December 20, 2011

Treuer recommends cultural tests

How Do You Prove You’re an Indian?

By David TreuerWho is and who isn’t an Indian is a complicated question, but there are many ways to answer it beyond genetics alone. Tribal enrollees could be required to possess some level of fluency in their native language or pass a basic civics test. On my reservation, no schoolchild is asked to read the treaties that shaped our community or required to know about the branches of tribal government or the role of courts and councils. 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.

Other nations take these things into account, and in doing so they reinforce something we, with our fixation on blood, have forgotten: bending to a common purpose is more important than arising from a common place.
Comment:  Intermarriage guarantees that tribes will disappear if they maintain strict blood quantum requirements. Therefore, tribes will change their membership standards eventually. The only question is whether they do it sooner or later.

For more on the subject, see Tribes Shouldn't Exclude Non-Indians and Defining Tribes by Peoplehood.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, 99% of the time, the fail is fairly obvious.