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The American Indian Blood Quantum

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  • The American Indian Blood Quantum

    I found this online and thought I'd share it with you all.

    Measuring Blood: The American Indian Blood Quantum
    What is a "blood quantum," and why do American Indians argue about it so much?

    Well, the way the government defines whether someone is a "real" Indian or not is they measure their blood. They have some arcane way of doing this by dividing the number of generations since all your ancestors were pure-blood by the number of marriages with people who aren't pure-blood. By their counting, I think I'm 7/8 Indian. Some of it is Muskogee, but they don't care about that. They're just trying to see how close we are or are not to white. We argue about this so much because nobody likes it. It's a really bad way to define somebody's culture and almost everyone agrees on that, but everyone can't agree on a better way, so there's a lot of complaining and it doesn't change.

    Basically, there are four problems with this. One, it puts pressure on Indians not to marry white people or their children will lose their heritage, and that bothers a lot of people. Two, it means that if some of your ancestors aren't in the records, you can be denied being an Indian. Three, it's wrong for outsiders to tell you if you can or can't belong to an ethnic group. Nobody makes African-Americans prove their entire family line and apply for some governmental Certificate of Degree of African Blood before they can get a scholarship from the NAACP or put "Black-owned" on their business if they want to. And four, most disturbingly: it guarantees the extinction of the American Indian. By this standard, white is the default, and everyone is approaching whiteness. Someone who is 1/8 Indian is considered white, and that is the end of their Indianness-- they are white and their children will be white, forever. On the other hand, I am 1/8 white, but that doesn't mean that's the end of whiteness in my line. It keeps sitting there, just as it has since the 19th century when my white ancestors entered my family. Eventually one of my descendants will marry a white person again and hah! We will be 1/4 white. A person can get more white, but not more Indian. Do you see what I mean? Every generation, there are fewer people this system thinks are full-bloods, and all the blood quantums get smaller.

    For my part, I think a mixed-blood Indian is just an Indian. Before white people came here, the tribes all mixed around a lot, and it didn't make anyone's culture disappear. You just belonged where your mother belonged, or, maybe some tribes did it where your father belonged. They didn't have to prove who they were. I'd personally like to see it that way again. But there's a problem with that, and it's resources. Indian tribes don't have a lot of resources now. There is hardly enough money for programs for the people we have. If we let in anybody who wanted to come? It would be very difficult practically. And it would be impossible to get federal money if we couldn't prove anything about blood, and few tribes are wealthy enough to get by without that. And, too, there are complaints from Indians that too much intermarriage and 'passing' and leaving the tribe is making us lose our culture. Certainly it is making us lose our languages. So a lot of people don't want a solution that would encourage more of that. That is why there's disagreement on this issue. Personally, I would rather see five non-Indians get Indian status than one Indian be denied it. Not all Indians agree with that, but it's what I think. The white politicians, of course, want just the opposite.

    Actually, the more I think about the non-Indians--or people with very, very tenuous Indian ancestry who know nothing about the culture--trying to be Indians, the more I think it's not so bad. I will admit, I can get very annoyed by wanna-be's. Especially, when I was younger they used to think I knew about drugs, and I could get them magic mushrooms or something. Now they just think I can get them a spirit guide. I guess that's progress. But anyway, my point is this: assimilation has devastated us. They took us and sent us to boarding schools as children to rob us of our languages. They made our religions illegal. They turned our culture into something for history class only. Now, some yuppie white girl finds out she had a Cherokee great-great-great-grandmother, or somebody says she did, and she wants to be a Cherokee. Well, why not? In the past, a lot of Indians had rituals where you could take the place of the dead. So if someone killed my son, maybe he could end our families' fighting by giving me one of his sons, to take the place of the one he killed. Maybe these "wannabes" have come to take the place of what we have lost. Why not accept them? Not make them citizens of our nations, perhaps, but let's take them in and teach them our ways and our languages and help them raise their children to be some of us. Maybe they do have a little bit of Indian blood and it's finding its way back to us. That's what I think. White people assimilated us. Why turn away those who want to assimilate back?
    Orrin.
    Napoleon Dynamite: Well, I have all your equipment in my locker. You should probably come get it cause I can't fit my numchucks in there anymore.

  • #2
    For those who won't like this article, here is where I found it
    Article
    Napoleon Dynamite: Well, I have all your equipment in my locker. You should probably come get it cause I can't fit my numchucks in there anymore.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jesseq
      Measuring Blood: The American Indian Blood Quantum
      What is a "blood quantum," and why do American Indians argue about it so much?

      Well, the way the government defines whether someone is a "real" Indian or not is they measure their blood.
      Orrin.
      __

      jesseq,

      Don't believe everything you read...

      The government does not determine the blood quantum requirements to be Indian.

      The question of, "Who is an Indian?" is determined by tribal law.

      Each tribe has the sovereign authority to define who their members are and who is eligible to be enrolled. Some tribes have blood quantum requirements (a requirement that to be enrolled, a person must have at least a certain degree of tribal ancestry - such as one-fourth) while other tribes' laws state that a person is eligible for enrollment if one of their ancestors appears on a particular historical list of tribal members.
      Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

      Comment


      • #4
        Take one person out of every ethnic group including white... cut them open and guess what??? Thier blood is RED just like yours... they have arms and legs that work just like yours... they have hair that can grow just like yours.. eyes that see the just like yours. Creator created HUMAN first; race, color and all that came afterwrads. Discrimination towards color race and creed has never really done anyone any good but cause further division amongst the human races, history tells that story time and time again.

        This is an issue that I have found to be very sensitve to some people and I find that almost sad. Sad that they feel that % sign defines who they are and sad that they feel that such a sign gives them a right to snub at someone else that may not have the same percentage. The sooner people accept each other for being HUMAN first, color and race second the better off we all would be, because we would be more willing to share and our minds would be more open to difference. We have NO right to judge anyone on how the creator created us... that is his place and His only to determine such a thing.
        People need to get over thier god copmplex and just live life and quit worrying about skintone, bloodthickness or how traditional your neighbour is. We as Humans worry way too much about what the other person is doing.

        Of course there are people that claim to be NdN and are not we see that with the Churchill case but I do not speak of that here, thats a matter seperate from the infighting that happens amongst already recognized tribal members.
        I refer to people that have already been defined as Native and how they use the % against each other. Lately I have seen the discrimination between those that are full registered and those that are half blood and registered, thats where much of the division lies, within our own circle of people, who claim one is better than the other, yet both are registered and accepted by the tribal laws . That kind of behavior and attitude is what hold us back from moving forward.
        Last edited by AngelFeather; 02-11-2005, 01:34 PM.

        ~~~ Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up. ~~~


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        • #5
          Divide and conquer, that is how they always get us.

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          • #6
            I agree with AngelFeather.
            "Riches from the heart can not be stolen."

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            • #7
              I agree too, let's come together as one nation and one people.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by WhoMe
                __

                jesseq,

                Don't believe everything you read...

                The government does not determine the blood quantum requirements to be Indian.

                The question of, "Who is an Indian?" is determined by tribal law.

                Each tribe has the sovereign authority to define who their members are and who is eligible to be enrolled. Some tribes have blood quantum requirements (a requirement that to be enrolled, a person must have at least a certain degree of tribal ancestry - such as one-fourth) while other tribes' laws state that a person is eligible for enrollment if one of their ancestors appears on a particular historical list of tribal members.

                so what this means is, if your not enrolled as a Tribal member then your just not..........

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by kiowakat
                  so what this means is, if your not enrolled as a Tribal member then your just not..........
                  sigpic
                  TRUDELL FOR PRESIDENT

                  (and no,this isnt zeek)

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                  • #10
                    my ranting of the day ayeeee....

                    I dislaike NATIVE WANABE'S ......SUPER HOBBIEST ...of the native world.......these people are self righteous and give the native a bad name in the general population....

                    We have to be all mystical...whimsimcal...just plain out right not who we are...

                    and the general population has not a clue but by what these self righteous people are doing and saying.

                    ...I think its time, we as natives need to put a stop to these kinds of people...is there some kind of spray for this?? ...lol

                    It is okay to honor our heritage and even simulate what we do, but quite claiming your native heritage its not helping us out at all...

                    we are the ones that have to suffer what kind of road these people are laying down and this is not right in my book

                    If any other native feels this way lets see something happen...am I the only person then that feel this way...I really don't think so lol i hope not hahahahaha....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Native Disc Dogger View Post
                      Divide and conquer, that is how they always get us.

                      Yep! And the door is wide open for them to keep getting us the same old way! And they laugh at us all the way to the bank!
                      "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is not a path and leave a trail."---Ralph Waldo Emerson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with kiowakat about shedding white wannabees. Its a deceiving thought to just say we are all human and therefore accept any white. That is just like giving up and saying being Native American carries no more significance than joining the ping-pong club. Authenticity of blood carries spiritual significance and how one looks resonates with the core of one's identity, especially in the racialized Western social construct. That is to say, the more white one looks the more they gain white privilege, so it stands to reason that the more white looking the more white programming one identifies with, such is their experience. This makes them spiritually distant from the Native American experience of their fore-fathers. The more Native American looking and blood the less spiritually distant because they have less choice about the matter. In fact, its not a choice but a true blood identity. White people used a brown paper bag with black people to determine one's whiteness which is a testament to the importance of looks in the American social landscape. So living amidst that kind of environment it is almost impossible for white looking person to identify with the sufferings and heritage of Native peoples because they simply don't know the experience of the white discrimination and subjugation. One that enjoys white privilege would be less likely to understand and dare I say even care about the Native American dream and plight. I would rather like to propose that the idea of blood quantum needs to be re-framed away from being so white-centric to being inclusive of Asian people because they carry the same blood and underwent a similar attempted subjugation. So it doesn't need to be a destiny of becoming less Native and more white, it could rather be a question of researching who our brothers and sisters are in Asia, then a bloodline can become more Native authentically. One thing is for certain that overcoming white subjugation is about unity of the peoples. So as the racialized white image is a weapon of the white man, it should not be allowed to enter the heart of Native Americans for it is not a tool of unity but a tool of subjugation. And as we all fear the destruction of the Native peoples and cultures wholesale. Put effort into finding your brothers and sisters in Asia...increase your scope. Your blood does not depend upon the amount of whiteness. For example Tibetans and Koreans are the same blood lines split into different regions. Koreans and Japanese are the same bloodline split again. Southeast/East Asian peoples and Native American peoples are a split just the same. In today's smaller world and technology, we need to look beyond the American landscape and realize there are more of us out there in the world. Bridge the gap between all our peoples rather than making Native peoples a question of whiteness. That is the only way the lands will be returned to our hands and preservation of blood & identity will prosper. Otherwise, we are framing destruction of the Native peoples into our destiny.
                        When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it—always.

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