Most people who walk around throwing out their blood quantum aren't even aware of the consequences of Blood Quantum.

          The only time I can see it being acceptable is when you announce your Tribe when you announce Blood Quantum, only and only if you are in a place in life where you are seeking to have your children enrolled.

          What I'm getting at is that saying your Full Blood doesn't mean a thing. Your only Full Blood or any blood quantum because your Tribe that is set up in a non-Traditional style says you are. Europeans were here like 400 years before they even established blood quantum, there’s hardly a such thing as Full Blood in any Race of people. Some Europeans squeezed their way onto those rolls also. During the Dawes Act in 1887 many Native women couldn’t get a piece of land because they weren't "head of household". Sometimes they would take any man they could, even if that meant a White man, since all the Native men already signed for a piece of land and couldn't sign for two pieces. The White man became an automatic "full blood" upon signing that paper.


          Jayfive--I understand your opinion here and I'm not saying that I disagree. But you have incorrect information here about the Dawes rolls and the act. I have the Dawes Rolls and have seen many of the "Family Census" cards and there may have been some Non-Natives listed on them, however for the most part that wasn't the case.

          With the Dawes Rolls there was a ruling that any Non-native who was married to a Native person (wether male or female) could pay a fee and become eligible for an allotment of land and be placed on the rolls. However, if you look at the "Family Census" Cards--they were NOT listed as Being Indian or with any blood quantium (the ones that I have seen). They were listed as: Parent or spouse. Where as their spouse and children who were Native were listed as BB= By Blood with a blood quantium listed there. This is not to say that there may not have been any non-native's listed as being native wether accidentally or through other means---but it does mean that NOT all of them were that way.

          My step-grandfather was OK Choctaw and his grandparent were on the Dawes Rolls. His grandfather was a "White" man, but he was listed as a "Parent" on the rolls--with no blood quantium--however his wife and children were listed with their "blood quantium" and I have copies of these census cards and have traced them back to Mississippi back before 1860 when many of the Choctaw's were moved from Mississippi to OK.

          So they were not all listed as: "Full blood upon signing that paper" as you stated above. That is very incorrect information.

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          • #6
            Good thread. Very good information Oldchemist.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by OLChemist View Post
              We have cards to prove we are tribal citizens or descendants of tribal citizens.

              However, I do not see a clear solution that would be acceptable to the dominant culture.
              My problem is those cards hold a blood quantum on them. That blood quantum doesn't acknowledge other Tribes Blood.

              Sure I do know population has been rising but will that continue? When I was researching Blood Quantum thats all I kept finding was reference to Genocide. Down the line this way of identifying Natives is going to cause Tribes to reduce in numbers.

              Blood Quantum would be just fine if every Tribe across this continent would recognize the indigenous blood of one of their members who had kids outside their Tribe. A child living on the Rez with both parents who are 1/2 but the child is only 1/4 Indian since one parent isn't from there? Thats a genocidal tactic if you ask me.

              Why can't Tribes recognize each others blood like that? Why must a child be told he is 1/4 when both his parents are lsited to be 1/2? That 1/4 number will never go up the numbers keep decreasing.
              Native people were chosen by the Creator to be an example to the world.

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              • #8
                I know for a fact that my tribe, the Umatilla Tribes of Oregon does in fact recognize your other indian tribal blood. I did not have the option of enrolling in my own father's tribe, but instead went with his father's tribe, the Umatilla.

                Its amazing to me the many reasons why quantum has dwindled over the decades, but not surprising. Personally, I believe christianity had a lot to do with it. I was raised as a christian, and it was practically beat into me that I was to never marry a cousin, even one that was a third or fourth cousin, and so I was always aware that most natives in Oregon were most likely related some how. Its a bit extreme to me now that I'm all grown up, glad I moved away and met my man from Alaska. My husband is of one tribe here in Alaska, but I also know for a fact that even up to his own parent's generation, they were still "arranging" some of the marriages. For instance, it was acceptible for certain cousins or relatives to marry, as long as it were done right. Many of the people here in the villages are of one tribe; I suppose it has to do with being the "last frontier" or something?

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                • #9
                  Very interesting thread! Good topic. One that I've always wondered about!
                  "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is not a path and leave a trail."---Ralph Waldo Emerson

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                  • #10
                    I think you hear alot of people announcing quantum for the simple reason that those of us who are'nt full blooded, if we don't somehow let it be known we have a white father or half white mother or are a percentage of white or black period, then people will try to discredit your character by saying you are implying you are full blooded and not being honest. In other words it's primarily a conditioned response. And those that announce being full blooded, it's more of a pride thing.

                    Really, I've tried to go without mentioning my dad is white, but as soon as you don't disclose that and someone finds out then it's said as if I was trying to pass myself off as a full blood and then suddenly I'm less "qualified" to have an opinion, and what I have to say is less important somehow. On the other hand, if people know off the bat I'm half and half then it bothers them alot less if at all.

                    And it should go without mentioning that yeah I identify as Tuscarora more so than white because of the way I was raised, but that does'nt mean I don't acknowledge nor am I ashamed of being of half scottish decent either. I've got long, interesting family history on both sides of my family and a unique point of view of both so why should'nt I be able to acknowledge or express that, by letting folks know I'm half?
                    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Ditto!
                      ...it is what it is...

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                      • #12
                        I am Half
                        But was raised on my Ndn side all my life...
                        My other half has never acknowledged us especially after my Grandfather Died in 1967 they flat out will not have nothing to do with us at all. He was the only one that accepted us and that we were half breeds, Half White that was...
                        It was as if we dont exist now...
                        I was angry at whites for a long time but as I got older
                        the realization came that the anger solved nothing!!!
                        We children did nothing to those people we did not get to pick and choose our parents to satisfy them...
                        The last time I have seen any of my aunts or uncles from that side was about 1974 when I was about 13. I can bet big money no one from that side wonders what happened to us. And I have stopped wondering myself long ago

                        For me Blood Quatum is just a number on a piece of paper that holds no real meaning in my life,
                        I have always thought of myself as Ndn
                        I was born this way
                        ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
                        Till I Die!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Josiah View Post
                          I am Half
                          But was raised on my Ndn side all my life...
                          My other half has never acknowledged us especially after my Grandfather Died in 1967 they flat out will not have nothing to do with us at all. He was the only one that accepted us and that we were half breeds, Half White that was...
                          It was as if we dont exist now...
                          I was angry at whites for a long time but as I got older
                          the realization came that the anger solved nothing!!!
                          We children did nothing to those people we did not get to pick and choose our parents to satisfy them...
                          The last time I have seen any of my aunts or uncles from that side was about 1974 when I was about 13. I can bet big money no one from that side wonders what happened to us. And I have stopped wondering myself long ago

                          For me Blood Quatum is just a number on a piece of paper that holds no real meaning in my life,
                          I have always thought of myself as Ndn
                          I was born this way

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                          • #14
                            J5,

                            I see your point and have thought about this subject several times.

                            I think the one solution would be for tribes to allow other tribal blood to count in enrollment tally. I have heard of tribes doing this. Say mom is 1/2 tribe A, dad is 1/4 tribe B. The children would be 3/4 in which ever tribe they decide to enroll.

                            Another more controversial solution would be to allow the children to enrolled in both tribes. (The Feds would never allow this!)

                            My tribe, Navajo, only counts direct Navajo decent. And the cut off is 1/4.

                            But historically our tribe began with 4 original clans. Through the centuries we have added many more. The most recent, Nakai dinee, (sp?) which also means Spanish/Mexican. Our clan system determines who you are. (not how much) Because if someone had a child with a non-navajo. Their "tribe" was given a clan name. For example, Ma'ii dezh giznee ( coyotee pass) originates from the Jemez Pueblo. And it is said that Tlogi (weaver) originates from the Zia Pueblo. So basically our people were inclusive not exclusive, which is the exact opposite of the Blood Quantum premise.

                            But basically as Josiah said, it's just a paper with a number. My grandmother would never have called one of her grandchildren "not navajo" just because they were not 1/4.

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                            • #15
                              Actually if the parents were 1/2 and 1/4, the child would be 3/8.

                              The two tribes on this rez count both parents blood even if it's from a different tribe.
                              ...it is what it is...

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