Is it the fullblood, whose ranks continue to decline, or the person with a large percentage of Indian blood?
Is it the person who meets a blood quantum, such as the requirement by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians that its members be at least one-quarter blood?
Is it the person who, although having a slight degree of Indian blood, can prove descent from a person allotted land by the Dawes Commission and thereby has a card?
Or is it the person who, by whatever claim of family descent, claims Indian blood and perhaps a membership in one of dozens of “tribes” that have filed claims but have not been federally recognized?
And what can bona fide tribes, and their members, do about those with fraudulent claims?
A panel discussed all these cases during the concluding session of the State of Sequoyah Commission’s annual conference Friday at Northeastern State University. And during the discussion, one man who objected to its conclusions was ejected from the University Center.
“There are a number of issues that need to be addressed with different people in different states who come together and claim to be tribes,” said Dr. Richard Allen, policy analyst for the Cherokee Nation “We would like to make impersonation of a tribe, or a tribal citizen, a felony,” said Cara Cowan Watts, Cherokee tribal councilor.
“You can’t just create one. You can’t just make up an Indian tribe, culture or people. You can’t split off from another Indian tribe.”
They and several other men escorted him from the hall outside the Herb Rozell Ballroom and down the steps of the University Center.
“I’m being dragged out of here!” Jacob exclaimed.