Blood Quantum = Genocide
America was founded on the genocide of Native Americans that continues to this day through the form of a blood count. As an Indigenous infant enters this society, they are born into a fraction handed down by their parents. If both parents are from the same tribe, they remain whole. If the parents are from different tribes, they are mixed. If one parent is non-native, a child has lost a significant amount of their ‘authenticity’ as a tribal member. If the family continues to marry non-native, they eventually lose certification as an Indigenous person, and their identity is erased in the eyes of the government. The United States keeps “degree of Indian/Eskimo blood” on tribal members’ cards in hopes that the original people will go extinct. I argue that the system needs to switch to descendent status as another key step for Indigenous people in reclaiming their stolen identity in this country.
Our existence is an inconvenience for the government, a lump that continues to grow under the rug of America’s hidden shame. In hopes we would ‘breed out’, the government has put our existence into the idea of a blood quantum, and made it crucial part of the Indigenous persons’ life. Members within tribes are also at risk of losing their membership status through marrying non-native. This creates animosity if tribal leaders attempt to limit enrollment, leading to abuse of power by the higher up individual. This has been a great tactic for the government in dividing tribes, while remaining on the outside. When losing members, officials are usually attempting to give out greater shares to less individuals, without realizing it creates much more hurt in the future for the greater Indigenous population. When we lose more members, we are losing our culture.
I never want my future children, or grandchildren and beyond to ever feel pressured to quit practicing our culture. Our identity is more purposeful than this made up native blood, or fraction forcefully given to us. Being in a tribe is a community, a culture, and a lifestyle. The blood quantum needs to be replaced by descendent status, this will ensure tribal authenticity without limiting our identity to physical attributes.