The Politicus

Create | Share | Influence

Unpacking Blood Quantum

3 min read

Very important discussion…

“Blood quantum for is subtractive… One drop rule is expansive…all to advance and continually uphold white supremacy…”

The sins and conjuring up of a fictional racist construct needs to be continually illuminated in order to really understand what we are up against and free ourselves.

“Blood quantum. The percentage of Native “blood” one possesses, the fraction listed on Certificates of Degree of Indian Blood, and a fraught concept that has its defenders and dissenters in our communities. Despite its colonial origins, many tribes still use blood quantum as a requirement for tribal enrollment, and these fictional fractions carry huge weight in the lives of Indigenous Peoples. In this episode we hope to parse out some of these complications around the topic of blood quantum—legally and interpersonally, as well as the ways these metaphors of blood have moved into genetic science. Many of our Native nations are at a crisis point when it comes to thinking about enrollment, and notions of blood and belonging are at the center of that. Knowing all of this, where do we go from here?

Join Matika and Adrienne as they discuss blood, enrollment, law, genetics and belonging with Charlotte Logan (Akwesasne Mohawk) a genetic researcher debunking blood quantum theory, Gabe Galanda (Round Valley Indian Tribes of California, descending from the Nomlaki and Concow Tribes), a prolific Seattle attorney fighting disenrollment cases, Tommy Miller (Colville), attorney and author of law review article “Beyond Blood Quantum: The legal and political implications of expanding tribal enrollment”, and Professor David Wilkins (Lumbee), legal scholar and co-author of “Dismembered: Native Disenrollement and the Battle for Human Rights”.

Guest Bios:

Charlotte Logan is Akwesasne Mohawk and a molecular biologist working in upstate new york. Charlotte has a Masters in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Brandeis University and has spent a decade specializing in the field of small RNA and mRNA Processing. She recently made a life altering choice by stepping away from her career and enrolling in the Onondaga Language Program, where she spent two years studying the Onandoga language. Then returned to biochemistry and molecular biology as a senior research support specialist, and now is a graduate student in linguistics.

Gabe Galanda belongs to the Round Valley Indian Tribes of California, descending from the Nomlaki and Concow Tribes. As a partner at Galanda Broadman, Gabe is an attorney whose legal practice represents tribal governments, businesses and citizens often working on complex, multi-party litigation and crisis management. Gabe is a prolific writer on tribal litigation and sovereignty and Indian civil rights issues, having been published over 100 times in national periodicals like The National Law Journal, and Business Law Today.

Tommy Miller is a Citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and his Seattle law practice focuses on litigation, Indian Law, government contracts and procurement, which touch on a wide variety of issues including treaty rights. He received his JD and bachelor’s degrees from Harvard University. In 2014, he published in the American Indian Law Journal: “Beyond Blood Quantum: The Legal and Political Implications of Expanding Tribal Enrollment.”

David E. Wilkins is a citizen of the Lumbee Nation of North Carolina and a Professor at the University of Richmond. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Professor Wilkins research and teaching interests include Indigenous politics and governance, federal Indian policy and law, comparative politics, and diplomacy and constitutional development. He is the author or editor of a number of books, including “Dismembered: Native Disenrollment and the Battle for Basic Human Rights.”

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Politicus is a collaborative political community that facilitates content creation directly on the site. Our goal is to make the political conversation accessible to everyone.

Any donations we receive will go into writer outreach. That could be advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit or person-to-person outreach on College campuses. Please help if you can:

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x