The Classification Of Native Americans

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The classification of Native Americans by the United States government has long produced tension. Native Americans within the United States are classified using standards that differ from those used to classify other racial or ethnic minorities, specifically African Americans. While, historically, the classification of African-Americans as relied upon the “one-drop” rule, the classification of Native Americans over the past hundred years has relied upon varying, complicated, and ultimately arbitrary blood rules. However, the reliance upon blood laws does not illustrate the effects of self-identification or identification by others. Across the United States, there are various persons who would self-identify as Native American but are not…show more content…
The new legal system enforced a new ruling system that allowed for national authority over certain aspects of life, especially that of schools, town councils, taxes, and language. The system was built upon the rule of self-identification; that is the process of defining who was who was done via the individual 's self-declaration through the census. However, the system still contained flaws and frauds which could not go unaddressed; again the self-profession principle came to be the defining factor in many of these disputed cases. Self-profession within the case of Native Americans in the United States has been deemed insufficient evidence of the validity of one 's identity. While, self-profession is used for certain types of identification, there is an extraordinary reliance upon historical censuses and what tribes are recognized, legitimated, by the BIA. Few tribes are still recognized, only 566 are still currently recognized by the BIA, yet many of those who are not recognized by the BIA still identify as Native American. The criteria used to recognize tribes, as well the tribes themselves use differing criteria to determine status within a tribe itself. A combination of various quotas of blood complexifies a system already complicated enough, each tribe and the government as a whole uses certain blood standards to determine the legitimacy of membership to a specific tribe. Similar to the Austrian cases’ problems of dealing with ideas of blood, where in blood
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