By Jim Krajewski
The guard was the 31st overall pick in the WNBA draft on Monday. She was selected by the Phoenix Mercury and immediately traded to the Connecticut Sun for a third-round pick next year.
Tahnee Robinson Makes WNBA History
Robinson is originally from the Wind River Reservation in Fort Washakie, Wyoming. Her mother is Pawnee and Eastern Shoshone, and her father is Northern Cheyenne and Sioux. On Wyoming’s Star-Tribune’s website, Jack Nowlin wrote that Robinson is the first Wyoming-born player ever drafted by the WNBA (she is also the first player from the University of Nevada ever selected.)
If you go back eight generations, you'd have 256 ancestors. How many people know their family trees perfectly and can swear they have no ancestors from another race?
More to the point, tribes don't distinguish between full-blooded and part-blooded members. (In theory, that is. In reality, one group may be prejudiced against another.) People are bound to the tribe by historical and cultural as well as biological ties.
Therefore, many Indians would say her "blood" doesn't matter. If she was raised in the cultures(s), she's an Indian regardless of her blood.
Changing "full-blooded" to "entirely" doesn't make the point any clearer. If anything, it makes it less clear. Someone who's only 1/16 Indian by blood could be "entirely" Indian by upbringing. And the other way around: Someone who's full-blooded could be entirely non-Indian by upbringing.
The real "first" worth noting would be the first Indian drafted by the WNBA. In other words, the first tribally enrolled member regardless of blood. Robinson may be the first to qualify for that too, although the articles don't say. But being the first "full-blooded" Indian is a rather minor first.
For more on Robinson, see Tahnee Robinson Is Sullivan Award Finalist.