citizenship criteria

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John "Rocky" Barrett: A Sovereignty "Audit": A History of Citizen Potawatomi Nation Governance

Citizen Potawatomi Nation Chairman John "Rocky" Barrett shares the history of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and discusses its 40-year effort to strengthen its governance system in order to achieve its goals.

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Michael K. Mitchell: What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Grand Chief Michael K. Mitchell reflects on his role as a modern elected leader of his nation. Mitchell encourages small changes in terminology and ideology that in turn will change the community's mindset about nation rebuilding and what is possible.

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Constitutional Reform: A Wrap-Up Discussion (Q&A)

NNI "Tribal Constitutions" seminar presenters, panelists and participants Robert Breaker, Julia Coates, Frank Ettawageshik, Miriam Jorgensen, Gwen Phillips, Ian Record, Melissa L. Tatum and Joan Timeche field questions from the audience about separations of powers, citizenship, blood quantum and…

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Taylor Keen: The Disenfranchisement of the Cherokee Freedmen: Assertion or Abuse of Sovereignty?

Taylor Keen (Cherokee), a former member of the Cherokee Nation Council, discusses the stand he took against his nation's recent decision to disenfranchise the Cherokee Freedman. He offers a convincing argument against the move, explaining that taking away the citizenship rights of the Freedmen…

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Dismembering Natives: The Violence Done by Citizenship Fights

Dismembering Natives: The Violence Done by Citizenship Fights

Outside Indian Country most don't realize that over the past 10 years, several thousand people have had their tribal citizenship status terminated. Most were not dismembered for wrongdoing or adopted by other Native nations. They were simply identified by their elected officials as allegedly no…

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Tribe looking to increase enrollment

Tribe looking to increase enrollment

Under the direction of the appointed members of the Tribal Enrollment Committee – Peridot District Representatives Lula T. Dillon and Aurelia Rogers, Gilson Wash District Representatives Geraldine Kitcheyan and Henrietta Henry, Seven Mile Wash District Representatives Marthalene Polk and Lois R.…

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Disenrollment Demands Serious Attention by All Sovereign Nations

Disenrollment Demands Serious Attention by All Sovereign Nations

For most people, their sense of who they are–their identity–is at least partially defined from connection to others and to a community. When individuals are forced to sever those connections, the consequences can be devastating. Unfortunately, all too often in tribal disenrollment conflicts–like…

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Blood Quantum: A complicated system that determines tribal membership threatens the future of American Indians

Blood Quantum: A complicated system that determines tribal membership threatens the future of American Indians

Ryan Padraza Comes Last is a full-blooded Indian, Sioux and Cheyenne on his father's side and Assiniboine on his mother's. He will soon receive his Lakota name: "A Rope." (Comes Last raises rodeo horses and always has a rope in his right hand. He likes to call Ryan his "right-hand man.") But…

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What is an Indian?

What is an Indian?

In the background of all issues involving American Indians is always the question of what is an Indian? While there are any number of groups in this country today who have complicated issues surrounding identity, there is no identity issue more complicated than that of American Indian identity. As…

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White Earth Nation Adopts New Constitution

White Earth Nation Adopts New Constitution

In a historic vote, on November 19, 2013, the White Earth Nation in northwestern Minnesota became the first member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) to adopt a new constitution. Of the 3,492 ballots counted, the vote was 2,780 in favor and 712 opposed, a 79 percent approval. Since the ballots…

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Leech Lake, Red Lake Ojibwe bands moving on constitutional reform

Leech Lake, Red Lake Ojibwe bands moving on constitutional reform

On Tuesday, tribal members of the White Earth Nation voted resoundingly to adopt their own constitution and eventually split from the 80-year-old Minnesota Chippewa Tribe constitution that dictates the laws of many Ojibwe tribes in the state. Neighboring Ojibwe bands at Leech Lake and Red Lake may…

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Winnebago Tribe expands member definition

Winnebago Tribe expands member definition

Members of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska have overwhelmingly voted to expand their definition of tribal membership. Previously, the tribe required at least one-quarter Winnebago blood relationship to qualify as an enrolled member. Now, those who have a parent or grandparent that belongs to the…

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Northern Ute Tribal Enrollment May Rise, Pending Election Could Lower Blood Quantum

Northern Ute Tribal Enrollment May Rise, Pending Election Could Lower Blood Quantum

A tribal nation with what could be North America’s strictest enrollment criteria may soon decide on more flexible rules that might, if adopted, increase the tribe’s current 3,000-plus membership. A pending election could lower the 5/8 Ute Indian blood degree requirement for membership in the Ute…

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Indian Identity, Choice and Change: What Do You Choose?

Indian Identity, Choice and Change: What Do You Choose?

Indigenous individuals and nations are faced with choices about identity, change and cultural continuity. The choices are not just mere faddish expressions but are deep decisions about culture, community, philosophy and personal and national futures. Many indigenous communities are divided over…

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A clear and present danger to our tribal sovereignty

A clear and present danger to our tribal sovereignty

Indian law, sovereignty and jurisdiction are not “one size fits all” issues in Indian country. There are too many variations in how different states view the Indian nations within their borders and even in how the federal government treats issues of Indian sovereignty. With the surge in Indian…

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Native America Calling: Tribal Enrollment And Blood Quantum

Tribal Enrollment And Blood Quantum

Every tribe has its own rules for membership. Some tribes include lineal descent — proof that you descend from a recognized tribal member — while others have a blood quantum requirement that requires members possess a certain percentage of tribal blood. On White Earth, researchers found that the…

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Indian Pride (Episode 112): Tribal Government Structure

This episode of the "Indian Pride" television series, aired in 2007, chronicles the governance structures of several Native nations in an effort to show the diversity of governance systems across Indian Country. It also features an interview with then-chairman Harold "Gus" Frank of the Forest…

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Josh Gerzetich, citizen of Oneida Nation of Wisconsin
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John Low, citizen of Pokagon Band of Potawatomi

Tribal Enrollment

Tribes have the right to determine their own membership. These criteria for enrollment vary from tribe to tribe. In the Midwest, the criteria are based on descendancy, that is, descent from an individual on a particular roll, as well as, in some cases, blood quantum and/or residency of the…

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Truth To Tell: Community Connections - White Earth Constitutional Forum Part II

In collaboration with production partner KKWE/Niijii Radio, TruthToTell and CivicMedia/Minnesota traveled west on August 14, 2013, to the White Earth Reservation to air/televise the seventh in our series of LIVE Community Connections forums on critical Minnesota issues. Convened at White Earth's…

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Vine Deloria's Last Video Interview

American Indian author, theologian, historian, and activist Vine Deloria, Jr. (1933-2005) talks with documentary film producer Grant Crowell about traditional Indigenous governance systems and criteria for citizenship, the impact of colonial policies on tribal citizenship (specifically the effects…