Blood Quantum as a Determinant of Indian Identity Persuasive Essay

Blood Quantum as a Determinant of Indian Identity
An argument that blood quantum should not be used to determine Indian identity.
# 153915 | 0 words | 0 sources | 2013 | US

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From the Paper:

"What determines being Indian? That is one of the most challenging and thorny issues facing Native Americans. The answer to this question is deeply complicated and rooted in a history underscored by unwelcomed intervention into the lives of Native North American people.Blood quantum is a major discussion point within the context of that question. In the past, blood quantum policies were imposed on Native American communities in a less than responsible manner.Today, Native American use of blood quantum standards has been lamented as everything from necessary to racist, but perhaps the best way to describe the situation is tragic. In the future, blood quantum policies are self-destructive.For these reasons, which will be discussed in detail, this essay will argue blood quantum should not be used as a determinant of Indian identity.
"Blood quantum, as defined by J. KehaulaniKauanui in her insightful book, Hawaiian Blood, is "a fractionalizing measurement - a calculation of "distance" in relation to some supposed purity to mark one's general proximity to a "full-blood" forebear (4/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64...)" under the pretense, "blood quantum logic resumes that one's "blood amount" correlates to one's cultural orientation and identity" (2). Kauanui also calls to attention that the idea of blood quantum did not originate in the Americas by Native Americans, rather, it was a Euro-American concept.
"Yet, just how meaningful was blood quantum to the arriving Euro-Americans? According toRaymond Fogelson,a well-known American Indian anthropologist, blood quantum was very important."Blood was understood as more than a metaphor for descent; it was believed to be intrinsically important in human generation and regeneration. Female blood was thought to be directly deposited in the fetus, while the male blood was distilled in the testes into semen or seed," writes Fogelson (45). Quite simply, blood quantum was not just metaphorical, it was a physical part of the reproductive cycle. Fogelson contends that blood science could even embody materially genetic or racial differences (45). Today, science has proven this folk procreative method false, but Indian tribes still use its premise to determine Indian identity even after it was forced upon them by Euro-American culture.These ideas, which will be elaborated upon shortly, strongly imply blood quantum should not still be used as a determinant of Indian identity."

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Blood Quantum as a Determinant of Indian Identity (2014, June 16) Retrieved March 29, 2023, from

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"Blood Quantum as a Determinant of Indian Identity" 16 June 2014. Web. 29 March. 2023. <>