Commentary: Misuse of Indian blood quantum
"In his recent Santa Ynez Valley Journal essay “Who is a Native American Indian,” Attorney Jim Marino addressed the vagrancies of “blood quantum” and “blood requirement” in determining claims to Indian tribe or band, membership and its benefits.

Attorney Marino spoke of “vague and incomplete historical records” based upon century-old BIA “Indian census taking” and “field surveys” that oftentimes form the basis of validating contemporary membership in the aforementioned Indian organizations.

With Marino’s comments in mind, let’s take a look at a local example of the use or misuse of blood quantum in regard to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, in particular the blood lineage of the band’s current leader Vincent Armenta.

On April 1, 1934, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) conducted a census of the Indians residing on lands allowed for their use at Santa Ynez.

The total enumerated Indian population was 90. Later that year, on Dec. 15, 1934, a vote was undertaken by the adult members of the Santa Ynez band to decide whether or not to come under the aegis of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA).

The purported results were, out of a total 90 adult registered Indian voters, 48 voted yes, and 20 voted no.

If the total BIA enumerated population at Santa Ynez was 90 — men, woman and children — how could there be 90 registered adult voters 21 or older?

Such a discrepancy leads to deeper enquiry."

Get the Story:
James P. Lynch: FALLACIES OF INDIAN BLOOD QUANTUM: AN EXAMPLE (The Santa Ynez Valley Journal 7/22)

Related Stories:
Commentary: 'Convoluted' federal Indian policies (7/10)
Commentary: So just what is tribal sovereignty? (7/3)
Commentary: Just who is a Native American? (6/25)