Identity is one of the most basic of human needs. It grants us clarity of purpose, connects us with our past, and shapes our future.
Identity is especially important to Native Americans, whose legacy on this continent spans thousands of years, and has never ceased to be under threat from outside forces.
Identity is generally one of those things humans can learn and internalize any way they are able, whether it be bestowed at birth, or much later in life.
For many Indigenous Americans, however, this comes at a price.
For example, there are many Native men and women with non-native spouses who, at this very moment, are thinking of ways to teach their children, whether born or on their way, not right from wrong, not about God or the facts of life, but of whom to marry. How to ask whether they are Indian, of what tribal nation they belong to, if they are enrolled…
How much “blood” in is in their veins.
Why would anyone do this to their children? The reason goes beyond any kind of prejudice, racial, religious, or otherwise. The reason the members of these tribes do this to their children (and spouses) is to simply be able to officially claim membership in the peoples of their forefathers and mothers.
Ask any tribal nation with stringent membership requirements such as these and they will tell you they aren’t racist, just interested in preserving their people and heritage.
But there is more at work than meets the eye.
Known as “blood quantums”, the amount of “Indian blood” in a person’s veins is currently responsible for determining what rights an Indigenous person is entitled—indeed, whether or not a person is “indigenous” at all—through an officially bestowed CDIB (Certified Degree of Indian Blood) issued by the United States government, which gives them the right to membership in a tribe. But their options may be limited depending on just what the prospective tribe’s rules for enrollment are.
Generally speaking, any amount of Native ancestry is enough to enroll in any tribe, as long as they renounce any official (and sometimes unofficial, though such a thing is impossible to gauge) membership in another. However, if a person wishes to join their ancestral culture, i.e. a specific tribe, and that tribe does not recognize people of their specified blood quantum, membership is impossible.
Many tribes do not do these things, but many more do. In fact, most tribes in the United States have a preferred level of measurable genetic ancestry required for their memberships. This is mainly because, for tribal leaders, as well as their citizens, this means of membership can actually prove quite profitable…
And here is where the story begins…
Blood quantums were originally a consequence of the Dawes Act of the late 1800’s. Named for a Republican, Henry Dawes, who collaborated with Grover Cleveland, the then Democratic president of the United States to solve the “Indian Problem” once and for all.
Ostensibly designed by Dawes to protect the human rights of Native Americans as well as to allow for the smoothest possible cultural assimilation of them into the dominant American culture, the Dawes Act was nonetheless used for purposes it was not (apparently) intended, thus invalidating what tenuous humanity the Act might have had, as Dawes himself was not an overt admirer of Indigenous people’s cultures or ways of thinking.
Neither, for that matter, was Grover Cleveland, but for those who have read our other articles, that should come as little surprise when one considers the overall Republican to Democrat ratio in terms of Native American rights and or freedoms.
The Dawes Act specifically entailed the delegitimizing of tribal governments and allotting lands to Natives on a strictly individual basis, terminating any form of cultural claim to the land. In order to determine who was eligible for this, as well as to make sure no one would claim to be an “Indian” in order get some free land, it came down to blood quantums. These had been used by Americans on both sides of the Mason Dixon line to demarcate the strictly white from the “mixed” for a while, but never had it been implemented among natives on such a large scale until the Dawes Act. Thus began the time of “Termination”.
These same blood-based laws are used to determine the status of tribal members today.
Why do Natives do this to one another, you might ask? Does the government force them to? Do they honestly believe that the only way their tribes can survive is by confining their heritage, culture and influence to the flow of certain quantities of a bodily substance?
That is usually the story. But allow us to clue you in on an aspect of the tale that few know, and many more would deny, despite that the truth of it is not concealed in ancient books or government secrets, but in the very information that is made available to the public through sources as mundane Wikipedia, but receive no attention:
Despite the ultimate failure to break up tribes, the blood quantum rule stood, and in the early 1930’s, it would come to a new and sinister zenith…
Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as part of his “Indian New Deal”, which ostensibly set out to ensure the self-sufficiency of the newly recognized Native Americans, included strict adherence and dependence upon the United States government for Natives to do anything related to their status as political entities. But it also made rigorous blood quantums to enforce membership.
The government would offer handsome sums to tribal officials willing to cooperate with their modern colonialist policies under the guise of reparations for having lost their land so many years ago. They would permit these funds to be distributed amongst tribal members at the chiefs’ discretion in a “per capita” fashion. This has become known simply as “per cap” in modern times.
One of the most heinous examples of per cap usage comes to us from 1950, when the great reviver of old school termination, Democrat Harry S Truman, was in office, and the Northern Ute tribe began to receive government payments of 11,000 dollars per person. Tribal leaders seized upon the golden opportunity, and narrowed their blood-requirements down to “full bloods” only, thus guaranteeing the primary recipients (the leaders) would not have to share much.
And indeed, they don’t.
Whenever a person or the government makes a donation to a tribe as a political entity, the risk (otherwise known as a certainty) that a tribal official or six may receive more than those in need is immediately run. With the way Native American politics, with its dependency on big government works, any time an outside sovereign, be it the federal government, a state, or even just a kind hearted individual makes a donation to a tribe instead of an individual Native or family(particularly those tribal nations who claim reservations or “trust” land, which most do), what happens is that some chief may get his or her third gold-plated Humvee, whereas everyone else might get a surplus 1972 military Humvee.
To sleep in.
Across the nation, there are Indigenous Americans who have been involuntarily disenrolled from the modern incarnations of their ancestral nations, or simply do not qualify for membership because of such steep ancestry requirements, leaving them to attempt to enroll with tribes who are less picky about blood, or else forget about ever officially identifying as a Native American.
Isolating and discriminating is NOT how you preserve yourself. Its how you extinguish yourself. And the enemies of Native Americans, the big government establishment of the Democrats, leftists, and those who align with them, know that.
Some tribes have blood quantums so steep that you may only be a “full blood” or, if you’re lucky, half blood, making no exceptions for “half blooded” people who marry out of the legally recognized tribe’s (or race’s) children. With arrangements like these, the younger generations will feel more inclined to rebel against their culture and people instead of embrace them. When people are told who they can and can’t love, whether because of background, creed, or especially their race, it fosters feelings of resentment in the people being told this, and in this case, disenrollment is the fullest result.
Again, the governments know this. But as long as the leaders of tribes don’t have to share any of their yummy per capita with anyone they don’t absolutely have to, and as long as those federal agents in charge of “Indian Affairs” can either rest easy knowing there won’t be any more “Indians” much longer, or that they’ll have lovely slaves for their cause (which ever comes first), the new Termination will persist until it accomplishes its mission.
If you are Native and reading this, your ancestors were NOT beggars. They did not depend on anyone to help them. They gave, they did not ask. Your ancestors were not concerned with someone’s past or circumstances of their Creation. They did not turn people away because someone in their family may not have looked like them or came from the same tribe as they did.
Your ancestors were not racists.
The Republic of Lakotah, a separatist (and therefore, quite traditional) group founded by the late Russell Means, knows this, too. While we are not supporters of their political ideology, being conservatives, and not” liberals” (and therefore violently offended by anything that doesn’t strictly match our worldview) , we can nonetheless appreciate the truths they espouse, and one of those is the fact that blood did not matter to the First Americans. For, in order to gain membership in their proposed independent state, all one need do is renounce their American Citizenship. No talk of “blood” whatsoever.
So what can be done?
Fortunately, much. But, unlike anything worth doing, it won’t be easy, especially not with so many brainwashed people serving the ones who don’t want it to be done.
The time has come to “de-terminate” Native Americans once and for all. While “Termination” itself was officially ended in the thirties by Herbert Hoover, it was revived again by Truman (as implied earlier) and after JFK, has unofficially continued in the guise of benevolence.
Tribes are not currently forced to accept any kind of aid from the government, though they are restricted in certain entreprenuerial and business-related endeavors, like not being able to bring big chain stores to the reservations, since, though some might call it “Indian country”, it technically belongs to the federal government. Ironically, many tribes now hold up their their ties to the American government, as opposed to state government, as trophies of sovereignty. This has recently come to the public eye in big way since the Supreme Court declared half of the state of Oklahoma an “Indian reservation”, thus any verified Native American citizen who commits a crime in those lands which have dual jurisdictioin (being the State and their own respective tribe) must be charged and convicted by the United States government.
Except that is exactly what’s been going on ever since Oklahoma came about. There has been no change to anything, but the overwhelming ignorance of how Native American poitics work, Natives and non-Natives alike are making more out of the decision than they should (which is nothing), and those in power are simply playing their mind games again.
Speaking of Oklahoma, though, Oklahoman tribes ike the Choctaw, Cherokee, Osage, and others do not use blood quantums for membership, but employ a “lineal descent” system, in which a person can be part of a tribe as long as they can prove that they descend from a registered or recognized member, instead. They also recieve little to no government aid, and certinaly no per caps, as they are much more focused on self sufficiency.
By learning the truth about American politics—of both then, and especially now (see our article “Why Do Natives Vote Democrat”?)– Natives can familiarize themselves with new paradigms of what it means to be both Native and American. By embracing the greater American culture and collective while teaching others about what a great and awe-inspiring thing it is to be an Indigenous American, you will put yourself at the forefront of the culture war that is currently raging, and tell the world that you are ready to stand on your own two feet. You will defy and crush both notions of assimilation, and of separatism.
Inform people of how the government truly works when it comes to Indigenous peoples. Talk about how tribal leaders often do not have the best interests of their people at heart. Most importantly, align yourself with people and policies that will encourage true sovereignty, tolerance, and prosperity.
President Donald Trump has already made almost innumerable contributions to these causes, with getting rid of old racist regulations for tribes having to do with land jurisdiction, promoted tribal energy, becoming the only president to take an interest in the murdered and missing Indigenous women affairs (MMIW), and even recognizing around seven new tribes nationwide, including the Spokane Little Shell, as well as many other things, but none of it will ever get attention, because the leftist controlled media, who hates conservativism and especially Trump, would never allow it. Instead, they insist on convincing you he’s a racist Indian-hater by throwing ad-hominems and pitifully circumstantial “evidence” your way like the Dakota Access pipeline, which broke no regulations, neither threatened nor trampled upon tribal sovereignty, nor even broke any old treaties, or that he used a word (which didn’t even insult ACTUAL Native Americans). Anything but what he really does for Native Americans. The truth of these things is available to any common google search, we encourage you to read more about these things.
The Republican Party has not always been good to Native Americans. In the past, the Second Americans (as we call them) conceived of only two ways of dealing with the First: assimilation or segregation. The Republican Party always sought the first, which, in their time, was actually the “progressive” thing to do; they sought to make Native Americans give up what made them who they were and simply be just another citizen of the budding country we see today. Democrats, on the other hand, always aimed to own Native Americans. To pick them up and throw them away, as Andrew Jackson did with his Trail of Tears. As they continue to do today with not just “minorities” (we believe one is only as “minor” as they allow themselves to be) but with anyone who does not agree with them, using their own phenotypes and the histories and (often unfair) things associated with them against them. Segregating not only red, black, brown and even yellow people, but whites too, with their cult of manufactured “guilt” and privilege, telling blacks, for instance, that they should have separate classes away from white people so they won’t be “traumatized”, thus achieving the same Jim Crow laws of yesteryear and the slavery of long ago with a slightly different flavor that the discerning can’t help but taste.
Today, the Republican Party has shed its old modes of cultural superiority, and in fact encourages people to do as their respective cultural traditions teach them, while retaining every positive thing it stood for in the past, which is highly supportive and conducive to the Native mindset. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is still up to its old tricks beneath a thin veneer of “tolerance”, not unlike the way Jackson himself claimed he was helping the Indigenous by kicking them out of lands they’d dwelt on since time immemorial. The time to act is now.
Please share this and other articles from this site with your friends, family, tribal members, and even total strangers, and bring true indigenous justice and light to this great and awesome country which has an eagle, of all things, as its symbol.