Question:

What percentage Indian do you have to be in order to be a member of a Tribe or Indian Nation?

~Submitted by Sonny S.

Answer:

Every tribe has its own membership criteria; some go on blood quantum, others on descent, but whatever the criteria for “percentage Indian” it is the tribe’s enrollment office that has final say on whether a person may be a member. Anyone can claim Indian heritage, but only the tribe can grant official membership.

Tribal Nations are the only recognized arbiter of belonging to or being a member of a tribe. No other agency or arm of any government has that responsibility, other than the particular tribe to which a person claims to belong.

Here is a list of some tribes that claim blood quantum / percentage Indian requirements:

 

50 Percent / One-Half Blood Quantum (One Parent)

25 Percent / One-Fourth Blood Quantum (One Grandparent)

12.5 Percent / One-Eighth Blood Quantum (One Great-Grandparent)

6.25 Percent / One-Sixteenth Blood Quantum (One Great-Great-Grandparent)

Lineal Descent

Lineal Descent means you are descended from a blood relative who is listed on the original government Roll or Rolls taken when that tribe moved onto their reservation or incorporated or reorganized as a tribe in modern times.

Tribes determining membership by both blood quantum and lineal descent.

These tribes require both a specified blood quantum and lineal descent from an individual on a designated tribal roll.

  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation – Since 1993, have required 1/4 descent from any federally recognized Native American tribe, plus being the biological child or grandchild of an already-enrolled member.
  • Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians - At least 1/4 North American Indian ancestry and direct descent from an individual listed on the Durant Roll (1907-1910) or the Annuity Rolls of Ottawa and Chippewa of Michigan, from 1836 to 1871, and referenced by the 1850 through 1920 censuses as residing within the boundaries of the reservation.  The tribe makes special allowances to encourage the awarding of citizenship to Native Americans who were adopted out as children to non-native families.
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians - Persons are eligible if 1/4 Native American, with at least 1/8 from Grand River Ottawa or Michigan Ottawa; and direct descent from a Native American of Manistee, Mason, Wexford or Lake Counties in the State of Michigan, who was listed on the schedule of Grand River Ottawa in the "Durant Roll of 1908;" or is a lineal descendant of individuals listed on the "1870 Annuity Payrolls of Chippewas and Ottawas of Michigan," listed under certain Ottawa chiefs; and is not enrolled in another tribe.
  • Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska - 1/8 Blood Quantum, or all persons of Indian blood whose names appear on the official annuity roll of the tribe as of November 23, 1935, and all children born to any member of the Sac and Fox Tribe who is a resident of the Sac and Fox, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, or Iowa Reservations in Kansas and Nebraska at the time of the birth of said children, provided that any such member married to a non-member chooses to enroll such children in the tribe.