A Personal Perspective: Status Cards, Blood Quantum Letters, Principle of Continuous Residence
June 3, 2013 § 2 Comments
June 3, 2013, A more personal perspective on North American Indian Status Cards, Principle of Continuous Residence, & Blood Quantum letters offered by Jay C. White Cloud:
Please feel free to share more, as I do not believe I am as well versed in this subject as you. My perspective is probably much more narrow, (within my family and friends) but I do get other viewpoints from my wife, who sits on the Native American Counsel at Dartmouth College.
Within our families history, any association with a “card” or “registration” meant government tracking of children and scrutiny. It has now been turned into something else, which seems just as insidious and that is a card of validation, which without, you are considered…well not of “the people.”
When we speak and move into the realm of “blood quantums” we are further negating our own predilection for validation as a collective culture. Why stop at blood quantum, and not move directly into “genetic screening,” we have that technology. When does it stop? If you applied that “blood quantum” or screening to tribes like the Pequot, would they even pass considering the strong African ancestry? Am I or my Son any less of our people because we are harold from two tribal cultures and now my son, because of his mother, three. What happens in just one or two more generations if we continue to follow this “certification” of being “native enough.”
This is not how it was in the past that my Grandmother and Great Grandmother spoke of. If you walked the path, and cared for the people and it’s culture, you were of “the people,” that was all the certification you needed. Neither of them would ever carry a card or have anything to do with the “white government” as they saw those around them removed and taking to places like the “Carlisle Indian School” never to return or worse, broken and stripped of their given and chosen identity.
I have thought long and hard about this, and I am still seeking answers to these questions, but my general feeling is any form of “blood quantum” is a form of certification from an external entity of who I am and was raised to be. Please correct me if you think I see this in error.