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Tribal Membership and Indian Status

Tribal Membership and Indian Status - Warning Concerning...

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Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. Printing note: If you do not want to print this page, select pages 2 to the end on the print dialog screen. Mann Library fax: 607 255-0318 www.mannlib.cornell.edu
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Tribal Membership and "Indian Status' Federal Indian Law in the Post-Martinez World R E B E C C A T S O S I E he question of "Indian status" is one of the most obtuse issues within federal Indian law, and one that engenders a great deal of ani- mosity, confusion and hurt. On one level, is the politics of determining which groups can be designated as "Indian tribes." Federal Indian law maintains that the trust relationship extends only to those groups who are "recognized" by the U.S. government. Therefore, members of non-recognized tribes, and tribes whose trust status was terminated by the United States, may not be considered "Indians." The desig- nation of Indian then, becomes a politi- cal matter, not a racial or ethnic matter, leaving a great deal of ambiguity as to individual ethnicity. This policy triggers an array of questions on how individuals are deemed to be "Indian." Federal Indian law provides a partial answer through a hybridized racial/political test, which considers one's biological mea- sure of Indian "blood" and one's status as an enrolled member of a particular federally-recognized tribe as criteria in Facing page: Would I Have Been a Member of the Nighthawk Snake Society or Would I Have Been a Half-Breed Leading the Whites to the o Full-Bloods (1991), by Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Navajo/Creek/Seminole). qualifying an individual for "official" status as an "American Indian." To be a descendant of a recognized tribe is insufficient when a person's blood quantum falls below a certain measure. Blood quantum measurements are considered by many Indians and non- Indians to be a reliable indicator of "Indian status"—it has become the American standard for measuring Indi- anness. However, there is no consis- tency in establishing Indian identity through blood quantum. Many tribes hold to a one-quarter blood quantum standard, but some Indian nations require one-half or more, and some accept any trace as long as lineage is proven to a distant ancestor on an "offi- cial" government roll. There is an ongo- ing dispute over the status of those with
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