S.E. Ruckman: Blood quantum and affirmative action with tribes

"Many smaller tribes today are facing the decision to lower their blood quantum requirement. Without a change, their children will not belong to the tribe that the parents belong. It is the cold conscription of blood quantum. Descendancy proponents argue that tribes alone should get to set the criteria to say who is Native. So being lineally related to a higher blood person is a reasonable substitute, descendancy proponents say.

Some contend under blood quantum (a practice rightfully ascribed to the federal government) Natives are being slowly phased out as a people. Lowering the degree to a fractionized margin for enrollment could be the answer. I tossed this around a bit. Then it hit me that descendency might be the tribal version of Affirmative Action.

Ironically, rather than leveling the playing field, it lowers the playing field (or blood requirement) for more to bat or in this case to enroll in a tribe. The more people there are in our in respective tribes then the danger of being extinct is momentarily circumvented. This is a provocative thought."

Get the Story:
S.E. RUCKMAN: Quantum vs. descendency, an egg best left unscrambled (The Native American Times 10/29)

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