From blood to DNA, from “tribe” to “race” in tribal citizenship
This talk will compare symbolic blood as it has been used in 20th and 21st-century U.S. tribal enrollment with the more recent advent of DNA testing for enrollment. I briefly examine both “Indian blood” and “tribe-specific blood” and compare these concepts with that of the “DNA profile” that is increasingly used in enrollment in concert with existing blood rules. How might DNA testing influence how we understand “Native American” as a racial category? I argue that genetic practices are more likely to “racialize” Native American citizenship than are current blood rules alone, and this is more harmful to tribal sovereignty than are blood concepts of identity.