PDA

View Full Version : How do I prove that Im Native American? Using Ethnic background for college advantage


InsolentHalo
09-15-2003, 11:01 PM
I have found through geneology that I am 1/8 native american.

I want to use this to my advantage.

Can I just start putting that down as my ethnicity on documents? Will colleges ask me to prove it, and what will they want? How do I show it to the federal government or state so that I can get grants from them, Tuition breaks, scholarships from colleges, something. I know it exists but I dont know what I need to do. I dont want casino money I want a cheaper education.

Who do I contact? What do I need to do? What can I do with the status?

SnoopyFan
09-15-2003, 11:20 PM
What tribe were your ancestors of?

Type in the name of that tribe and see what you come up with on yahoo. There are lots of groups out there who will give money to those who can prove their NA heritage.

As far as proving it, you've got the geneaology done, right? That oughta be enough -- it was for my friend, all she had to do was show who the NA ancestor was and how she's related.

Askance
09-15-2003, 11:32 PM
Each institution will have rules you'll need to follow. They have been through this a thousand times. Just contact the college or govt dept you want to deal with and ask what they require as proof. They can probably even tell you the best place to get what they need from.

Dogface
09-15-2003, 11:35 PM
One way to strengthen your hand is actually be a member of a "registered" tribe. Mind you, I think the whole "registration" thing is a bunch of hooey. Likewise, the way that the BIF has decided to redefine "blood quanta" is pretty screwy, too.

Old system: Just add up the total "native american" for the "quantum".

New system: You have to keep track of each "tribe" seperately.

John Mace
09-15-2003, 11:40 PM
I think most colleges don't check, but that's for African-American or Hispanic. With Native American, you have the whole tribal registration deal. I agree with those who said contact the college for details and contact your tribe to see whether you actually qualify. Even if the tribe says you're not "official", no reason not to claim it anyway and put the burden on the college to prove you're not.

John Mace
09-15-2003, 11:45 PM
Oh yeah, you might find this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=209459&highlight=Hispanic) intersting.

InsolentHalo
09-16-2003, 12:03 AM
I have his name somewhere, but im not sure of his tribal origin or his wife's. My grandmother who did all the work had said something about Allegheny which is a region north western pa , a mountain range, as being the name of the tribe I believe. I know there is record of him because he served as a soldier in the civil war for the union and died in the southern prison camp andersonville. As to tribal groups, I think they might have been part of the Iroquois Nation. And as to finding it in an internet search, I cant find crap because its the internet and Im trying to find something that isnt porn.

Zhen'ka
09-16-2003, 01:31 AM
So, what you are saying is that you have no tribal membership, no ties to any tribal community or any kind of tribal affiliation? You don't even know the name of the tribe?

You lack all of these things, yet you want to use this "ethnic background" to your advantage?

I am a member of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe. I work with tribal youth, and my duties include working with high school students. I help them complete graduation requirements and apply for college admission and scholarship assistance.

Most scholarship assistance requires membership in a federally recognized Indian tribe. Tribes use different criteria for membership, but most require at least 1/4 blood quantum. Or ties to the community. You admit to having neither of these things.

If you could trace your ancestry to at least a grandparent, you might (and I emphasize this word) be eligible for some assistance from the Title VII or Johnson O'Malley programs. I am only familiar with the requirements for high school students and do not know what, if any, the requirements for Higher Ed students are. This seems to be the case with the friend of SnoopyFan (tracing ancestry to a relative). The high school students I work with qualify for assistance if they can trace their ancestry to at least a grandparent.

The BIA site is down (because of the Cobell litigation).

http://www.doi.gov/bureau-indian-affairs.html

If you don't know the tribe, this would be a good place to start.

Maybe Sofa King (here's hoping he does vanity searches!) can help with more specifics. I've always admired his information and insight.



We've had previous threads on this subject:


http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=60285


If you would, please pay attention to Hazel's post.



Still, I have a hard time trying to understand how a person with no ties to a tribal community, no interest in tribal history, and without even the name of a tribe with which to claim membership would want to use a so-called "ethnic background" to work the system.



On the flip side, just today, when talking with the guidance counselor at a local high school, I told her to give the SAT fee waivers that our Native American students might be eligible for to the other kids (of any ethnicity) at the high school who might need assistance. It didn't seem right for our kids (who would qualify because of their economic backgrounds) to use these waivers when our Tribal Council (as well as JOM/Title VII) gives money for these types of expenses).

But, to each his own.

alterego
09-16-2003, 01:33 AM
I am going through the exact same thing!

The tribes in general have made it a real pain in the arse if I may say.

I was an orphan, so as you can imagine I am just now getting around to doing my genealogy. I have enough indian blood in me to get on the Chippewa and Choctaw tribal rolls technically, but I have so far been nixed because they say you have to apply before your 18th birthday. I'm trying to get it waivered of course but IMO they are a little greedy about there casino money.

I dont even want it mind you, they can keep it all!

alterego
09-16-2003, 01:42 AM
ack! *their casino money

Zhen'ka
09-16-2003, 02:04 AM
Since casinos have been mentioned a couple of times...

Many tribes do not operate casinos. For all of the tribes a person might hear about on the news making all kinds of money from gaming, there are many others that either do not having casinos, or have casinos that are not profitable.

If a tribe does not extend membership to a particular individual, it is not because the members of that tribe are greedy and hoping to claim all of the "casino" profits from themselves.

Perhaps it might have something to do with the fact that some (and I emphasize this word) individuals do not have blood or cultural ties to that tribe. Or enough of those things to qualify.

Each tribe establishes its own criteria for membership. Some are very traditional. Some only require proof of descent from a relative.

My niece and nephew are 1/8 Mojave. They will never (at least in any future I can imagine) be registered members of our tribe. But, they will still go to Pow Wows, they will still be taught our songs and dances. They will learn Mojave words and will teach them to their own children. The elders will smile when they see them and will tell them the stories of our people. But, my niece and nephew will never benefit financially from membership in our tribe. They will never be given preference in college admissions or scholarship assistance. They will never be able to work the system to their advantage.

But, they will have their Mojave heritage. They will know the elders and will be proud. And they will be welcomed because they have made an effort to be part of our tribal community.

Perhaps, instead of trying to get money or some other benefit, you might consider learning about your heritage(s) and gain as much as you can from your background and history. Visit the reservation, talk to an elder. I can't imagine anything more valuable.

Zhen'ka
09-16-2003, 02:11 AM
**do not HAVE casinos**

Please excuse the typo.

t-keela
09-16-2003, 02:20 AM
I asked about that when I went to school and was told that I had to be at least 1/4 Native American before they would even consider it.

But I'd ask your school to be sure.

alterego
09-16-2003, 03:15 AM
The reason I mentioned my tribes casinos is because they have them.

Zhen'ka
09-16-2003, 03:23 AM
Originally posted by alterego
The reason I mentioned my tribes casinos is because they have them.

Fair enough.

However, I have a question. Have you even visited your tribe(s)? Have you been to the village? Have you talked with an elder?

What, exactly, is your interest in claiming membership?

Perhaps you think my questions rude or irrelevant, but when you call your people "greedy," one does wonder.

frookah
09-16-2003, 06:15 AM
How do I prove I'm black? How do you disprove it?

Hello, I'm bipedal carbon based mammal: homo sapiens, chero-afri-anglo-stani, female to within 85%: behavioural, right handed, sight-impared: correctable, how-do-you-do?

Remind me to mention this next time someone asks why I am an expatriate.

this is a loving jest, and a moment of silliness, settle down.

alterego
09-16-2003, 06:32 AM
I admit if getting on the tribal rolls gets me some free college I am all there.

I have never talked with an elder or visited my tribes. I joined the Navy when I was 18 and am now 21 so I have hardly had the chance you see? That doesnt mean my intentions are sour however. I hold some virtue in heritage and plan on visiting, someday.

My experience with them is that they are protecting the business they are running (casinos) by making it really hard to get on the rolls. I suppose due to their history this is fathomable, but due to the hard evidence I have that I am in the direct bloodline, I'm calling it greedy.

InsolentHalo
09-16-2003, 08:24 AM
I never said I didnt want to know more about my ancestry. I DO want to know. I want to know more about the man, his wife, and child also.

As for that situation with your niece and nephew, I think thats cruel. Despite how 'elder' your elders are, they know what thousands of dollars are dont they? Why would they deny recognition to them and thus deny them help with their education? Is it something elitist? They are so worthy of it, and yet they arent given the help, even though its not even money coming from the elders or the tribe?

InsolentHalo
09-16-2003, 08:46 AM
He would be Allegany, of Seneca, from The Iroquois Nation.

Sofa King
09-16-2003, 10:07 AM
Not much need for me here. Zhen'ka covered most of this nicely. I just naturally gravitate to these threads, by the way. I'm a bad dog who normally doesn't come when called.

As already said, usually being able to prove 1/4 descent from a federally recognized tribe is enough for scholarship work. If you have that, you can assemble your legal documentation and apply to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (http://www.cherokeeheritage.org/genealogy/gen_cdibtm.html#cdib) (CDIB). That example is Cherokee-specific, but I believe the CDIB card can be issued to descendants of any federally recognized tribe. From what I understand, most higher education facilities will accept a CDIB card as proof in itself.

The BIA website is utterly f***ed right now, but I believe there is a federal law which states that a human being must answer the telephone when you call (please don't ask me to prove that). For general BIA information you can call 202 208-3710; for the name and number of your tribal leader you can call 202 208-3711. (I should add that while I rarely get trapped on an electronic helpline, it's not uncommon to be directly routed to a filled up answering machine.)

Please note that being able to prove descent from a federally recognized tribe does not automatically make you eligible for membership. Each tribe is free to design its own membership requirements which can incorporate blood quantum, descent from a particular year's tribal roll, reservation residency, and participation in tribal relations by one's parents. Tribal membership requirements are often the most hotly contested internal dispute within a tribe, so I'd advise you to be polite.

(A little story for you, Zhen'ka: Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell loves to tell the story about a guy he met who was a comparatively rare full-blooded Indian, but as he descended from eight great grandparents from eight different tribes, each of which has a 1/4 or more blood quantum requirement for membership, he was tribeless.)

sugaree
09-16-2003, 11:07 AM
InsolentHalo, the Allegany reservation of the Seneca Indians is in New York State (the Allegany Mountains stretch from Virginia to New York State). There is no federally recognized tribe in Pennsylvania (of course there may be tribes that are not recognized). Here is a list of federally recognized tribes. (http://www.jrsa.org/jaibg/tribes_by_state.doc) There is contact information there for the Seneca Nation. They should be able to tell you if you qualify for membership.

My husband's in your situation. He has X amount of Indian ancestry. As neither he nor anyone else in the family has been raised in the culture, it's meaningless beyond family identity and stories to teach the children. He wouldn't dream of trying to make money out of it. We're just paying back the student loans--it's not that bad.

sugaree
09-16-2003, 11:24 AM
Here is a fascinating list of non-recognized tribes (http://www.kstrom.net/isk/maps/tribesnonrec.html#ohio). Still none in Pennsylvania (at least not today), but there's the Alleghenny Nation (Ohio Band).

puddleglum
09-16-2003, 12:05 PM
Here is the web site for the seneca indian genealogy service. http://www.sni.org/genealogy.thm.htm#155
They charge 50 dollars for a search and membership is based on matrilineal descent.

ShibbOleth
09-16-2003, 01:40 PM
I'd think that "taking advantage" of this is fairly unethical. Minority status preferences are intended to rectify inequities in who traditionally attends post-secondary programs.

May I inquire what field you plan to study?

Sofa King
09-16-2003, 01:51 PM
From a certain perspective, InsolentHalo may have an ethical claim to certain special health benefits for conditions to which an unusual percentage of American Indians are prone--alcoholism and diabetes spring to mind.

Then again, those health concerns may contraindicate going to college.

bibliophage
09-16-2003, 03:50 PM
Whether it would be ethical for someone with 1/8 Indian blood to claim to be an Indian is fodder for the Great Debates forum. Let's stick to the questions of whether it would be legal, how it can be proved, etc.

bibliophage
moderator GQ

Zhen'ka
09-16-2003, 04:22 PM
Perhaps the difficulty I have with your query is that it was not phrased, "How do I learn about my Indian heritage," but rather, "How do I prove that Im Native American? Using Ethnic background for college advantage".



I think that there is a misconception that students automatically get college preference or money for tuition. This is not the case, at least with all of the tribes with which I've worked.

Some tribes are really good about Higher Ed assistance, awarding scholarships, tuition and fees, living expenses, etc. But, in my experience, they do not just hand out checks to students. There is simply no "free money" for college--and the process to qualify for assistance is lengthy and quite involved.

Our Education Department works with the Financial Aid advisors at the schools/vocational programs in which our students are enrolled. Each student must still complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as well as the BIA Higher Ed application. The school/program will receive this information, calculate a student budget (based on credit hours, living situation, etc.) The school or gov't will award grant/loan/scholarship assistance.

This type of aid is no different than the aid available to other students, and it is based on the student's financial background. Then the FA Advisor will submit a Needs Analysis to our Education Department. The student must also have a CIB (Certificate of Indian Blood) on file. (Thanks, Sofa King for describing what a CIB/CDIB is)

It is only after this process that the student will be eligible for Tribal assistance. Our Tribal council uses this information, based on the recommendation of the Scholarships Officer at the Education Department, to decide an appropriate level of aid for each student. There is no extra money for living expenses (apart from what the institution's Financial Aid advisor lists on the Needs Analysis), no money for child care expenses or even travel (though some exceptions have been made for students on the East Coast for the holidays--and only after the family's direct appeal to Council).

There is a "student contribution" and a "family contribution" requirement (determined by the Financial Aid Office at the school/program) for each student.

Our tribe is proud that we can help all of our students, including those in Higher Ed. However, no tribe is alike, and many tribes simply do not have the funding (through economic development, etc.) to provide this type of aid for their students.

For example, I had two Lumbee students graduate last year and attempted to secure some type of Higher Ed assistance from their tribe. (Our department works with Mojave and other NA students (or their descendants) in our area, with funds provided from Council, Title VII and the JOM program.)

The folks at Lumbee were very kind, but they had NO assistance to provide for these students. They were helpful in listing some scholarships for which the students might be eligible, but there was no money available for Higher Ed from their tribe.

And those scholarships are not awarded automatically. These students had to complete the applications, write essays and essentially compete with other NA students for what were, in fact, very limited funds.


Originally posted by InsolentHalo

As for that situation with your niece and nephew, I think thats cruel. Despite how 'elder' your elders are, they know what thousands of dollars are dont they? Why would they deny recognition to them and thus deny them help with their education? Is it something elitist? They are so worthy of it, and yet they arent given the help, even though its not even money coming from the elders or the tribe?


I guess you and I (and my family) just see things differently. My niece and nephew are not denied "recognition" (in fact, my niece was named Student of the Quarter by the Education Department in May!) because they are not enrolled. They are not denied their heritage, nor are they denied the pride they feel because they are Mojave (my niece still thinks she's full-blood! just because it's such a big part of her identity).

They will not be denied their educations just because they are not enrolled (heck, do non-Indians feel that they are denied an education based on the fact that they are not eligible for tribal enrollment?). They will have the same opportunities as other students. And they will also have the benefit of being a member of a tribal community.

The thing is, we're not out for the "thousands" of dollars for college. That simply doesn't exist. (Believe me, I'm still paying off the loans from graduate school!)

One could argue that Tribal membership might give a student some advantage in college admissions (through Affirmative Action programs), but many schools are re-evaluating their AA programs and admission requirements. But, that's for another thread, I suppose.

I always encourage people to explore their NA heritage. But, if your main goal is to secure "free money" for college, you may find that the process is not going to pay off in the way you might imagine. But, perhaps it will pay off in different ways. Maybe you'll be able to learn about or visit your tribe, talk to some folks on the rez, and will gain so much more than what you think.

Zhen'ka
09-16-2003, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by bibliophage
Whether it would be ethical for someone with 1/8 Indian blood to claim to be an Indian is fodder for the Great Debates forum. Let's stick to the questions of whether it would be legal, how it can be proved, etc.

bibliophage
moderator GQ

I beg your pardon, bibliophage. I was composing my response and did not see your post until I had submitted mine.

Please accept my sincere apologies if the content of my post is unacceptable for GQ.

Guess I should learn to preview!

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Cervaise
09-16-2003, 04:46 PM
Originally posted by Zhen'ka
I have a hard time trying to understand how a person with no ties to a tribal community, no interest in tribal history, and without even the name of a tribe with which to claim membership would want to use a so-called "ethnic background" to work the system.My grandmother is Mexican, and her husband was half Native American. That makes me one-quarter Hispanic and one-eighth NA, which totals more of my background than anything else. I don't make a big deal out of it at all, but at least one of my previous managers was very happy to have me in her department because of the positive effect on her EEOC profile. ;)

In addition, my father (who is, by extrapolation, one-half Hispanic and one-quarter NA) used his ethnicity to get a nice cushy government job. He did the research, and found a group that was trying to diversify (this was in the mid-70s, when the rules were somewhat different), so he was four steps ahead of "regular" applicants. He doesn't speak Spanish, he doesn't hang out with other Mexicans, he doesn't listen to south-of-the-border music, he didn't marry another Mexican; ditto for the NA side. Hell, he even cut off contact with the mother who gave him his blood, just because he's kind of a scummy bastard. But none of that stopped him from leveraging the system to his advantage in order to get something he might otherwise have been unable to get.

I think it's pretty disgusting, and I would never do that myself, which is all I'll say lest we cross over into GD territory. But the fact is, some people have no ethical twinges about exploiting this sort of thing regardless of merit.

Cervaise
09-16-2003, 04:53 PM
Sorry, bib, I had the window open for half an hour before composing my reply, so I didn't see your post before clicking Submit.

DrDeth
09-16-2003, 05:39 PM
There is a difference between claiming you are a native American, and saying you are (for exampl) "hispanic". As Zhenka, John, and Sofa have mentioned- the Government does have a set of rules for determining "Amerind" heritage, and those rules rely on the Tribes rules- which differ from tribe to tribe. However, there is NO legal definition of "hispanic". Thus, one could- with only some modicom of justification- claim to be "hispanic". Not so with Native American. To paraphase Yoda- "You either ARE, or you are NOT- there is no 1/8th". :D

Take myself for example. My Grandmother was Spanish- Castilian minor nobility in fact. Thus, I am 1/8th "hispanic" and I can- with a straight face and no guilt- check the box "hispanic".

OTOH, my Father was adopted into an Innuit tribe as a child, as a cermonial honour. That made him 100% "Native American", thus I am 50%. AFAIK, that tribe does not recognize that sort of "adoption" as being a recognized member of the tribe, thus I am not legaly any % Innuit. (And in a moral basic, since I have no Innuit blood, heritage, or shared experience, I would not claim it were it to be legal. But since I have benn given a hard time for "looking hispanic" I have some claim for being so.).

Nichol_storm
09-16-2003, 06:14 PM
Genealogy freak here.

InsolentHalo, if you're interested in doing some online genealogy, check out USGenWeb (http://www.usgenweb.org/). It hosts websites for all fifty states and includes censuses, surname databases, cemetary records, and other transcriptions. I am not affiliated with USGenWeb but I am with the similar WorldGenWeb project (http://www.worldgenweb.org) which fulfills the same genealogical role as USGenWeb, but with a worldwide focus.

Both projects are free of charge. You may be able to find records of your ancestors and contact other researchers.

As for minority status, I may be a member of a minority group (Melungeons) but I recieve no additional assistance because of this. There's no "Melungeon" box to check on college forms, no scholarships, and no casino money. In our case, there's not even any "blood quantum" nonsense or tribal government to contend with -- Melungeons are unrecognized, forgotten and, in some places, still stigmatized. Forget about getting a wierd look for claiming Amerindian or Hispanic descent -- most folks are liable to say, "Melun-what?" and think I'm crazy for even mentioning them.

Sofa King
09-16-2003, 06:22 PM
In keeping with manhattan's gentle prodding back to the true path, I have some suggestions.

First, you may want to consider the possibility of researching your genealogy more than you already have. The fact that you have an Indian ancestor may be indicative of a closer social interaction with American Indians than you know. Until very recently it wasn't exactly kosher to advertise Indian descent. Hell, I worked in Indian affairs for three years before my grandmother finally fessed up to me that she was of partial Indian descent.

And that knowledge also brought into perspective something else about one of my uncles, a member of the Eastern Cherokee. I have dim recollections about how his brother got himself into a lot of trouble for marrying a white woman, which always led me to ask, "well, why didn't my uncle get in trouble for marrying my aunt?" The answer is pretty clear now: she had ties of descent which were deemed acceptable by my uncle's (Indian) family, perhaps more than I know about. I'm saving my own genealogical exploration for my declining years, but I suspect I've got a (little) bit more Indian blood in me than I'd lose in a paper cut. I find that this sort of thing is not at all uncommon, particularly among descendants of eastern tribes such as InsolentHalo and myself.

A much more interesting example came up in a thread here about Vice President Charles Curtis (http://www.vpcharlescurtis.net/), which unfortunately appears to have been lost in The Winter of Our Missed Content. Curtis thought himself to be perhaps 3/8 Indian (IIRC) and actually grew up on the Kaw reservation, but a posthumous examination of his genealogy (http://www.vpcharlescurtis.net/ksstudies/ccfamily.html) reveals that he probably had more Indian ancestors than he knew. He was probably more like 5/8 Indian (again, IIRC).

So if you really want a 1/4 CDIB card, look to your other great-grandparents and their ancestors. If they came from the same community, they may also have similar ancestral ties which they didn't want to overtly admit. Back in those days being "Indian" meant a heck of a lot more about self-identification than it did about calculating blood quantum.

Of course, the paper cuts both ways, so to speak. You may find that your Indian great-grandparent was only half Indian or less. Since you're interested and you're not getting anywhere with what you have now, you might as well learn.

You might be asking yourself why I'm not more thoroughly researching my own background, which I might have parlayed into membership in a tribe with such relaxed criteria (http://www.dposs.com/5-civilized-tribes-promo/tribal-enrollment-promo-east.htm) as that of the Eastern Cherokee--had I known I might be eligible when I was 18. It's because I'm not, nor have I ever been, in tribal relations. But I do work with plenty of people who are. I don't think that walking into the office one day and saying, "um, yeah, I'm an Indian too!" is going to impress anyone in this line of work. It's not like being a member of a club. It's a way of life, and my family chose to walk away from that way a long time ago and took me with them even though I found my way back to a rewarding calling.

However, that way of life can be learned if one is earnest about it, of this I am certain. If the Seneca have a similar criteria to that of the Eastern Cherokee, and you're truly interested in being a member, then more power to you, InsolentHalo. Go check it out while you can.

The Ryan
09-17-2003, 01:42 AM
So if a tribe requires 1/4, does that mean that a full-blooded member can marry anyone he wants, but someone with 1/4 has to marry 1/4 or higher if he wants his kids to be a member of the tribe? What happens in cases of adoption (both into and out of the tribe)?

Zhen'ka
09-17-2003, 02:42 AM
Originally posted by The Ryan:

So if a tribe requires 1/4, does that mean that a full-blooded member can marry anyone he wants, but someone with 1/4 has to marry 1/4 or higher if he wants his kids to be a member of the tribe? What happens in cases of adoption (both into and out of the tribe)?




Well, people can marry anyone they choose, but if tribal membership is important (and the tribe requires at least 1/4 blood quantum), then they might consider marrying someone with at least that much blood. (Trouble is, though, finding a person on the rez with that much blood who is not also your cousin, etc. (at least with small tribes like ours) is not an easy task.)

There is a lot of intermarriage on our reservation, so I don't think that people even pay much attention to the blood quantum of their prospective partners. I know that I wouldn't (especially since my children would still have community ties to the tribe). Our tribe does not allow membership in other tribes, so I have friends who are married to Hopi folks and Apache folks, and they choose which tribe in which to enroll their children.

Some choose what tribe to enroll their children based on which traditions are important to them, descent requirements (if lineage is matrilineal, etc.), where they plan to reside, if the tribes differ in regard to enrollment requirements, etc.

There are different types of "adoption." If you're asking about your standard types of adoption where one spouse might adopt the biological children (non-Indian) of his/her partner (his/her stepchildren), then those children are not eligible for tribal membership (at least at Fort Mojave).

However, these children will be eligible for some benefits from our Council (not benefits funded through Title VII or JOM, but rather directly from our tribe). For example, our tribe awards a student clothing allowance each school year for enrolled members (regardless of where they reside), for direct descendants of tribal members (mom or dad is a tribal member) or adopted children of tribal members if those children reside with that family. This is a standard created directly by Council and is not subject to other requirements.

Some tribes also "adopt" people--meaning that they extend tribal membership to non-members. This can be for a variety of reasons, and differs with each tribe. To my knowledge, Fort Mojave does not "adopt" non-members. However, I have an acquaintance who's enrolled at Gila River (Pima) because she was "adopted." She's 1/8 Mojave, and so ineligible for membership here, but has close ties to the community there. She has all of the rights and privileges of tribal membership.

As has been stated, tribal membership requirements vary with each tribe. Some are quite lax, while others are strict. Perhaps Sofa King can correct me, but I believe that you must have 1/4 blood quantum to qualify for BIA assistance, regardless of membership status.



Sofa King, thanks for your story--and please know that I am one NA woman who is grateful for your "rewarding calling."