What is an Indian? A Legal Definition, Part 2

Yesterday I was talking about the complex legal debates and precedents that define what it is to be Indian, as well as the confusion this causes Native American people when it comes to recognition, eligibility, and answering the question “Are you Indian?”

Continuing on with other legal definitions of what it is to be Indian:

Indian Education Act definition:  “The Indian Education Act of 1972 employs a relatively broad definition of ‘Indian.’ It includes all the following: “people of one-eighth blood ancestry and higher who are members of Indian tribes and groups, residents of state reservations, urban Indians, Indians from ‘terminated’ tribes, and self-identified Indians.” (Jack Utter in the book “American Indians–Answers to Today’s Questions,” at page 28.)

Indian Arts & Crafts Act definition:  For the purposes of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, “Indian” is defined by Congress as “any individual who is a member of an Indian tribe, or . . . is certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian tribe. There is no blood quantum requirement. A ‘tribe’ is also defined to include those tribes and Alaska Native villages recognized by the federal government, those formerly recognized, and tribes or groups recognized by a state government when there is no federal recognition.”  (Utter at page 28)

Lower 48 & Alaska Tribes definition:  As indicated above, federal definitions have included Alaska Natives under the broad heading of “Indians” when discussing BIA and other agencies and other agency programs affecting Indians. Therefore, “Indians” is sometimes employed as a generic term for all Native peoples of the continental United States. At other times, the term refers only to American Indians in the 48 states, while “Alaska Natives” is used to distinguish the Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut people of Alaska.  

United Nations definition:  In the “Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” the United Nations uses the word indigenous peoples when referring to “Indians.” Legal definition? It is somewhat unilateral to accept the federal definition of what an Indian is.  (2006 Report by the Human Rights Council to the U.N. General Assembly, at page 58)

American Indian law definition: “To avoid the great confusion associated with the question of who is an Indian, Felix S. Cohen (1982) — the renowned chronicler of American Indian Law — suggests that a practical and basic legal definition of an Indian would be one which sets two essential qualifications:  (a) some of the individual’s ancestors lived in what is now the United States before the first Europeans arrived, and (b) the individual is recognized as an Indian by his or her tribe or community.” (Utter at pages 28-29)

And on and on it goes…

I think what is clearly called for is for a bi-lateral effort by the U.S. and tribes themselves to find a less confusing definition of  “What is an Indian?” Tribes have yet to agree on a unified definition of Indian and perhaps there will never be such an agreement because each separate tribe will always have their own membership according to their own respective criterion for membership.

And now you know the rez of the story. . .

Facebook Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Humanitarian and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

6 Comments

  1. Posted September 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Valuable info. Lucκу me I found your ωеbѕіte unіntеntionаlly, аnd I аm shoсked why
    this cοincidence didn’t came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

  2. Posted October 9, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    “We need independence in order to boceme great.”The United States of America continues to be the most prosperous of all nations on the earth, with a production output that floors all others, even despite the horrendous economic travesty that President Obama is perpetrating on us (though he may yet succeed). It is incredibly naive to compare the prosperity of the citizens of the USA to the likes of China, Brazil, Egypt, and the Arab Nations, which have significant portions of their populations living in almost medieval conditions such an assertion is positively surreal. The poorest of Americans and First Americans live as kings compared to many in those countries. Even compared to Japan and Israel, who in this country would truly want to trade his standard of living for theirs?To boceme great the First Nations need to exercise the independence and freedom they already have, stop offering themselves up into slavery by bowing down at the altars of socialism and kissing the feet of the high priests of entitlement Obama, Kennedy, et al selling their once free souls into slavery.The First Nations were endowed by the Creator with the rights of Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Constitution of the United States of America guarantees those rights to its citizens, even its First Citizens. But they have to exercise those rights to enjoy them. Unfortunately too many of them already have relinquished their spirits into slavery.Awake! Rise up from the dust! Stand as Men! Cast off the shackles of sin and dependence! Your greatness lies within you as children of the Creator Himself. If you think your greatness lies with Obama, then you are destined to remain in slavery. But that is not your destiny. You will yet blossom as a rose and boceme a scourge to tyrants and petty tyrants who seek to sap away your liberty with the soma of socialism and godlessness.

  3. Posted November 7, 2012 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    Excellent stories, keep them coming 🙂 This is the first
    time i have commented, b¨´t i have been lurking for a whilst.

  4. Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on…

  5. Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it.
    I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff you post…

  6. Posted September 25, 2014 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful blog! Ifound it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Many thanks

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

Please be considerate of other visitors. Inappropriate language will be deleted. You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

*