Disenrollment Debate & Blood Quantum Limits

Native Americans in America are governed by each their own duly elected Tribal Council, whose job it is to look out for the best interests of their tribes membership. As all offical tribes are sovereign, they have final say over the basic requirements necessary to become an enrolled member. One of the key thresholds tribes impose, is that of a blood quantum limit. After all, once a membership has become diluted to a certain point members have such a small amount of Native blood they are considered my many to no longer be native – what listener JT describes as being a “one drop”. Other tribes require only a provable lineage.

If a tribe imposes a blood quantum limit they did not have before, what to do with members who no longer meet the threshold? Should they be disenrolled? Or should there be a ‘grandfather’ clause and the change only be made moving forward?

This is a tough debate, but we do our best discussing a complicated issue. Download and listen to today’s audio file and we welcome your thoughts on this topic!

In a related topic, we discuss the minimum viable population to ensure healthy genetic diversity, a major issue for tribes wishing to consider the idea of a blood quantum limit. There is a fine line between encouaging folks to marry other Natives, and risking unhealthy genetics within communities too small to handle it. And in Iceland there is an Android app which allows you to “Bump phones before you bump in bed”. With a population of only 320,000 Iclanders face the very real risk of ending up in bed with a close relative. Like all small communities (Natives included) geneology is carefully documented. An interesting reality for communities faced with procreation among very small groups!

We do hope you’ll join us for this discussion by downloading today’s audio file. Thanks for listening!

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