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How Do You Prove You're an Indian?

An Ojibwe Native American discusses blood quantum and his opinion on how tribal membership should be determined.
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Read Matthew L.M. Fletcher's response to Treuer's opinion piece at Turtle Talk.

David Treuer, the Ojibwe author of the book Rez Life, expected out February 2012, discusses the issue of blood quantum as well as his own ideas of how tribes should determine membership in an opinion piece for the New York Times yesterday.

He mentions how the federal government, in an effort to minimize tribal numbers, have passed a number of blood quantum laws and now "casino-rich Indian tribes in California have been using it themselves to cast out members whose tribal bloodlines, they say, are not pure enough to share in the profits."

Treuer admits that determining who is an Indian is "a complicated question," but his ideas of how membership should be decided are more cultural in nature. "Tribal enrollees could be required to possess some level of fluency in their native language or pass a basic civics test…Or tribal membership could be based, in part, on residency, on some period of naturalization inside the original treaty area (some tribes do consider this). Many nations require military service — tribes don’t have armies, but they could require a year of community service."

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