NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on blood quantum rules for tribal membership

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on blood quantum rules for tribal membership

Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: December 22nd, 2020

Free virtual event part of Native American Heritage Month celebration

Nov. 17, 2020

(About the Lecturer) (Flyer)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a free online lecture this Thursday on blood quantum rules for tribal membership as part of its series in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.

The presentation, The Paradigm of Tribal Membership Based on Blood Quantum Should Be Changed to a Paradigm of Tribal Citizenship Based on Tribal Nationhood, will be led by Chippewa Cree Tribal Nation citizen Alan Parker, the former director of the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute at The Evergreen State College.

The U.S. Congress imposed a criterion based on “degree of blood” or blood quantum to determine who would be eligible for membership in a tribe in the General Allotment Act of 1887, Parker wrote. Although the goal of Congress was to “civilize” the Indian by giving them the chance to learn how to be farmers, the result of allotment was that more than 160 million acres of Indian land was lost to non-Indian homesteaders and railroad companies.

By 1937, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) proposed that the criteria for membership in the tribe should be based on degree of tribal blood and residency on the reservation.

“Ninety years after the IRA model tribal constitution with its 1/4 degree blood quantum and ‘residents-only’ rule was imposed upon Indians in the US, we have witnessed four generations of inter-tribal marriages and marriages between Indians and non-Indians,” Parker wrote. For more information on this topic, see American Indian Identity, chapter nine, published by Praeger Press in 2016.

The talk, scheduled at noon on Thursday, Nov. 19, will be live streamed on SHI’s YouTube channel ( The series, which focuses on citizens and shareholders in Alaska Native corporations and tribes, is also offered as part of a one-credit course through the University of Alaska Southeast.

The talks are offered through the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) program and funded by the Alaska Native Education Program. 

About the Lecturer

Alan Parker served as a member of the faculty at Evergreen State College from 1997 until retiring in 2014. While at Evergreen he created a program of Advanced Studies in Tribal Governance for tribal students enrolled in the Master’s in Public Administration. Tribal graduates of this MPA program serve as professionals in tribal governments across the Northwest as well as state and federal agencies. Prior to joining the Evergreen faculty, Alan served as staff director and chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. During his service in the Senate, he guided the committee in securing passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Tribal Self-Governance Act, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and numerous tribal land claims and water rights claims settlement acts.

Alan is a Citizen of the Chippewa Cree Tribal Nation and graduated from UCLA law school with a Juris Doctor in 1972. He co-authored with Se-ah-dom Edmo and Jessie Young an academic compendium entitled American Indian Identity Citizenship, Membership and Blood, which was published by Praeger Press in 2016. He plans to rely upon Chapters 9, entitled “Replace the Paradigm of Tribal Membership with the Paradigm of Tribal Citizenship,” for his presentation.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,


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