Red Lake Tribal Council Passes Resolution To Increase Blood Degree
The Red Lake Tribal Council recently approved a resolution to boost the blood quantum by a 7 to 3 vote. Tribal Secretary Sam Strong says this would allow everyone on the base roll to be a full-blood.
“So what that means is, if you were born in 1958 and prior, you were on this base roll and were essentially adding quantum to these members. And by doing that, that blood quantum then translates down to generations to all of our people,” Strong said.
This resolution will increase blood degree for members, meaning if both parents are Red Lake Tribal members and have half-blood quantum, they would increase to full blood quantum.
“What it does is, it strengthens our blood,” Strong said. “In many ways, by doing this, we’re allowing ourselves to be more self-sustainable and have more resources to serve people that are already living in our communities, and they really are a part of our people.”
The phrase “blood quantum” refers to tracking the mathematical degree of Red Lake blood that each member has, and over time, these degrees lessen. Strong says 83 percent of their people are between 25 to 50 percent, and in order to be enrolled and to receive benefits, you need to have one-quarter blood quantum. He says this change will allow more people to be above the one-quarter blood quantum.
“You’re carrying on the history of our nation,” Strong said. “For many of these people, this is something that they’ve waited their whole lives for. They’ve lived in our communities, they’ve participated in carrying on our language our traditions, our way of life. And it’s important for them to be recognized as a tribal member. They also maintain rights to hunt and fish on our land and to have a land assignment and carrying on a family and continue on the legacy that their ancestors had for them.”
Strong says this resolution will help secure their identity and maintain it.
“In fact, it’s strengthening our membership and we’re adding members that are contributors to our nation,” Strong said. “Some of these people are the ones that are our teachers, and our schools, they are teaching our kids the language, they’re caring on these ways of life that are important to us.”
This is just the first step to a long-term plan to eliminate the blood quantum altogether and get to a point where it’s descendant based.
The first round of applications is being accepted now through January 15, and people can still apply after the deadline. You can pick up applications at the Red Lake Government Center on their website at www.redlakenation.org.