What percentage Indian do you have to be in order to be a member of a Tribe or Indian Nation?
~Submitted by Sonny S.
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)
- Kialegee Tribal Town – Enrollment in the tribe requires an individual to be full-blood Native American: half to full-blood Muscogee Creek and up to one-half Indian of any other tribe. Documentation for enrollment follows matrilineal descent. Any descendant of a female Kialegee tribal member is automatically eligible for tribal membership.
- Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
- Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Mississippi
- St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
- White Mountain Apache Tribe, Arizona
- Yomba Shoshone Tribe, Utah
25 Percent / One-Fourth Blood Quantum (One Grandparent)
- Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians
- Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
- Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Washington
- Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona
- Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, Montana
- Havapai-Prescott Tribe, Arizona
- Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma
- Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma
- Navajo Nation, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico
- Oneida Tribe of Indians, Wisconsin
- Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Arizona
- Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Kansas
- Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma
- Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
- St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, New York, Canada
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, North and South Dakota
- United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Oklahoma
- Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe, California
12.5 Percent / One-Eighth Blood Quantum (One Great-Grandparent)
- Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
- Comanche Nation, Oklahoma
- Delaware Nation, Oklahoma
- Karuk Tribe of California
- Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation, Washington
- Northwestern Band of Shoshoni Nation(Washakie), Utah
- Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma
- Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
- Ponca Nation, Oklahoma
- Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma
- Squaxin Island Tribe of the Squaxin Island Reservation, Washington – Enrollment must be applied for within one year of birth.
- Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Washington
- Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota (Arikara, Mandan, Hidatsa)
- Upper Skagit Indian Tribe of Washington
- Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Wichita, Keechi, Waco and Tawakonie)
6.25 Percent / One-Sixteenth Blood Quantum (One Great-Great-Grandparent)
- Caddo Nation
- Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Reservation, Oregon
- Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon
- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, North Carolina
- Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
- Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma
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.
- Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town
- Cherokee Nation
- Chickasaw Nation
- Choctaw Nation
- Citizen Potawatomi Nation
- Delaware Tribe of Indians
- Eastern Shawnee Tribe
- Kaw Nation
- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut
- Miami Tribe of Oklahoma
- Modoc Tribe
- Muscogee Creek Nation
- Osage Nation
- Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma
- Peoria Tribe of Indians
- Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma
- Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan
- Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
- Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma
- Shawnee Tribe
- Thlopthlocco Tribal Town
- Tonkawa Tribe
- Wyandotte Nation
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.