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  • ✪ Citizen Indigenous || Radcliffe Institute

Transcription

- Hello everyone. Welcome to the Radcliffe Institute. It's great to see so many people out for this event. My name is Sean O'Donnell. I'm the associate director for academic ventures. And for those of you who don't know, academic ventures it's a group at Radcliffe that brings together people from across the university to discuss all kinds of issues of importance to bringing people together to discuss ideas from different perspectives, different disciplinary perspectives. And it's my pleasure, on this particular project, to be working with Megan Hill from the honoring nations project, and also to be working with Shelley Lowe, of the Harvard University native-american project. And we know we have some really wonderful and important topics to address today. This year at the institute we've been looking at citizenship for this year and for next year. And there are so many ways in which we know that this topic, today, deeply affects notions of citizenship on native land. I also invite you to come to Layli Long Soldier's poetry reading this Thursday. It's also at 4:15, and also will be in this room. And also, to our gender conference, which is entitled, "Who belongs? Global citizenship the 21st century." Our keynote speaker for that is Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, Jhumpa Lahiry. And we'd love to have you, again, explore the idea of citizenship from many perspectives. And we know that today's event is promising to do some really wonderful work in understanding the ways in which the Native American people and tribes and nations are trying to make sense of many of the things that they have inherited in their world. So without further ado, I'm going to bring up Shelley Lowe, who's going to, I think, introduce the panelists and get us started. Thanks. - [NON-NENGLISH SPEECH] Good afternoon. My name is Shelly Lowe. I am a citizen of the Navajo Nation. I am originally from Ganado, Arizona. I am also currently the executive director of the Harvard University native-american program. I want to acknowledge quickly, the Massachusetts people whose land we're on, but also the Wampanoag and the Muk peoples, whose histories are so intimately tied to this institution. Before we get started with introductions, I'm going to ask my colleague, Jason Packineau, to come up to say a quick blessing for our event today. And we do ask that nobody record or take pictures at this time. Thank you Jason. Our panel tonight, or this evening, is part of a conversation based on a recently published book. And unfortunately, I didn't bring my book. But I do know one of our speakers has his book with him. The book is The Great Vanishing Act, Blood Quantum and the Future Native Nations. And one of the editors is with us today. Mr. Norbert Hill, and I'm sure he will talk about it a little bit more. I encourage everyone to take a look at the book, it talks about citizenship from various tribal points of view. From youth point of view, to a tribal point of view, to historical points of view. And it's very good and will kind of guide some of our conversation today. So on our panel today, Professor N. Bruce Duthu, a member of the United home a nation, is the Samson outcome professor, and former chair of the Native American studies at Dartmouth College. He's an internationally recognized scholar of Native American law and policy. Professor Duthu is the author of Shadow Nations Tribal Sovereignty and the Limits of Legal Pluralism. Published by Oxford University Press. And American Indians and the Law, published by Viking penguin press. And he was a contributing author of Felix Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law. The leading treatise in the field of federal Indian law. His co-edited special volume of South Atlantic quarterly, sovereignty, indigeneity and the law, won the 2011 council of editors of learned journals award for best special issue. He has lectured on indigenous rights in various parts of the world, including Russia, China, Bolivia, Italy, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Anywhere else? We didn't miss something? And he's been teaching a class, or he's taught a class at the Institute for American Indian arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Also on the panel is Olivia Hoeft, a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, where she was born and raised. She is a contributing author to the book, the anthology, The Great Vanishing Act, Blood Quantum and the Future of Native Nations. And she is former Miss Oneida, in 2014, 2015. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University in 2015. And currently works at Google as an associate product marketing manager in San Francisco, where she is also a lead of the Google American Indian network. Also on our panel, Tesia Zientek. She is a citizen of the Potawatomi nation. With financial help from a prestigious gates Millennium scholarship, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2009, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. After graduation, Tesia spent two years teaching and running an after school program in Puerto Rico, before pursuing her passion for education through graduate study. In 2013, she graduated with her master of arts in education policy from Stanford University. To celebrate her educational achievements, Tesia has received the Howard Yhakis Memorial Award and the next Gen 30 under 30 award. In October, 2015, she became the citizen Pottawatomie nation's first director for its new education department, which aims to help tribal members identify and reach their educational goals. Since 2012, Tesia has also served as Potawatomi leadership program advisor, helping to restructure and implement curriculum for the Harvard honoring nations award winning internship program. And lastly on our panel, Mr. Norbert S. hill Jr., a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. Norbert Hill recently retired as the director of education and training for the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. His previous appointment was as vice president of the College of Menominee Nation for their Green Bay campus. Mr. Hill served as the Executive Director of the American Indian Graduate Center in New Mexico, a nonprofit organization providing funding for American Indians and Alaska Natives to pursue graduate and professional degrees. Previous positions include executive director of the American Indian science and Engineering Society, assistant dean of students at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and the director of the American Indian educational Opportunity Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He founded winds of change in the American Indian graduate magazine publications of AISES [INAUDIBLE] and the American Indian Graduate Center. He holds two honorary doctorate from Clarkson university and Cumberland college. Passport appointments include the Environmental Defense Fund, chair and board member of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. He is an elected member of the United Nations trust and enrollment committee, and currently serves on the boards of St. Norbert college, the Wisconsin historical society, and the Green Bay botanical gardens. In 1989, Mr. hill was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Action council for minorities in engineering. I would like to ask the panelists to please come up and join us on stage. And to begin our panel tonight, we're going to have Professor Bruce Duthu start us off. - Thank you, and thank you Shelly. Thank you to our native tribal hosts on whose lands we meet. And thank you to the Institute for hosting this event. It's a great pleasure to be back in Cambridge. I feel badly that we're keeping you indoors on such a gorgeous day after the winter we've been through. So thank you for indulging us. I'm not going to say too much at this point, because our panelists are ready to go. I'll have a few things to say by way of summation, and then some questions for our panelists before we turn it over to you, the audience, to ask questions. So the way that we're going to proceed, each panelist will have about 15 minutes. At least that's what I was told that you have. About 15 minutes to share their own comments on the topic for today. And followed by a few questions that I've circulated to them to think about. I probably won't ask all the questions, I went into that professorial mode where you just kind of ask questions ad nauseum. So I'll try to ask maybe just two or three questions. And then, just to get them primed for your questions, and then we'll turn it over to you. When it is your turn to ask questions, there will be a mic set up right here in the center of the hallway. And we ask that you identify yourself, where you're from, and ask as brief a question as you can. OK? Thank you very much. So I don't know what order that we have. If you want to go in a particular order. You want to start us off Olivia? Thank you. - [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] Hello, everyone. My name is Olivia Hoeft. My Oneida name is Iago hocky, which means her road is good. I'm from the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, and I am turtle clan. First of all, I just want to say how humbled I am to be here and among the amazing company of my fellow panelists. And how grateful I am to the Radcliffe Institute for having us, and for carving out space to have such a vital discussion. This is one of the most important questions of our time for native people. And whatever we decide will lay the foundation for generations to carry on the conversation we are starting today. It is a difficult question to ask and there sadly is no one right answer that has been hiding in plain sight all along when it comes to blood quantum. What great news that would be, we could all head home early. But to me, it is an inspiring time as well. For so much of our history we have worked within the definitions of other outside forces. Of what it means to be Native American. And I believe this is an opportunity to decide for ourselves. My mother, Patty Hoeft, served on our elected tribal council for three terms, a total of nine years. Following in the footsteps of her mother, my grandmother Sandra [? Nedham, ?] who was one of the two women to start a bingo game on our tribes reservation in the 1970s. One of the first in the country, which went on to become our tribe's Casino as we know it today. My family's legacy of contributing to Oneida survival has profoundly impacted my Native American identity and sense of citizenship to my tribe. The question of what it means to be Oneida, and of what I can do for Oneida's survival, is something I've thought about almost every day of my life, and has influenced any decision I've made in my life so far. Especially when it comes to where I've lived. Tribes are place based cultures. We are, because of where we are. Growing up, the world seemed a little more black and white. That there only was Oneida and the rest of the world was not. Not unlike the binary quality of blood quantum itself, which views identity as either or, rather than a spectrum. I was born and raised on the Oneida reservation. My mother is Oneida, and my father is white. They met and fell in love while working at the local newspaper in Green Bay, and had me and my older sister Lauren. And although my mom had always had dreams of leaving Oneida eventually to pursue different goals she had, she always knew that it was vital to our identities to be raised in Oneida, around Oneidas. So she stayed. We found out recently that my sister and I are actually the seventh generation matronly, and the 10th generation patronly in our family to be born and raised in Oneida Wisconsin. That is no small feat. Despite many warring factors and outside influences, since the Oneidas of Wisconsin first left their homelands in New York, and moved to Wisconsin in 1822, all of my ancestors not only survived, but also have made the same choice to stay generation after generation. And my mother made that choice as well. I also plan to make that choice. When I meet new people and they learn about my connection to Oneida, how it worries me to live away, and how often I try to visit home, or how annoyingly difficult it is to find a nonstop flight to the middle of Wisconsin in the winter. Usually the first thing they ask is, do you think you'll ever move back home permanently? Which to me, is an ironic question. Because I only ever left because I always knew I would come back home eventually. And moreover, I only was able to leave because I knew I could come back home. Growing up as a young native person, you are confronted with the idea of long term goals a little earlier than your peers. I knew as a child that Oneida and many other tribes were in survival mode. I knew that blood quantum would mean something to me when I chose a partner in the future. And I always knew that one day I would come home. That I would return to Oneida, and that that part of my future I had already decided. Until then though, I have big dreams of what I wanted to do, the things I wanted to learn, and the skills I hoped to bring back to my tribe one day. This is actually where Norb Hill enters my story. Norb was the director of the United education department, and was close to my family. We briefly spoke earlier that I think he's known my family for four generations now. His kids had gone to a boarding school in Rhode Island, called st. George's. Hi Megan. And he put the crazy idea into my mom's head, who then put it into mine, that I should apply. I was scared, but intrigued. My mother told me repeatedly, just go. You'll always have a home to come back to. We will hold your place here in Oneida. Boarding schools have a controversial and traumatic history in the native community-- although, less well known in mainstream society-- in which many native youths were taken by force or circumstance to attend boarding schools in the US where their hair was cut, their language was forbidden, and education was largely used as a tool of assimilation. This was a radical fork in the road for my life and for my family. Both in how out of left field the decision to leave home at 14 years old and go to boarding school would be even if I weren't Native American. I really, only up until this point, I had thought that boarding schools exist in the realm of Harry Potter. But I'm sure that had some impact on my decision to go. But also how ironic it was to be a young native person choosing to leave home to attend a boarding school, and how different my choice looked compared to other native people throughout history. My grandfather went to an Indian boarding school in Tomo, Wisconsin, when he was just eight years old. To me, I was always affected both by how recent the trauma of boarding schools are in our history. Just two generations ago. But also, that in just two generations, we were already reclaiming these institutions as our own. And if going to boarding school wasn't ironic enough, I decided a year later it would be an amazing experience to attend an abroad program at 16 when I was a junior in high school. Where 517 years after Columbus first left Spain to visit the New World, I returned the visit. Again, I was afraid to go so far from home. But again, my mother told me, just go. Just try it. We'll keep the fires burning for you in Oneida until you come home. I went on to attend Stanford University, and I've stayed in California ever since. I now work at Google, and am a lead of our Google American [INAUDIBLE] network there. Which is an internal resource group that aims to make an impact in both the native community at and outside of Google. Looking back on my life and the radical decision to go to a boarding school that changed the course of it, I know that leaving home was not possible for me in spite of my connection to place. But because of it. For future native youth I hope we are able to tell them the same. To go out, to just try, and that will keep the fires burning until they return home. As I look ahead to my future, I'm aware that my life looks like a blood quantum case study. My mother is just shy of being, and I hate the term full blooded, but a full blooded Oneida. So I am 7/16th Oneida. 1/16 shy of being truly half blooded. Which means that my children, if they don't have an Oneida father, will be 1/32nd short of a quarter, of having enough blood quantum to be enrolled. For people with blood quantum like mine, this missing 1/32nd drop of blood, brings the question, how is it possible if I am Oneida, and that if being Oneida has defined my life so much, how can my children not be? I am dismayed at how it only takes marrying outside of Oneida essentially twice, to bring down the legacy of the generations of Oneidas before me. 7 and 10 on each side. And how easily blood quantum undermines their choices and sacrifices. It pains me in this view that my father has somehow weakened my identity through blood, when in truth, he has only strengthened my identity, Oneida identity, in practice. Growing up he took me to Oneida language classes, accompanied me to events in the community, mapped our family tree, and always reminded me of our history. Making it a relevant part of our family discussions growing up. He also helped other Oneidas tell their stories, and document Oneidas history for the future. A few years ago he wrote a book about the origin of our tribes Casino, and my grandmother's part in it. Conducting countless interviews with Oneidas in the community. It is called The Bingo Queens of Oneida, How Two Moms Started Tribal Gaming in Wisconsin. Oneidas, by tradition, have always had a pro-adoption policy. And really no concept of blood or DNA as factors to membership of the tribe. As Houghton schoeni people, people of the Longhouse, we had a value of continually extending the rafters of the Longhouse to make room for newcomers. Or those that had married into or been adopted into the tribe. Everywhere I've been in life allies have been integral to flourishing communities that have withstood historical trauma. I believe it is vital that there are support systems and fresh points of view to move communities forward. And most importantly, there is always more work to be done for those that are willing to do it. I think that blood quantum or lineal descent has a role, but it's not the only factor in defining tribal identity and citizenship for the future. I don't think the same answer will be used for every tribe, as every tribe needs to decide, ultimately, what its goals are. And its membership qualification should reflect that. The original goal of native blood quantum was explicitly to see the disenrollment and demise of the legal status of Native Americans. Which has likely already succeeded from my personal bloodline. Which will end with me by the quarter blood quantum standards we have in place now. I would like to see my tribe's qualification methods change in my lifetime. And I believe we need to create a process that can grow and change for different generations, as the needs of our communities change over time. However, as of now, I only have more questions than answers unfortunately. As tribes themselves have their own identity issues, are we a race? Are we a culture? A religion, a community, a business, a nation, a family? Are we all at once? I would like to see membership exist in different ways for tribes based on their different functions in these areas. So there would be a spectrum of citizenships. Could we have at least two different types of membership statuses? One that is cultural and another that is legal in nature? What would it take to have both an inclusion of required cultural knowledge, similar to a citizenship test, as well as other native blood included and tribal qualifications? As for some natives, they may come from eight or six different tribes, be full blooded Indians, but not have enough for any particular tribe to be enrolled. However, for pandemonium blood quantum, tribes need to be careful that tribal specificity was not eroded by a pan-indian identity. So we could create a system that both unites us, but also preserves our unique tribal differences. Even if membership policies aren't changed in Oneida, I will raise my future children as Oneidas, regardless of their blood quantum. I believe that being Native American and being Oneida is less about what we are and more about what we do. Hona schoeni teachings value decision making processes that consider the impact of the next seven generations. And is something we discuss often in Oneida. I am here today speaking at Harvard because of the decisions that my ancestors seven generations ago made to ensure our survival. It makes sense that my children actually won't be enrolled members, as I truly am the end of the seventh generation. By the definitions that we have been imposed on. That have been imposed on us. I am the end of blood quantum for my bloodline. But in looking ahead, I believe my future children will be the beginning of the next seven generations. Which may not have blood quantum, but hopefully they'll have something much better. The ability to define, decide, and grow Oneida into the future, based on our own ideas of identity, for the survival of the next seven generations. And I believe that is something very much worth looking forward to. You're welcome. - [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] My name is, English name is Tesia Zientek. My Potawotamie name given to me by my mother is Ji jacquie, which means like a crane. Originally from Shawnee, Oklahoma, and I'm a proud citizen of the citizen Pottawatomie nation. As others have said before me, I'm grateful today to be standing before you on Pawtucket, Massachusetts, Wampanoag land for the first time in my life. And I also am grateful for the elders in the room who allow me to speak on this topic. So before I share my thoughts on tribal citizenship, I wanted to give you a little bit of context of where I come from both historically and geographically. The Pottawattamie tribe as a whole originated in the Great Lakes area of Canada and northern United States. But we were forcibly relocated by several federal backed removals. You can see here, the arrows in red are migrations that we did of our own accord, and then the green are were forcible removals. During the most devastating of these removals, which we call the trail of death, 41 mostly women and children died along the way from our woodlands homelands in Indiana to Northeast Kansas. After several broken treaties and promises, the federal government approached the Pottawatomie in 1861 with the proposed treaty. The essence of that document stated that instead of living communally in Kansas, they would be private landowners and United States citizens. My ancestors weren't forced into signing the treaty or leaving the reservation, but a difficult decision faced them at that time and under those conditions. Having already tried to resist removal and live through the aftermath of the failed attempt, and watch their children and mothers and relatives pass away, they opted to try a new legal and political strategy in hopes of gaining security for themselves and their families. 2/3 of those on the reservation opted to sign the treaty. And they became ultimately known as the citizen Pottawatomie And the rest who stayed on the communal lands are now known as the prairie band Pottawatomie. Many promises, again, were made about what it meant to be a citizen and a landowner. They were told that they would, that the citizen Pottawatomie would have a census. That they would be able to survey the land and then the tribal members would be able to choose which plot of land they wanted. Tribal members are supposed to receive money to buy seed and farming equipment to have two full seasons of crop production as a means of income. And then after those two years, the government would determine who was worthy and eligible to be US citizens. And those ready for citizenship would be taxed. Spoiler alert, that is not how it played out at all. My ancestors were taxed almost immediately, but had no source of income and therefore couldn't pay. So they were citizens in name, but not in practice. The federal government took the land of those people who failed to pay their taxes. And then six years later, the citizen Pottawatomie nation negotiated another treaty, the Treaty of 1867. Which allowed tribal members to return their allotments back to the federal government, which were then sold to the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe railroad company. And those proceeds were used to purchase the citizen Pottawatomie nation's land and Indian territory. Which is now known as Oklahoma. So that migration from Kansas to present day Oklahoma began in the 1870s. Of course, the promises were yet again broken, and just two decades later in 1890, the federal government derailed those efforts to relocate through the Dawes Act of 1887. Which that act dictated that the citizen Pottawatomie accept individual allotments of land. And the lands that remain un allotted, were classified as surplus. This is land, as you remember, that my ancestors purchased. So the unallotted land, that surplus, was opened up for non Indian settlements. And more than half of the original 900 square mile citizen Pottawatomie reservation, approximately 300,000 acres essentially disappeared overnight. Today, the citizen Pottawatomie nation is one of nine bands of Pottawatomie, with two first nations in Canada, and seven throughout the United States. The citizen Pottawatomie nation is still headquartered in Shawnee Oklahoma, in central Oklahoma. But our over 33,000 tribal citizens live in each of the 50 states, as well as internationally. As a result of commitment to self-governance, stable leadership, and an innovative constitutional reform, the citizen Pottawatomie nation has not only survived, but thrived. So now that you have some context, I want to jump to a two decade period from the last century that had a huge impact on the tribe we are today. Let me pause here for a moment and acknowledge as Olivia did, that every tribe is a sovereign nation. With the ability to determine how their membership laws are set up. So the citizenship story I'm telling today is how the citizen Pottawatomie nation decided what worked best for them, and cannot simply be transferred to the unique needs of another tribal nation. Because context does matter. On the screen, you're seeing Article two from a 1961 amendment to our tribal constitution. In particular, I want to draw your attention to the portion circled in red, which is Section one letter D of this article. In which our tribal council proposed that we move our tribal enrollment criteria to limit membership to anyone with a minimum blood degree of 1/8th. Exactly 100 years after our ancestors opted for a drastic citizenship change, the tribe voted 101 for and 8 against this amendment. And it was approved by the US secretary of the interior on April 24th, 1961. I think it bears repeating. 109 people and a non Pottawatomie bureaucrat decided the fate of our tribal nation. So in case you're wondering what an eighth looks like, it's the small yellow wedge here. Much like thoroughbred horses, tribal citizens had to prove their pedigree in a way that they had never had to do before. This wasn't part of our traditional history. The decision at that time was due to a desire to limit the number of recipients of tribal per capita payments. Fewer citizen Pottawatomie tribal members meant more money per person. Unfortunately, the science of blood quantum can be inexact at best, and problematic at worst. I've heard stories of Indian agents recording different blood quantum amounts for siblings, simply due to their appearance. When one sibling spent more time outside that summer, he or she would be noted as more Pottawatomie than their brother or sister. When I think about how much my make up foundation color changes between summer and winter, this makes me cringe at how inaccurate the starting data could be. And if a citizen believed that this record was wrong, the burden of proof was on them. Which could be an impossible task, especially if several years, or even decades, had passed since the original error was made. But the amendment passed. And it stood for the next two decades. In the late 1980s, our current tribal chairman, John Rocky Barrett, and other tribal leaders began to challenge this way of thinking. They argued that it was in-authentic to our traditional values to reduce our tribal citizenship connection to faulty records. Moreover, since blood quantum wasn't a traditionally Pottawatomie policy, then where did it come from? It began in practice following the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, which aimed to curb the destructive allotment process. One of the byproducts of that law was establishing citizenship standards. I, along with many others, would argue that this was another tool of assimilation. As fewer people could lay claim to being Pottawatomie, it wouldn't be too long until the citizen Pottawatomie nation ceased to exist at all. Which aligned quite neatly with determination policies of that era. If that was the goal it was certainly working. By 1988, the citizen Pottawatomie nation had diminished to around 5,000 tribal members. Due to blood quantum restrictions, the tribe was also growing steadily older. The average age of the tribal members at that time was 45 or 45 years old. 44 or 45 years old. And very few member's descendants met the blood degree requirements to enroll. The rule was literally disrupting family dynamics. As you'll see in the letter in the slide, a tribal member writes that due to the year of her birth, she was the only person in her family not to be considered Pottawatomie according to their roles. She pleaded with the Bureau of Indian Affairs officer to reconsider, but her requests, like that of so many others, was denied. However, there is still hope. As chairman Barrett preaches to this day, if you're not in the business of constitutional reform, you're not in the business of tribal sovereignty. So he and others proposed another constitutional amendment to change the enrollment criteria yet again. And it passed. In 1989, the tribe voted 1,919 into 343 to open the rolls. You might notice that there was a much larger turnout for this election than the one in 1961. Families have quite literally been ripped apart as a result of the 1961 decision. And people were eager to reverse it. Under the new amendment, anyone who was descended from someone on the January 1937 tribal rolls could submit an enrollment application. And this is the same system that we have in place today. And our membership continues to grow. Now, instead of small per capita payments given to each tribal member, we invest tribal revenue back into services so that each tribal member can receive scholarships, health care, and hardship assistance, among countless other services. But history is made up of living people. And in my opinion, none of this means anything unless you can truly understand the impact of these citizenship policies on a family and personal level. So I'd like to share my own story with you. I have to confess, because blood quantum is a policy I vehemently oppose myself, it is something that I rarely discuss. When people find out that I'm native American, the first question that they typically ask is, how much are you? As a side note, this is not a question that I hear asked towards other heritages or nationalities. On st. Patrick's Day, on Saturday, for example, thousands of people throughout the US celebrated their heritage wearing among other things, shirts that read, kiss me I'm Irish. And I didn't hear anyone asking them how much they were. No, when people ask me how much are you, I just don't answer the question. This is partially because I view it as a learning opportunity for the person asking, but also because I do not have my blood quantum memorized. It is simply not important to me to validate my tribe life Indian this way. However, while preparing for this presentation, I pulled out my certificate of Indian blood, CDIB card, that was issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, again a unique aspect to Native American identity. I didn't meet any card carrying Irish people this weekend. I checked the number on the card and I did some family research. I called our tribal rolls department, I pulled up some old family tree records, and I spoke to my grandma. And the story. I learned blew my mind. So I invite you to join me down the rabbit hole that I discovered this past few weeks. So up here on the screen is my recorded blood quantum. For context, that's what that equates to. 9 over 512 does not roll off the tongue. And I guarantee if I told anyone asking me how much I was, I would be laughed out of town or immediately dismissed. But that's where the story gets interesting. I called our tribal rolls department with the intent of finding out at what point my family would have been ineligible to enroll based on the 1/8th rule of 1961. I learned that according to our tribal records, I would need to go back six generations to Josephine Wells to find anyone in our family who was at least an eighth. And this puzzled me a little bit, because my great grandfather, Atwin Blaze Pecor served as tribal chairman for several years. And my mother had been eligible to receive per capita payments before I was born, during the period in which the 1/8th rule was in place. So how could the tribes own chairman not meet the requirements? And how could my mother receive those benefits, if she didn't meet that criteria? So after some digging I found a history of our constitutional amendments, and I learned the one eighth rule of 1961 allowed anybody enrolled before the amendment passed to be grandfathered in. And that's how my family stayed on the rolls for several generations. My mother, born in 1959, was enrolled by her parents in 1960, just in time to miss the 1961 addition of the blood quantum criterion. And then I called my mother last week to tell her how lucky her timing had been. She suggested that I call my grandmother to hear her side of the story. So I did. And here's what she told me. So even before 1961, our tribe had a semblance of blood quantum requirements in place. While descendents could enroll, certain services, including scholarships, were reserved for those with a higher blood quantum. As tribal chairman, my great grandfather made an enemy of the person who oversaw tribal records. We don't know why, but it happened. In addition, according to the kind of juicy gossip that I'm sure every family holds, my grandma beat the tribal enrollment officer's daughter to be elected president of the Catholic women's club. And she won the heart of my grandpa. And in revenge, and to prevent my great grandfather's children-- my grandparents-- from receiving those services, the tribal enrollment officer modified the records. She decreased Atwin Blaze Pecor's blood quantum to 164. And in case you're wondering, I did fact check the story, and the records bear now. This is not a family myth. You can see the erasure marks on some of the records. Currently on the Sepian tribal rolls, my great grandfather's blood quantum is listed as 164. Because of that change. Now bonus points if you're paying attention and notice that the official trial record from 1967, even with its hand written modifications, has a different number for Atwin Blaze Pecor, AB Pecor, my great grandpa. You'll also see that names of Josephine Wells and Margaret Ogee all circled in red, but there are handwritten changes. And there is an asterisk that notes that there are some questions of the accuracy of the blood degree and that it could change if the Logan records are found. And if that confuses you, and it confused me, take a look at this alternate record. Which lists my grandfather's blood degree as 964. both of these came from our tribal rolls department this past week. Our official records. These are the type of imperfect records that so many tribes rely on today for citizenship. Thoroughly confused at this point, I asked my grandmother if she knows, based on our family history, what our blood quantum was before the vengeful eraser of the tribal enrollment officer struck. She said that there was certainty within the family that my great, great, great grandparents had each been half Pottawatomie. Which would have made each of them, each of their children half and my grandfather quarter. With the strike of a pencil he went from a quarter to 1/64th. And my great grandfather didn't take this development lying down, by the way. A family farm hand who had been present at my great, great grandmother's birth, testified of her blood degree. And in his '90s, mailed a notarized letter to this effect to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington DC. I'm not sure how many cynics of bureaucracy are in the room today, but surely at least a few of you aren't surprised what happened next. This notarized letter, the only copy, got lost. So after Mr. Bertrand, the farmhand, passed away, there was no recourse to pursue changing the record. And to further complicate the story, I had always been told that my great grandmother was also Pottawatomie. When I asked the tribal rolls specialist on the phone what her blood quantum was, she replied with some confusion that there was a question mark next to her name in the official records. According to my grandma, this was because she knew she was Pottawatomie, but was unable to prove it because her mother had been disowned by her parents. So why am I telling you all of this family drama? What does any of it have to do with today's topic of tribal citizenship? You see, had our tribe maintained the one eighth blood degree minimum requirement in acts of 1961. Even despite all the inaccurate records our blood degree is based off of, my mother would have slipped by just in time to enroll. But I wouldn't have. Although I was born in 1986, I couldn't enroll after 1989 when the rolls opened up. My mother enrolled me in 1995. Despite knowing since I could talk that I was Pottawatomie, I was this close to losing that piece of identity in the legal sense. Our legacy as a Pottawatomie family would've ended with me. I wanted to include the side by side photo of what is now my grandma's house. This house sits on my family's tribal allotment land, which we still own the majority of and live on. The house was built before Oklahoma became a state. And as you can see, the house looks almost identical. Last year we gathered my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins for a photo shoot. It's hard to see, even though my great grandparents made an appearance in some portraits. In this photo, nine of my family members either worked for the tribe currently or retired from it. Three of us, myself included, currently hold leadership positions as department directors. We attend cultural events regularly. In short, we take our identities very seriously and have dedicated our lives to maintaining the strength of our tribal nation. What I'm trying to say is this. The crazy messed up records don't change any of that. Even if they were correct, none of that would change. We are Pottawatomie because our ancestors survived the trail of death, and are resilient, despite many efforts to wipe them out. We are Pottawatomie because stories, traditions, houses, and even lands have been passed through the generations. We are Pottawatomie because of who we are as a family, and how each of us were raised. No yellow sliver will ever change that. When I say [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH],, or I am Pottawatomie, like I did at the start of this presentation, there is no qualifier. I do not say I am part Pottawatomie, because I'm not. My tribe as a sovereign nation has enrolled me as a citizen based on a constitutional decision. My family has accepted me as Pottawatomie citizen based on our heritage and history. And it's as simple as that. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] - I was enrolled last week as a full blood pirate. So I have my card and so if anybody wants to check my lineage, you can. It's not Halloween, and I'm trying to figure out what's up. So in terms of we talked about blood quantum, as you look at the picture. You don't need to be a math major to figure out where this goes. And just a little bit about the book is that, when I saw the cartoon by Marty Tubles, who was a cartoonist. I said, there's a book behind that cartoon. And then I went and found a publisher who said they would publish the book if we wrote it. And so before one word was written we had a book. And we did it in an anthology. We had 24 writers from across the world. If you think about doing an anthology, don't. Nobody ever meets a deadline. But nonetheless, we have a book. And this is called The Great Vanishing Act Blood Quantum and the Future of Native Nations. So this affects really hundreds of tribes. And it's important for tribes to have a conversation about who they are, who decides, how did we do this. And the Pottawatomie certainly have done that. And our tribe is sort of engaged at this point, they're avoiding the topic. So I knew Olivia's family for four generations, you know. And she's got the longevity genes in her family. So I expect she'll be around for a while. But she kind of knew where she was going when she was small. She wanted to leave, and then she would come back. So I expect you to be tribal chair one of these days, and make all your mistakes at Google and then come back home. But she was also Miss Oneida, I still think she's Miss Oneida. It was 2015, huh? 14. See, time flies. Yeah. I want to say Megan was Miss baby Oneida when she was three. Some of you know her. Yeah. Yeah. She reminded me of a Van Morrison song. Brown sugar so we used to call her that. She was walking around. But when she was about nine years old, I worked at the University of Colorado in Boulder. And I dragged her along to meetings and so. We'd be at some remote place on campus. Then I'd say, I'll race you back to the office. But I took a different path than she did, and she was always beating me back to the office. And I tried to lose her several times, and I couldn't do it. And she says, you know, when I come to school here, well I have to go on the tour. I says, you'll probably give the tour when you're before your role. So she know a lot about that campus. So I'm really proud of her work. She has a better Rolodex than I have at this point. And which is wonderful. When I first got into higher education I had a group interview with a number of white faculty members. And the first question, one of the first questions they asked me saying, why are you an Indian? And I sort of was shocked. Because nobody's ever asked me that question. And I quickly responded and said, well it came with the body, why? And I was going to say, why are you white? But nobody ever asks anybody that question or about that. But you know on reflection, it's really a great question. But it's not a interview question. It's one that you should ask yourself internally. Who am I? And your identity is a lifelong process. it's a process, not an event of who you are. But one that you share with your family and your close friends, your relatives. In talking about identity and who belongs and why. So you can't run from who you are or where you came from. No matter what you do or how far you go. And so Olivia, you know you always have a home. You may have a house in California, but you have a home in Wisconsin. And that you know where that is. And some of our people don't know that. My grandmother was born in 1876, the year of when the Sioux and the Cheyenne defeated Custer. And she's a Mohawk. But she was an orphan, and she was adopted by a doctor in Philadelphia. So she graduated from medical school in 1899. And she said, and it's another story, but she said, going to school and getting an education are two different things. And they don't always happen at the same time. So if you're Indian student here at Harvard, you know, you've got two majors. Whether it's history or policy or law. But the other major you have is being a native. And that you have to work on that whatever that means. It means you had go home, you have to engage in community. You just can't- one of the poorest markers for any identity markers, of course, is blood quantum. I mean, it just doesn't make any sense. So my grandmother worked, well she was doing volunteer work. I'll just do a quick family history. She was doing volunteer work at Carlisle. Met my grandfather, they fell in love, and they did something stupid like get married, but they did. And so in 1986 she moved to the Oneida reservation. So she had her, she had six kids in eight years, the youngest one was five-month-old twins. And my grandfather dies of appendicitis before she could get him to surgery. So she raised six children in World War I. The depression, the Korean War and World War II, as a single family country Indian doctor. And so I grew up thinking everybody had a grandmother who was a doctor. It's not true. It's not true. But anyway, you come to this road you can't pick your relatives, some of them you'd like to get rid of maybe. But you always can't pick your relatives. But she had a kitchen clinic open 24/7 for nearly 50 years. And she gave, I used to work the college Menominee and some girls were ready to have a baby. He says, I got forceps and I'm not afraid to use them. And you would never have that baby here in college because I wouldn't know what to do with them. But nonetheless, she gave birth to hundreds of Oneidas. And maybe, some of your relatives, I don't know. There were a lot of home births she did a lot of home visits when people did that in 20s and 30s and 40s. And so in 1947, on Thanksgiving Day, the tribe had a ceremony and they adopted her. They adopted into the Oneida tribe. But they never enrolled her. But she was part of the community. And she was grateful that they were, that she was included. But never included legally, or politically or any other way that you measure. And so I ended up being Mohawk Oneida, and my mother was Cree. But again, measuring in that way just doesn't make any sense. The Haudenosaunee , the Iroquois Confederacy had a tradition of adoption. And to keep our populations up and our people up, we adopted people from other tribes. Hurons or Matenicoks or anybody. And they became part of our nation. So well, if we capture somebody like a Huron, we'd bring them in and they could take my, if I was killed in battle, they would take my place. So I became a father and uncle in that role in that community. So you're on one year probation. And if you didn't pass probation, the women got to torture you. And if they did if you died within 24 hours, it's a bad job. So it's quite an incentive to get with the program. And so we kept our people together. So there's adoptions into tribes. Legally, ceremonially, and some of the adoption papers were buried and people can't figure out where they belong or who they belong to. So it's problematic. So saying you're an Indian and being an Indian are two different things. You got so many Cherokee princesses running around here we don't know how to count them. So the book was intended to educate and engage people. Because there was nothing out there in terms of writing. I mean we got authors around the world in Japan and in Maori, and people said that they knew either the government was awfully lucky or they intended to do away with us. And I think this is Senator Higgins from Delaware in 1895, said this. It seems to me one of the ways of getting rid of the Indian question is intermarriage and the gradual fading out of Indian blood. The whole quality and character of the aborigine disappears. They lose all of the traditions of the race. There's no longer any occasion to maintain any tribal relations. And there is then every reason why they shall go out and take their place as white people do everywhere. So that's 1895. Well in 1924, when my father was 12 years old he became a citizen. Now we were here 10,000 years before that. So I guess they figured you were going to stay. And so in 1934, 10 years later, the Indian Reorganization Act was passed. And somebody Indians called this the Indian New Deal, and some other Indians call it the Indian raw deal. And it was both. But we got a chance to restore tribal governments. But government lawyers wrote the constitutions in which they introduced the issue of blood quantum. We were able to buy some land back. So you got to remember, 1934, we're in the middle of the Depression. So we didn't have much. And so they were offering goodies. And they said, oh, by the way, we've got to have rolls and you've got to do measure of blood quantum. And also, one of the other things the footnotes was saying Robert's Rules of Order. And sometimes it just turns to Robert's rules of disorder. Because our traditional, way of making decisions was consensus. It wasn't majority. You don't need 50% plus one, because the other 49% tries to undermine that whole operation. And so consensus does take longer, but I think we need to find a traditional way that we can get closer to consensus. And that way, decision will stick. Now where was I? Where was I going with that? So the tribal leaders agreed to it, like in many places our guys did. But they married then the girl next door. And so they were full bloods. And so they said, maybe this is going to be a problem. But it's not going to be our problem. And here we are 2 and 1/2 generations later, that we're talking about, we know right now that in Oneida, 46 percent of our people are quarter bloods, another 14% are less than half. Indians marry out, including Oneidas, more than any other ethnic group. And it's not hard to see, if you look at demographics, that we don't come from families of 10 and 12 anymore. We have families of one and two. So our mortality rate is higher. It's going to be higher. So our population is going to curve like this. And the birth rates are going to be lower. And so we're going to come theoretically at the point where we're going to have zero. So we're all under, I don't know if you guys know, Ishi in two worlds. It's the last Indian of the founders of California tribe. He lived in the basement of a museum. You know it's just a horrible story. But I would hate to think that we are all going to become Ishi's at some point in time. So, we have an opportunity. We have an opportunity to reinvent ourselves. One of the things that is happening in Oneida at this point. We thought, well God, we see the trend. And we're in a box and we can't get out of. Because anytime you ask anybody who they are, I'm glad you don't tell them, I'm half this or quarter that or either or whatever. Is that we identify ourselves by our own blood quantum. So we've been institutionalized to think of ourselves in fractions. And so it's a difficult box to get out of. And we do we can't afford not to have that conversation. No tribe can't afford not to have. And the enemy, the biggest enemy we have right now, is not a government it's time. Time is their biggest enemy. And so we've got big decisions to make. And we'd like to get to consensus. What's happening at this point for our folks. We did a lot of articles in the newspaper, and we had brown bags and we had summits and we've been doing a lot to educate people with it. The thing is, all that came out this is the book. But it's really a complicated issue. So if we were, we've got 17,000 members right now. So if we went to one eighth, we'd have over 25,000. And then 20 years later we have the same conversation. Because we're going to go to the 16th. So it doesn't work. And so every time, exponentially, our population increases. But we can't afford the benefits. So we have three elephants in the room. One is benefits. The other ones are descendants, usually only get one elephant in the room, we got three. And the other ones are ancestors. And somebody else, like [INAUDIBLE] suggested to me that we have a whole herd of elephants. And so we have it. It's really kind of a Rubik's cube. If you take it and twist it, and you know the configurations you can you get into, well. But every one of these squares has an issue. And once you solve one issue, you create another one. And so it's not a simple answer. So people get the book, and they say well, we'll just read the last chapter. There's a silver bullet there, we're going to ride into the sunset with a solution. I said, not so. Not so. So it comes to be, are we members of a club that provides benefits to its members, or are we citizens of a nation. And if we're citizens of a nation, we have a responsibility. And what is that responsibility? To ourselves and and to each other. So we got to talk about responsibility. And we've got to talk about, does it mean well, if I know if I can count to 10 in my language, or do I have to know the history? Am I connected to the community? There's kinships. I'm sure in your family you find 300 members. Yeah but I mean, we're all interconnected in some way. So we have to figure out how- So our grandmothers in a sense, are saying, of course you know grandmothers. You know they love their children. They love their grandchildren, their great grandchildren. So they want them to be part of the nation. Because they have the fruits of being a member, and they've got per capita, and they get health, and they get other kind of goodies I guess you would call them, that are benefits of the nation. And they want them enrolled. But that's in their heart. In their head, they know blood quantum doesn't work all the time. And so we're sort of stuck in a paralysis right now, of trying to make a decision. And I'm trying to figure out how do you put those two folks together next to each other, not opposing each other. But to have a conversation saying how can we have it? Can we have it both ways? And maybe not. If you talk to Warren Lions he'd go right straight back to the traditional way. Matrilineal, and if you're not born here, you're not part of your mother's line, you're not a member. The Pottawatomie's really came up with a unique kind of solution for them. And as a sovereign nation, they have every right to do that. So they get to decide. And so every tribe gets to decide. And so that's really going to be the act of self-government. Of who we are, and where we come from. So we have to live in the past, the present, and the future at the same time. We need to look forward and look back at the same time. Move forward look back and that's where we get a perspective. Abraham Lincoln said, a house divided against itself cannot stand. So not doing anything is going to be a problem. Faulkner said, the past is never dead, it's not even past. So I think we need to think about these issues. Now, I wrote a speech before I came, I made all kinds of notes, and I have three speeches. And I haven't done any of them. So let me let me see if I can catch up and see if there's anything else they need to- is my 15 minutes up? It is, huh? About two minutes left? Good. I was afraid I didn't have enough material. Well we have to find our is finding our collective better self. And indigenous people around the world are at risk. I mean it's just not us. There's 52 tribes, I think, in Peru. And they're you can go back 200 years to what happened here, is happening to them. For resources, there is genocide. And so the problem is what matters here? And sovereignty matters. If we're tribal nations, sovereignty matters. Institutions matter. You know, we have elected leaders, we have tribal councils, we have schools, we have health centers, we have rec centers, we have our institutions. And they matter. They matter a lot. Culture matters. So are our language, our creation stories, our language are all the things that entail of who we are as a cultural people. Count. They matter. And leadership matters. And so everyone counts. And everybody is a leader. It's just not something some people back home say, well Hill's got a solution up his sleeve, he just ain't told us yet. Well, I wish I did. And so I think I'm just going to stop here and collect my stuff and sit down. But I appreciate your attention and thank you for showing up. I really, you know, there is a buzz in Indian country about blood quantum. You know and so it may be the best, the most important decisions that Indians will make this century. Because really, our survival depends on it. So, thank you. - Thank you to all three of our panelists. And I think Norbert you're, that question, I think you're absolutely right. I think that is a tremendously important question for our time. I'm going to highlight just a few things and then ask one question of the 15 that I have here. So we can maximize our time for you to ask questions. But a couple of points that were made by the various presenters that I wanted to highlight. And others that were just sort of obliquely referred to that I want to actually highlight in particular. And that is the premium attached to belonging. I'm not going to use the loaded words, or is it a member or you are a citizen. But the concept of belonging. There is a premium attached to the answer to that question in the last several decades. That is bears on this conversation, because it's not just native people that are interested in the answer to that question. There's a whole lot of eyes looking from the outside and the inside. Courts are looking, politicians are looking, your neighbors are looking. Everyone wants to see how does that question get answered, because there's a lot riding on that question. Whether or not a community gets to do certain things. Whether or not a child gets covered by the Indian Child Welfare Act. Whether benefits and other kinds of things that are going to flow to certain members or to an entire community. And then there's abstract concepts that are in play there. The folks will talk about what are the systems, the processes happening within the communities that are evolving to help redress that question? And if things don't strike outsiders as fair, as if it's their business, but in a way it is their business. Because all of this is happening within the context, of course, of the nation state. And so this whole phenomena that all three of our panelists spoke about, the tribes sovereignty operating within the larger matrix of a nation state. These questions are not being asked and answered in a vacuum. They're not being asked and answered in the abstract. There are a lot of eyes that are paying attention. The courts are intensely interested of this, because they regularly get appeals from folks who have been disenrolled. Who have been declared not members, or not citizens. And so they're looking anywhere they can for an audience. To say whether it's Congress, like the freedmen of the Cherokee Nation found an audience with Congress that held lots of appropriations over the heads of the Cherokee Nation until there was a change there. And the courts, if you haven't read their opinions, are very sympathetic. Not because I think they like Indians, because I think that they understand that there's a premium on the part of the nation to keep those numbers down. In other words, everything that our panelists talked about here, represents a trajectory about the inevitable decline and elimination of native peoples. And sustaining sovereignty and sustaining memberships, sustaining citizenship is sort of a reversal of that. It's a contestation of that trajectory. And so there are forces that push back on that. So I just wanted to make that note in terms of the context in which these decisions, as difficult as they are, are even rendered more difficult because of the political and legal, and even moral context in which those questions are being asked. So a question. One question to each of you. We've used words, the vocabulary that goes along with these very fraught issues float amongst a number of terms. Citizens, members, even indigenous. What does that mean? And it's very difficult to wrap your heads around that. And some of you may know, the folks who gave us the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ultimately elected not to have the definition of indigenous in that formative document. Because of these challenges that we face. So let me ask the panelists what do those terms mean to you? In the broader context and matrix of belonging, what do those terms mean to you, if anything? - Well you know, first of all, we're governments. Were nations. And so we get to decide. And one of the problems that we just got the BIA off our backs. So we get to make decisions and we don't have to wait for their approval any longer. But that took a long time to make our constitutional change, because we became wards of the government thanks to the irate government. So if we're a sovereign nations, we should be sovereign. We should be able to have our own self-government. If we say we're a tribe, then we have members. But you know the language that I like to use, is that I'm a citizen of the United Nations. So instead of using the word tribe, and we're so used to it, we get really sloppy in our language. We have to see ourselves as a nation national citizens of the particular group that we belong to. And we have to respect that. - I would agree. Because we have so many tribal members, and because the ascendancy is a sort of loaded term amongst different Native American tribes, whether or not that is something that they agree with. You know, sometimes people's view this vision of sense of Pottawatomie nation to adopt US citizenship in 1861 an act of assimilation. But I like the term citizen, because in 1861 what my nation did was decide how they wanted to be seen. They decided that they wanted to be citizens, that was their way, it was an act of sovereignty. They had tried hiding, they had tried, you know, resisting removal. They had tried being removed and you know living on the new land, none of that worked. So they made the decision to become citizens of the United States. But at the same time they remained as citizens of the Pottawatomie nation. So for me, that perfectly encapsulates what a tribe is as a citizen of a nation. - Yeah I would say, looking at members versus citizen, like the active kind of asking something of our members, of our citizens. That one, we're running out of time. We don't have the resources. Our languages are dying. We have finite resources and efforts that we don't really have the luxury to not learn the language. To not carry on the culture. If we don't pass on the torch in our generation, there won't be a torch to have for the next generation. I think that comes across in I think everyone's embracal of the word citizen. But I think parts of that. There's also a sacrifice to that. I think we use Member almost because tribes are like a family. So it's a family member. We don't necessarily require anything of your aunt or your uncle. We don't say you have decided to contract and learn the language and come to all my birthday recitals. Or you know, all of my different events. I would love it if you did, and I kind of expect you to, but we don't make that a hard requiral. But I think that was a luxury of the past. I think we're moving into a place where we can't just hope that everyone will be, you know, great upstanding members. We need to institutionalize citizenship and ask for something, as well, if we are going to survive into the next generation and pass that torch on to the next seven generations of native youth. And I think when it comes to indigenous, I didn't know that they didn't choose to make it official definition. I feel like indigenous is a word like love or something that's very abstract. But it shows more about what we have, and what we think about that, than the unique ramifications of what we try to define it. I think you can't define love. You can't define a word like that. I think it's helpful in the indigenous community to have multiple different definitions. So that we can talk about the different statuses of citizenship. So there's elements of citizenship that's very legal. There's elements that are very emotional and spiritual and personal of what it feels like to be native. And then I think this indigenous term is a really safe word and a safe place for indigenous people from all, globally, to live in and to use as a benchmark for us all to kind of grapple with our understandings of what it means to be indigenous to us. - So I just wanted to add that, if we have some foreign nationals bid at us, we don't say we have some Russian members or Canadian members. We say they're citizens of their nation. And so that's what it is. So I like to use the word citizen both as a noun and a verb. You know, to be active. - OK I think we have about 15 minutes for your questions, and the microphone is here. So if you could please introduce yourself, tell us a little bit where you're from, and then direct, if you want to direct it to the whole panel, or to one person in particular. - Sure thank you for being here. This has been awesome. My name is Merritt Bear and my family is Ogallala Lakota from Pine Ridge. I want to ask the elephant in the room question, which is playing Indian. The Cherokee grandmothers, we can set aside Elizabeth Warren for the time being. But just the general kind of ancestry.com. My DNA results say that I am 4% Indian. And the kind of desire to partake in the sexiness and wear Pocahontas costumes, while not actually grappling with or not being claimed by any tribe. - Thank you. I recently went to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. They have a new exhibit that's amazingly modern. And it's called Americans, I believe. But one of the questions it asked was, why are Native Americans everywhere and yet nowhere? Why, you know, is there a Native American on the Land O' lakes butter? Why are these symbols everywhere? Why are these stories everywhere? And yet why are issues not? Why are we as real people not, in our discussions of our current struggles. Why are those not in the forefront? And I think whenever I ground myself in questions like this, I like to go more general. Why is this, what was the structure that was in place that made the instances that we see in our everyday lives. How did those happen? So that's kind of where I ground myself when it comes to those like individual moments. - You know, some people come to us and say, they want to take DNA to figure out what tribe they belong to. Well that's not possible. You can tell who your parents are and that sort of thing, but you can't tell what tribe. There's just no test to do that. I had a, we were doing scholarships and we had a Cherokee mother call me and she said, did I tell you about that? Did I say that? And she was arguing. You know, mothers just made me crazy, because the get real, really have the student talk to you, but the mom called. She says, I want you to know, my son is 13th 256 degree Cherokee. And she's just chewing me out. And I said, ma'am, if he cuts himself shaving, how much blood is left? And I held the phone way out here. And she was still, you could hear her screaming in the next room. But yet, at the same time, the young man was a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. So it wasn't my role to decide whether he was eligible enough, but we have people in a variety of places. I think we have some Oneida's someplace that can't find Wisconsin on the map. But they want to enjoy the benefits of it. So we've got to figure how we connect community as a verb to those folks. - I think going back to citizenship, too, like if you want to be Oneida, and you want to come to Oneida, live in Oneida, learn the language. Take on the practices, do all of the work, yeah, call yourself Oneida if you're going to do all those things. - So this has been a challenge for us. When we open up the rolls, you have a lot of members who may or may not have a connection with the tribe in any way. Or, may not have a way to be connected. I always try to kind of remind myself that the reason that a lot of Pottawatomie or other tribal citizens are removed from their culture or their heritage is not the fault of the person living today. It's a fault of policies, of boarding schools, of removals, things like that. Adoption, absolutely. Now today, they can do things to connect with their tribe. But they weren't born, you know, guilty of that sin. So we do have a lot of tribal members. And one thing that we've done, in our 2007 constitutional reform, you might be sensing a pattern here, our tribe likes to reform its constitution. In 2007, we reformed our constitution to have tribal legislative districts. So each district has a representative, a legislator who represents the constituents of that area. So it doesn't matter if you live in California, you have a representative on the Pottawatomie nation who represents you. Who speaks on behalf of their constituents at the quarterly meetings, and holds cultural events and educational events in that area. They get some money from our tribe, from our tribal headquarters, to do that. So that's one way we've tried to address that. That doesn't mean that there aren't Pottawatomie who are kind of in it for the benefits. But we've tried to put into place ways for them to become connected as tribal citizens. - Thank you. - Hi. Jay Gleason. I'm not a Native American. But since the subject has come up, Elizabeth Warren is up for re-election this year. So this question is going to keep coming up. As you said, saying you're an Indian is not the same thing as being an Indian. So we know what's been said, but we're still not clear on how you can be that, or how you feel about someone that says that they can be that. Because you've been struggling with this definition yourself. And if you can't pin it down, then it's going to continue to entertain these doubts about people that say these things. And you haven't also said how you "be", quote, unquote, an Indian. That also seems to be a little bit amorphous. And finally, I would say that you're not only struggling with questions in citizenship, but the larger society is. We have a lot of what is called illegal aliens from one perspective, or undocumented immigrants from another. And I don't know whether you're going to have the same problems or not. But citizenship nestled within citizenship is also an open question for the whole society, and maybe it is for you or more narrow focus too. I don't know, but I would be interested in both of those kinds of subjects. - Well in 1492, if we had better immigration laws, we wouldn't have this problem. So everybody, they got here, they forget how they got here. Working in college universities, and I'm sure this happens to Shelly and others that, well, how many natives are enrolled? And it's self-identification. They say they're Indians, and they might have a wonderful Cherokee princess story in their family. Or some other kind. And maybe there is some heritage. But unless they can identify the specific tribe they belong to. Now of course, the admissions form can't put down 500 different tribes. I don't you, know, I've been doing this all my life and I don't know all the tribes, but. Excuse me, all the nations. And to determine. But there's got to be a way to connect to the community. How do you connect to the communities? I mean we, some of you may remember Warren Churchill. And if he can't name or relative dead or alive, his citizenship is certainly suspect. So you got Heather Locklear running around out there. She's a Lumbee, you know, but she looks like Snow White. And so we have every gradation, so we all look like we stepped off the nickel. We've got to come to grips with what is really being part of our community. It's Not passing the, what's the litmus test? I don't think there is one, because you can pass the test and put out your hand for the check. So we've got to figure out how to engage our people in an authentic way. - Yes - Hi there. My name is Lover Trussin. I'm tribal counseling for the Nipmuc nation. And for our band, for our nation, we used descend-ency. With that is community. So I was wondering if descend-ency was an option for any of your nations, and how do you define community? That's one of the definitions for membership. So I was wondering if that's the definition, how would you define that? - So, the citizen Pottawatomie nation does use descend-ency as its enrollment criterion. So as long as our roll of record is the 1937 roll, and as long as you can prove an unbroken descend-ency from that roll, then you are considered a member of the citizen, or a citizen of the citizen Pottawatomie nation. The definition of community is a lot harder. Because I do think as other panelists have said, that requires an action. That requires active participation. And at least for the citizen Pottawatomie nation, that's something that people come to at different points in their lives. There are people who are in their 50s who are now starting to connect to their community. And so we try to have resources available for them, and try to refrain from judging them. But that's the point of their lives where they're wanting to connect to their community. Whereas, we have some who are born into it. But I think community, for me, is defined by action. - So I, for college students, I look for return on investment. So if you accept that benefit, the check for financial aid or scholarship, you have a responsibility back to that party in some fashion. So community means engagement. I mean, we have people living in California that haven't been home in three generations. And I don't see them part of the community. They may be technically and legally enrolled, but at the same time- My first job as a native is to protect the homeland. How do I make the community better? Now if there's benefits that accrue to that, that's fine. But the benefits don't come first. It's how do I make the nation better? And that's my responsibility as a citizen. And I suppose identity really is on a continuum. We've got from can they count to ten, or one little, two little, three Little Indians. Or you got somebody, a sundance chief that practices who we are. I mean, so everybody's on the continuum someplace. But it's a lifelong process, the identity. And so you've got to, as a tribe, as a nation, you have to figure out how you get your citizens to engage. So it's not about bingo. - If I can step out of my role of moderator just for a second to join in that question, cause it's a very good question. Shelly Mitchell, when she introduced me, I'm from the United home nation in Louisiana. We're not federally recognized, but there's a whole other layer of discussion there.There's over 100 tribes that share that status, including many here in New England. Who through luck of, or accident of history, and so forth. But we still have those same challenges in terms of what is the community, and how do we assess belonging? So here I am, a New Englander, having moved up back up here in '86. But as Norbert said, my understanding of community. There's not a day that I don't wake up and I think-- besides what I'm going to have for breakfast that morning-- is how is my community doing? What is my community doing? And what can I do to help my community? So I'm still, there is this sort of elastic understanding of what my community means. I think for those of us who practice our indigeneity in exile. In other words, we're not in our homelands, but the homelands are still here. And that's very real for us. I guess that would be the conversation I would want to have with someone. Is, is that homeland residing within you in a very real way? And is there a community that you can go back to, and knows who you are understands you? And that sense of community, I think, is something around which we have to grasp with because of our mobile society. I think we have time for maybe one more question. - I have probably too much to say, but I'm not a non native, I've been a native rights supporter for over 35 years. And I'm part of the local native community. Every couple of years I have to remind everybody that I'm not native. And I've been accused of trying to pass for non-native. I may be be only person that's ever happened to. But I think that there's a parallel- well what is with natives, I think, is about self-determination. And that's why I call myself a supporter. That's my role. But I myself, am a Jewish atheist. And 100%, so I know I'm not part native. But I've had people look at me and say, you look native. And finally, it occurred to me a few years ago, that I'm part Morsh and I'm part Kazak. And you can see it looking at me. And in fact, by the conventional definitions, I'm not white. And I went through a identity crisis, and realized I had grown up being considered white, I consider myself white, I have white privilege. I'm white. It seems pretty obvious when I think it through. Anyway, I am interested in the whole thing of dividing and conquering, starting with things like assuming that tribes are of course patrilineal. And setting up tribal councils that are of men and so forth. - For, go on, go on. - I was just going to jump in really quickly. So I work in education within my tribe. And so do a lot of sessions on identity with college students or high school and middle school students. And one exercise that we often do with Native American students, not just Pottawatomie, but others in Oklahoma. We have a lot of different tribes. We ask students to describe what a Native American person looks like. And what they wear, and how they wear their hair. And then inevitably, as they describe that, when we go around the room and look at all the natives in the room, nobody looks like that. And there isn't one definition for how a Native American person looks. And because, as we talked about today, it is a citizenship, there's no one way that an American citizen looks. There's no one way that a Pottawatomie citizen looks. So there's a really wide variation there. There's no one way of looking native. It's something that I think a lot of natives even struggle with. - I was just going to say, thank you for being an ally. Sometimes we don't do that. We expect a lot from our allies, but we never say thank you. But also, I've talked to several Indian students for years, and if an ally hit them upside the head, they wouldn't recognize it. So we have to teach our people how to recognize allies. They're not always from your same family, same clan, same tribe. And sometimes those guys are dream killers. And sometimes some people will help. And so we have to recognize this. So we've got to figure what the partnerships are. But what I'm worried about is that we may terminate ourselves with our own hand. So we may conquer and divide ourselves. We don't need any help from Donald Trump or anybody else. But also, there's a question about giving back. And Olivia lives in California. But I think she thinks of ways to figure out how to get back to the homeboys. I did that. If some people live in Denver but they belong to Ogallala or Cherokee, they can tutor Indian kids in Denver. And that's giving back to the community. But you just can't lose the thread that gives you to belong. So you can belong to an urban committee or groups like yourselves, and that's always appreciated. So there's a way to get your arms around it, but you have to be clever you have to be willing to do it. - Norb, you as a role model for Oneidas, you are the epitome of someone who left, got amazing experience, got amazing skills, came back to the tribe. You've just retired and now are back in Oneida. I think that's the dream. That's what we hope of our native youth. That they go off and they do great amazing things, learn amazing things, and then take those learnings back to our tribes and our homelands. - So I didn't know how much Indian I was until I moved off the reservation. Because I'd have to defend it, you know at home, just to get to be one of the guys. So you have to defend it when you're there and say, you know. - Kind of the point on being Indian in exile. I think when you are in the place, the place kind of gives you the reason. You are, when I'm Oneida in Oneida, it's a lot easier to question. When I'm outside of Oneida, that looks a lot different. And I think it forces you into citizenship because you have to be active. And you can't rely on the place to give you your identity. - And we'll turn it over to Megan. - Hi everybody, I'm Megan Hill. Although you may have heard a nickname if you were paying attention, due to my father's love of Van Morrison. I really just want to thank you all for being here and coming together and joining us to have a really profound and important conversation about what it means to be a citizen of a native nation. And what it means to be an indigenous person in this world today. So my hope is that we left you with many, many more questions than answers. And that you really think more deeply about this. And help us all move forward collectively. So I would like to thank the Radcliffe Institute, Shawn and Becky, I would like to thank Hunap and the Harvard Project. And most importantly, I would love to thank our panel here today. Bruce Duthu, Olivia Hoeft, Tesia Zientek and Norbert Hill, who's also my father. So join us for a reception and thank you all for being here.

Election results

Candidate Party Votes[1] Percent
Jonathan Jennings Jacksonian Republican 13,351 69.3%
Davis Floyd Democratic-Republican 5,971 30.6%

Jennings had previously served as delegate for Indiana Territory in the 11th through 14th Congresses. Jennings took his seat December 2[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ View Election
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 13, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) footnote 13
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