Halito Brothers & Sisters,

Today we have a special guest editorial.   Writing  anonymously and using the name Aiokpachi (Chahta word meaning “thankful”) our guest will share thoughts on the discussion of blood quantum.  This particular issue is a hot button and the Choctaw group on Facebook has been hotly debating this topic for quite some time.  In my opinion, it is a referendum for the people because it’s a very important step for the tribe and therefore should be decided democratically.  Either way it will continue to arouse much debate for decades to come.

Blood Quantum

Blood quantum is a volatile topic in Indian Country these days. You hear talk of everything from lack of services for full bloods to Freedmen asking for citizenship rights in the Cherokee Nation.

Is blood quantum relevent? 

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw has one of the highest blood quantum requirements in the United States at 1/2. They also have fewer than 20,000 Citizen Members. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has more than 200,000 members with only a fraction of 1/2 blood and up tribal members. We have no blood quantum limit and we have fewer than 10,000 fluent speakers, the majority of whom are over the age of 50. What does Chahta language have to do with blood quantum limits? 

Without our language and traditions we are a dying Nation.

In less than one generation we will no longer be able to fill one of the seven requirements for Sovereign Status and Federation Recognition.  Those requirements are as follows:

  • Criterion 83.7(a) requires that external observers have identified the petitioner as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis since 1900. 
  • Criterion 83.7(b) requires that a predominant portion of the petitioning group has comprised a distinct community since historical times. 
  • Criterion 83.7(c) requires that the petitioning group has maintained political influence over its members as an autonomous entity since historical times. 
  • Criterion 83.7(d) requires that the petitioner provide a copy of its governing document. 
  • Criterion 83.7(e) requires that a petitioner’s members descend from a historical Indian tribe. 
  • Criterion 83.7(f) requires that the petitioner’s membership be composed principally of persons who are not members of another Federally recognized Indian tribe. 
  • Criterion 83.7(g) requires that the petitioner not be subject to legislation forbidding the Federal relationship.

 
Again, what does language retention have to do with blood quantum?  Unfortunately,blood quantum is a two edged sword. It was designed with our extinction in mind and it is also a good indication of culture as well. The majority of 1/1000th citizen members do not know their language. Their parents did not go to boarding school and they identify themselves racially and culturally as caucasian.

In a recent post you may have been surprised to see talk of adopting a lower blood quantum requirement. We have Citizen Members who no longer have ties to our Great Nation. We have Citizen Members at 1/256th Blood quantum receiving services while our 4/4 Elder Citizen Members go without a per cap which can be the difference between solvency and a state operated institution.

The choice is clear. When we can no longer highly cherish and care for our Elders it is time for change.  When the vast majority of a tribe’s citizen members no longer speak the language or have any interest in the culture it is time for change.

We are recommending a 1/64 blood quantum requirement be sent to our Tribal Council and voted on expeditiously. Why 1/64? Because a Citizen Member at 1/64 has at least 1% Indian Blood. Is a person with less than 1% Indian Blood an Indian? You think on that and let us know your opinion, but it would guarantee that the grandchild of a 1/16th blood quantum Citizen Member falls under the jurisdiction of the Indian Child Welfare Act.  This would solidify our link to the future and protect our children.
Due to errors in blood quantum calculations this would also allow ANYONE at more than 1% blood quantum to retain their status. The reality is that the children of 1/64 Citizen Members do not know their language. They no longer have ties to the tribe. For those that do, it would not be unfair to request a vote to the Tribal Council.

Our tribe is growing in money, vibrant and strong but if we want the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to be run for and BY Choctaws it is obvious that radical change is desperately needed.

It has been more than 100 years since the Dawes Roll was taken. It’s time to take another look at what it means to be Choctaw in this modern age and let’s be clear: The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma must be a Tribe run by AND for it’s Citizen Members to meet the federal requirements for tribal recognition.  We need health care, jobs and education for all our Citizens. We need to care for our Elders and our children. We need schools where Elders are involved and children are being taught their language and history. This is a new era and our Sovereignty is at stake. If we do not take drastic measures now there will no longer be a Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma in the future.

Aiokpachi

Yakoke Aiokpachi your thoughts and your bravery are appreciated.

If you would like to write an editorial to appear on this blog please feel free to contact me and I will see that it gets done.

Yakoke Sisters & Brothers,

CW

Advertisements