Vince Two Eagles: The rez of the story on enrollment matters

Vince Two Eagles discusses tribal enrollment matters on his "Rez of the Story" column:
This week marks the umpteenth time I’ve been asked to once again visit the issue of tribal enrollment based on blood quantum as a criteria for being recognized as an Indian. The issue is what exactly is it about blood ancestry that tribes use to determine their enrollment rolls. Any discourse about this subject must also illicit thought and conversation about what is an “Indian” for personal, legal identity and self-definition purposes.

In this light, I think Jack Utter, author of “American Indians Answers To Today’s Questions,” gives us a good foundation for understanding this often misunderstood and confusing question by both Indian and non-Indian people:

“Before first European contact, the answer to “Who is an Indian?” was easy. Nobody was. “Indian is a European-derived word and concept. Prior to contact, indigenous people were not Indians but were members of their own socio-political and cultural groups — Lakota, Makah, Yurok, Tlingit or Chugach, for example, or sub-groups thereof — just as were Frenchmen, Germans, Englishmen and Italians in Europe. With the landing of the Europeans, an immediate dichotomy arose that was previously unknown in the hemisphere. Instantly the Native people lost some of their identity when they were all lumped together under a single defining word. The distinction between Native and non-Native peoples resulted in a highly significant legal, political, and social differentiation that remains with us today in this first question. Who is an Indian?

Get the Story:
Vince Two Eagles: The Rez of the Story: Matters Of Enrollment (The Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan 6/25)

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