Fond du Lac Reservation (Northlands NewsCenter)

The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe* has begun the process of evaluating membership criteria. Right now blood quantum, or the evidence determining Native America decent decides membership.

Currently, members of the Chippewa Tribe need one-fourth "Indian blood" to qualify.

Now, a new survey is being sent to Chippewa members in Minnesota and neighboring states, to get a real perspective on the blood quantum numbers in the region.

"However the initial hurdle that we're kind of tackling is what constitutes membership and whether the one-quarter is appropriate."

Chairwoman Diver says that deaths from the baby boomer generation in the future could impact the number of registered Chippewa.

For the membership criteria to change, the tribal constitution must change by a referendum vote.

Diver says that it will be years before anything is decided.

*The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, comprised of the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth reservations, is a federally recognized tribal government that, through unified leadership, promotes and protects the member Bands while providing quality services and technical assistance to the reservation governments and tribal people. (Source)


Responses to "Minnesota Chippewa Begin Evaluating Membership Criteria (Video)"

  1. Unknown says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    comprend pas l'anglais

  3. torch says:

    The "wrong" is in perpetuating a system of statistical genocide invented by the colonizer and imposed by military force to exterminate more NdN land titles than the combined holocausts of the U.S. Indian Wars, treaties, and forced relocation. Just as red heads are being slowly eliminated by genetics, so too, will the Chippewa nation face continual shrinkage of its citizenry due to interbreeding. If your husband is Chippewa and you are not, your children will just barely clear the 1/4 hurdle, but if they marry non-Chippewas, your grandchildren would not. They would be denied membership in a tribe that admits their mother or father but not them. This is statistical genocide. It is difficult to survive, much less grow a healthy, vital, and dynamic culture when it's membership is constantly shrinking and then chooses to self-police exclusionary, racist policies to its own detriment. Being a Chippewa is about so much more than the blood that flows in your veins; it is a culture, a way of life, a spiritual connection with the natural world, a history of shared struggle and triumph, the ceremonies and rituals that teach each new generation, building on the wisdom of a people, a unique way of experiencing and relating to all that is. Don't be fooled by the benefits argument either; you aren't a Chippewa because you want more from the U.S. federal government; that's like saying you became an alcoholic for the free coffee at AA meetings. The Chippewa people are more than a collection of federal entitlement provisions; so much more. Reducing all of that to a mathematical formula based on 18th century racist, imperialist, ridiculously ignorant, biological science seems both insulting and dangerous.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I applaud you in your efforts another 100 years and there will be no more native people accourding to blood quantum I myself am 1/8 tlingit I am enough for health care but not rights my childeren have no rights a few more generations and we will be stories

  5. Unknown says:

    Coming from Australia, I can't comprehend how or why the decision to count a 'percent' of a white science-based test is being used at ALL to determine identity. Since when does having heritage stop at any particular point? I agree wholly with torch (above) Why play the colonialist game at all? If a person identifies with and has family ties to your clan, why are they not your clan?? Any that are 'users' or 'abusers' will quickly be dealt with by the community directly, perhaps have some rights and responsiblity leadership, but I can't fathom why you'd turn people away from making a valuable contribution to community if they have ties. just sayin.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The blood quantum requirements vary from tribe to tribe or from one reservation to another, but the concept comes from Uncle Sam. Its effect over time is that tribes will officially cease to exist through lack of members meeting the quantum requirements, and I am quite convinced this effect is not merely incidental but intended.

    I have a friend who lives on the Colville reservation in Washington, which is home to the P'squosa AKA Wenatchi Indians. It is also the home of ten other "tribes" and bands, including the Nez Perce of Chief Joseph's Band. This friend's mother was P'squosa. His father was white, with far-back ancestry traceable to France. I am a French national, born and raised in France, but this guy has a higher French blood quantum than I do :) However, the matter is that he has a 50% "Colville" quantum. His wife is also a full blood Indian, but she comes from another nation/rez, so their children only have a 25% "Colville" quantum, and that is the minimum accepted for "tribal" membership according to Colville rules. Should they marry someone with less than 25% Colville quantum, that is the end of line.

    This friend not only identifies with his Native half, but is also one of the few remaining P'squosa to speak that group's language, and he has taught the language to his children. He is fluent in his tribal culture and practices it. He also happens to look Indian, which is further emphasized by his having long hair worn in braids. When he was young, he spent six months with a family in France, on an exchange program. I had some fascinating conversations with him about French impressionist painters and the Renaissance castles of the Loire Valley.

    I have another Colville friend who speaks and teaches the Salishan language spoken by his tribe, the Sin Aikst, and several other tribes on the Colville rez (and which is not quite the same as the P'squosa Salishan). He is also a "half breed", and looks wholly white. He has a brother who looks Indian but who has left the rez, has abandoned his tribal culture and is fully integrated in the American Way of Life. Of the two, who is the Sin Aikst?

    [Continued in next comment: the full comment exceeds the number of characters allowed]

  7. Anonymous says:

    [Continued from previous comment]

    I lived nine months with some Lakota traditionalists on the Pine Ridge, SD, reservation. They were full bloods or nearly so (1/16th French, still more than I, as none of my grandparents were born in France) and spoke Lakota among themselves. They did not like the Iyeskas too much (the Iyeskas are the half breeds who control the tribal government and who tend to have adopted the worst of both cultures, without the good sides.) Among the friends I made there were two whites who had become 100% Sioux and who were full time residents. They could not claim administrative tribal membership but they where wholly accepted by the traditionalists. They spoke the Lakota language and took part in all the ceremonies, including Hembleciya (Vision Quest) and Wiwanyang-wacipi (Sun Dance, with body piercing). One was a Frenchman, born and raised in France. He was married to an Oglala lady and they have a gaggle of children raised the Lakota way. He is a teacher of Lakota language at one of the reservation's schools, and the Oglala native speakers all said he spoke the language as well if not better than they did…

    All this to say that, in my opinion, tribal membership should be based on culture, place of residence and acceptance by other tribal members, not on blood quantum. A full blood Indian who has long left his reservation, who does not speak the native language and either does not know or does not respect the tribal customs and does not abide by them, is no longer a tribesperson, he or she has become just a brown-skinned American or Canadian. Just as an immigrant can become an American or a Canadian citizen, an outsider may become part of the tribe if he or she fully integrates culturally. Traditionally, Native Americans (and "First Nations") were exogamous, marrying people from other tribes and whites or blacks or Orientals. The blood quantum concept is a white racist concept, not an Indian one. Of course, if a tribe were to loose its predominant physical characteristics through intermarriage with non-Indians, something would be lost (and this has already happened for many tribes) but the main point, IMO, is the preservation of the nation's culture and identity (which is to say that it should remain fixed, not evolving or changing over time.)

  8. I do not want to be a cynic, but isn't "being an Indian" of whatever Tribe merely a state of mind and not of DNA and flesh? We know that the Elders are very busy spreading high energy knowledge on Earth, through me, for instance (see: The DNA Indian might be dissolving, the spiritual Indian is stronger than ever. Martin Spaargaren (Facebook), Bovenkerk, Holland.

  9. Anonymous says:

    No matter what percentage you have to be , the blood runs on in your lineage. Every has just about descended down the line. Pretty soon there will be no more native peoples , according to blood quantum. Being Native American is more than the blood running through your veins , it is a spirit in you heart and soul.

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