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Native non-registered children

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  • Native non-registered children

    Hello, I am a non-native grandmother, raising a granddaughter (5 years old now) who is half native. Her paternal grandmother is 100% Lakota Sioux and her paternal grandfather is Winnebago/Omaha/Kiowa. Grandmother of course is enrolled in her tribe and grandfather, who passed away 3 days after my granddaughter was born is enrolled in the Winnebago tribe. I am unsure of any other details. Besides Grandmothers name is Red Eye and my granddaughters name is the same as her father and grandfather, Lone Wolf.

    I am writing to ask advice. I myself have non-native and am of Irish/Swedish descent. Being a "white" grandmother it is hard to get and keep her interested in her culture with limited resources. I imagine there are SO MANY children out there like my granddaughter who are a higher blood quantum Native American yet for no fault of their own cannot be enrolled in a tribe and tribe do not accept them enough to teach them their culture.

    You see, Grandma Red Eye was married to one man...Separated and living with Grandpa Lone Wolf. They had a child who is my son-in-law and the father of my granddaughter. Mr. Lone Wolf went to the hospital for his child's delivery, signed the birth certificate and gave the child his last name. BUT, since Grandma Red Eyes was still married to the other man, they listed HIM as the legal father.

    Winnebago unofficially acknowledges my son-in-law (100% Native American, 1/2 Lakota Sioux, the other half W9innebago/Omaha/Kiowa) as one of their own but will not let him be legally enrolled. His Mother's (Grandma Red Eye) tribe will not accept his enrollment until he changes the father on his birth certificate.

    NO ONE is motivated to do anything about this. My son-in-law is not capable or interested in doing what needs to be done to either getting himself or his children enrolled.

    My 5 year old granddaughter knows she is "Indian" but as an outsider I do not know where, who or what to do to keep her involved in her heritage and culture. It is like she is on the outside looking in on her other half. Very sad. She loves to dance. She has taken and plan to continue taking ballet classes. But she really wants to dance at the pow wows. Her pre-school teacher who is also Native American gave her a shawl and beaded necklace. How do I go about getting her involved?

    Are there any programs or people who work with children who are obviously very Native American yet unable to be enrolled? Can you imagine knowing what/who you are yet unaccepted?

    Any advice or information anyone can share?

    Thank you for listening to me. I found out about this website at the Oklahoma Red Earth today.


  • #2
    A tribal ID and/or a CDIB does not an Indian make. It sounds like your granddaughter has relatives and community that know who she is. And she has you, who are clearly committed to making sure she nourishes all her roots.

    Reach out to her relatives. Reach out to your local Native community. Volunteer at your local Indian center or school program. I suspect, with a little time, persistence, and humility your granddaughter will find mentors.

    As a non-enrolled, mixed blood Native woman, I can assure you lacking a card is not a sentence to a lifetime of pain.

    Lakota language materials for children:

    Bernstein Bears - Mahto Waunsila Thiwahe

    Lakota Language Consortium Textbooks


    • #3
      I heartily agree with OLChemist.

      Also, for dancing, start by attending some powwows in your area. Even with just a shawl, she can dance in the intertribals.

      Being non-enrolled, but having proof of descendency, your grandchild may still have access to the Indian Health Service.

      As for seeking enrollment, it is usually up to the parent(s), so the ball is in your son-in-law's court. If he doesn't pursue it, there's not much you can do. is what it is...


      • #4
        True story:

        One of my nieces has two sons from her late-husband who passed away before the youngest was born. When she went to enroll him with the Navajo Nation Census Roll, the enrollment office offically recorded him as 1/2 Navajo and nothing else!! This is even though both parents were full-blooded Navajos.


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