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Blackfeet “Open” Enrollment Issue – Where do you stand?

Did you remember to tune in on Monday to catch the discussion regarding a possible change in enrollment for the Blackfeet Tribe? It was a very informative discussion and I learned a lot about the issue. Technically, we’re not talkig “Open” Enrollment, just a change in the enrollment requirements.

I grew up on the Blackfeet reservation and have nieces and nephews who would be in the “descendant” category, so I have some interest. Basically, it came down to a basic difference in philosophy about who should be enrolled. It got me wondering how this issue would relate to “citizenship” in other nations. The Blackfeet Nation is just that, a nation, so why would the citizenship work any differently.

Here’s where that train of thought took me… If I, an American citizen, move to Canada, marry a Canadian citizen, and have children, my children are automatically Canadian citizens. It doesn’t work that way with the Blackfeet Nation, however, if I move to the reservation, marry a tribal member and have children, my children “may” be members of the tribe, depending upon the blood quantum of their father. Does that make sense? Perhaps tribal membership should be defined as citizenship? Tell us what you think.  Is there a good reason to exclude children born of at least one Blackfeet parent? What are the reasons on either side?

Do you know the reasoning behind starting the blood quantum requirement in 1962? What are the benefits of Tribal enrollment? Are there drawbacks when allowing descendants to enroll? What are they? We’d love to hear what you think!

I’m not sure if there is a website for those who oppose the change in enrollment or not, but I did find a site called Blackfeet Forever in support of the change.

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