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.

Regards,

Jay

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§ 2 Responses to A Personal Perspective: Status Cards, Blood Quantum Letters, Principle of Continuous Residence

  • desiree says:

    how do i go about getin my blood tested 2 c if i have quanum in me?

    • Hi Desiree,

      Thank you very much for getting in touch with USA Placed Victims-Survivors of Canadian Scoops.

      I am going to forward your inquiry anonymously to a few more people, including Sandy White Hawk, who might be able to provide you with additional guidance based on their professional capabilities and experience with genetic testing, because as far as I know there is no general DNA test that can identify blood quantum. DNA tests for this purpose have been discussed but, again, so far, none are cited as reliable for this purpose.

      When I share your inquiry with them I will NOT include your name, it will be anonymous; I respect your privacy.

      My experience with assessing the amount of blood quantum is the following:

      1. Assuming that you know the names of your biological parents and/or grandparents (name of any biological relative) AND the Indian Band in Canada that they are related to, call the office for that Indian Band, give them names of your relatives. The Indian Band will ask for the request in writing. The bands themselves are usually very helpful.

      2. If you don’t know the Indian Band but you do know the name you were given by your biological family and/or you know the names of biological relatives contact Indian & Northern Affairs Canada (also known as INAC). INAC will ask you to send them a written request for information on these relatives including the blood quantum letter.

      Word of Caution: INAC has some very helpful people working within it AND INAC has some people who seem only determined to make it difficult for anyone in USA to collect this information. If you get the latter, difficult INAC person, demand that they provide you with this information that you are entitled to. Remind them that you are entitled to this information.

      3. If you are missing any of the above information please let me know and I will provide further guidance.

      Gaining these documents is a tricky process, you have to collect the information without – if you are not a USA Citizen and have been here without proper documentation – triggering USCIS. Admittedly, what makes it more difficult is that there is NO mechanism in place between USA & Canada specifically set up to address these inquiries. There should be and a goal of USA Placed Victims-Survivors of Canadian Scoops is to encourage legislators in USA AND Canada to fund that capability. Until then however each has to do it on their own.

      Again, thank you for contacting me. And, as you have questions feel free to reach out to me and I will try to answer myself or find someone else who can.

      Sincerely,
      Susan Farley

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