Wambli Sina Win: Tribes should protect their Indian bloodline

Since the beginning of time, many species of the Great Mystery’s creation, the two legged and four legged, naturally and aggressively protected their bloodline to ensure that their species would not become extinct. Have you ever seen a wild buffalo on its own, seek out another species with which to mate when there are other wild buffalo around?

If the buffalo have sense enough to stay with its own kind, why is it so difficult for our young Lakota men and women to marry and have children with other Lakota to protect our cultural integrity and to preserve our bloodline from being bred out of us?

Today it’s easy to laugh at tribes who enroll those with ridiculously low blood quantum and it seems that everything is being done to be “accommodating” and to make our tribes non-Indian. It takes courage and leadership to take steps to protect our bloodline. Enrollment based on ancestry or descendancy has to be eliminated to keep us from extinction.

It is only right that economic benefits reflect the blood quantum with full bloods receiving the maximum benefits. One who is 1/100th should receive benefits in accordance with this minimal blood. This was a choice by the minimum blood’s ancestors to breed the Indian blood out and to diminish the bloodline.

Accordingly, these descendents should live with the consequences. Instead of “banishing” tribal members, why not raise the blood quantum? As a sovereign, a tribe is within its authority to increase the blood quantum requirements for enrollment. Any real Indian tribe would seriously consider this to preserve the economic resources of the tribe for Indians and it would also encourage tribal members to marry other Indians.

My Heyoka Grandfather and my Heyoka son have spoken of how precious the Lakota bloodline is. Once the full blood status is mixed, it is a loss from which tribes may never recover. What kind of example has been set when a Lakota marries outside of his or her own race and has children?

It becomes a vicious cycle for the children in turn will likely marry other Non-Indians with children of even lesser Indian blood. How many generations will it take to bring back the 99% level of Indian blood? One bad choice leads to many other bad choices which eventually leads a tribe to extinction.

Have you ever sat in the waiting room of an Indian Health Services (IHS) clinic to observe how many white people sit and obnoxiously complain the loudest about the services? Does this bother anyone to see this attitude of entitlement?

Several years ago, my ex-husband asked me to assist him in drafting a tribal resolution for a Indian preference policy for his tribe, the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. He told me that in researching his tribe, he was distressed to discover that the highest Indian blood quantum was one-half and there were five tribal members, including himself and his sister who were half-bloods.

His family was among those who had the most Indian blood. He was concerned that the tribe had a history of giving employment preference to whites over their own enrolled Eastern Shawnee Tribal members. This is ridiculous considering the minimal blood quantum of their tribal members.

I soon discovered to my dismay that white people had taken over the Eastern Shawnee Tribe. This tribe once had a great legacy and was known as Tecumseh’s band yet now many centuries later, this tribe seems to have become “Custer’s Band.”

One tribal official told me that Native American culture and spirituality was not important to his people. My son asked me to sing a Lakota song which was really a prayer but this Eastern Shawnee tribal official took offense to it though the meeting was “traditionally” opened up with the Lord’s Prayer. I guess somewhere there must be a “traditional” Bible too but I have not seen it.

How many centuries of bad choices produced such minimal blood? My ex-husband requested information as to a breakdown of the amount of blood for each tribal member without their names or dates of birth or other personal information, however the administration was apparently so ashamed of the low blood quantum that they would not release this information.

I went to a council meeting full of angry, seething hostile white people. Approximately 95% of their gaming employees were whites, some with an openly arrogant attitude of entitlement who were allowed to speak vehemently and disrespectfully against my ex-husband who is an elder. When hateful white people and non-tribal members feel so empowered to take over a Business Committee meeting, it is a great injustice and an attack on what is Indian.

Ultimately, the lone Indian won this battle. The Business Committee begrudgingly passed the resolution to adopt an Indian preference policy. As a result, my ex-husband is loved by some and hated by those who fought tooth and nail against this law. My children tell me that they have become the “Indian outcasts” in a white man’s tribe.

If tribes have a ridiculously low blood quantum, an almost all white work force in their gaming and other industries and look down upon Native American culture, language and religion and say they are non- priorities, aren’t these tribes essentially telling Congress that they are business corporations, not Indian tribes? If so, how long will it be before Congress justifiably terminates such tribes?

My own tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, recently opened up its enrollment. I was told that in short order, Indian women who were shacking up with freeloading illegals rushed to Pine Ridge to fill out tribal enrollment applications for these offspring. One Lakota woman told me her Spaola (Mexican) mate refused to let her teach their sons the Lakota language and he insisted that they learn only Spanish. How arrogant! We don’t need parasites who contribute nothing to our people enjoying the benefits of what our ancestors fought and died to protect.

These people did not fight in any battles or sign any treaties yet they have “bred” their way into our tribal rolls. The tribe of my Grandfather and Great-grandfathers will soon be the object of shame and a haven for illegals hiding from the law.

My Heyoka Grandfather spoke out against the diminishment of our precious bloodline. My Heyoka son carries on the legacy and ideals of my Grandfather. He has a beautiful Native American spouse and I’m proud that they have Native American children. I pray that more will do their part to fight against the bastard children of cultural genocide, acculturation and assimilation.

After all these years, I distinctly remember a sign and attitude at the Kadoka Bar in Kadoka, South Dakota, one of most racist states in the union, which read “No Indians or Dogs Allowed.”

I was reminded of this very attitude when I attended the Eastern Shawnee Business Committee meeting where the Indian preference issue was debated not so long ago. Tribes, take notice. How long will it be before your council fires are taken over by a “No Indians Allowed Tribe”?

Wambli Sina Win (Eagle Shawl Woman) is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Bacone College Criminal Justice Studies Department in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Her grandfather was John Fire, Chief Lame Deer Tahca Uste, a well known Lakota Holy Man from the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. One of her sons is also a medicine man. She has served as a Tribal Judge for the Oglala Sioux Tribal Court, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, a Tribal Attorney and as a legal Instructor for the U.S. Indian Police Academy at Artesia, N.M. You may contact Wambli Sina Win, J.D. at wamblisinawin@yahoo.com She can be reached at wamblisinawin@yahoo.com.

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