American Indian Identity
Citizenship, Membership, and Blood
by Se-ah-dom Edmo, Jessie Young, and Alan Parker
May 2016, 160pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3146-1
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3147-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Since 1492, many have debated the entitlements allowed the Indigenous people of North America.

This single-volume book contends that reshaping the paradigm of American Indian identity, blood quantum, and racial distinctions can positively impact the future of the Indian community within America and America itself.

This academic compendium examines the complexities associated with Indian identity in North America, including the various social, political, and legal issues impacting Indian expression in different periods; the European influence on how self-governing tribal communities define the rights of citizenship within their own communities; and the effect of Indian mascots, Thanksgiving, and other cultural appropriations taking place within American society on the Indian community. The book looks at and proposes solutions to the controversies surrounding the Indian tribal nations and their people.

The authors—all leading advocates of Indian progress—argue that tribal governments and communities should reconsider the notion of what comprises Indian identity, and in doing so, they compare and contrast how indigenous people around the world define themselves and their communities. Chapters address complex questions under the discourse of Indian law, history, philosophy, education, political science, anthropology, art, psychology, and civil rights. Topics covered in depth include blood quantum, racial distinctions, First Nations, and tribal citizenship.


  • Addresses legal and historical issues about Indian identity and multiple citizenships that have never before been covered in a text
  • Sums up the issues, discussion, and proposed solutions to the questions surrounding Indian identity
  • Sounds an awakening call to tribal leaders regarding the threat of extermination if they continue to rely on the paradigm of blood quantum instead of citizenship to define Indian identity
  • Provides a voice that reaches out to and finds common cause with indigenous brothers and sisters in the world of former British colonies
Se-ah-dom Edmo is coordinator of the Indigenous Ways of Knowing program at Lewis & Clark College; director for the Oregon Tribal Histories and Sovereignty Curriculum Design Project, which will develop a state-wide Indian histories and sovereignty curricula aligned to Oregon curriculum standards; and vice president of the Oregon Indian Education Association. She was instrumental in the successful campaigns to get Oregon to ban race-based Native American sports names, imagery, and logos in K–12 schools (May 2012) and the Freedom to Marry in Washington State (November 2012). Her published works include Tribal Equity Toolkit: Tribal Resolutions and Codes to Support Two Spirit & LGBT Justice in Indian Country and Identity Wars: A Comparative Ethical Critique of the Debate Over Indian Identity. Her tribal affiliations are Shoshone-Bannock, Yakama, and Nez Perce.

Jessie Young is an enrolled citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians. After graduating from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she focused her studies on criminal law in Indian country, she began her legal career in August 2013 at Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, a national law firm focusing on Indian law. Young is currently an attorney advisor for the Department of Interior, Office of the Regional Solicitor, Portland, OR, where she works in Indian law issues. The views expressed in the book are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of the Interior or the United States.

Alan Parker is a professor at the Maori Indigenous University located in Whakatane, New Zealand. He recently retired from The Evergreen State College after establishing in 2002 a specialty in Tribal Government Management and Leadership within the Masters in Public Administration program. The Maori Indigenous University asked him to assist in creating a PhD in Indigenous Development and Advancement and Dr. Parker assisted in recruiting 12 U.S. tribal students who are now enrolled in the Maori Tribal PhD program. Parker is a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Tribal Nation and graduated from UCLA School of Law. He served as chief counsel and staff director to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs during the years that Congress passed major legislation such as the Indian Child Welfare Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and the National Museum of the American Indian Act.

Robert J. Miller is a citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, and the Chief Justice for the Grand Ronde Tribe. His recent book, Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies was coauthored with indigenous professors Jacinta Ruru, Larissa Behrendt, and Tracy Lindberg. Miller's published work also includes Praeger's Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark, and Manifest Destiny and Reservation "Capitalism": Economic Development in Indian Country.


"Who are we? The fact that, across indigenous contexts, we constantly have to ask and answer this question speaks to the terrible history of colonialism. This book examines the question of Indian identity through contemporary issues such as mascots, schooling, enrollment, and ethnic fraud. It is relevant, provocative, and constructive. It adds new and important insights on the questions of Indian identity from a group well grounded Indigenous activist scholars."—Linda Tuhiwai Smith, University of Waikato, New Zealand and Author of Decolonizing Methodologies

"This book is a powerful contribution to our understanding of the ethnic identity of America's First People, the American Indians. The authors share their own understanding of who they are as members of Tribal Nations in the 21st century. Even among the educated elite, very few know that over 500 Tribal Nations are recognized by the U.S. government as sovereign indigenous nations. They exist under 370 treaties. As tribal citizens, the authors examine the threat of extermination posed by the use of blood quantum as a criteria to deteremine who is Indian. This book is required reading for the reading public, and especially American Indian readers."—Walter Echo-Hawk, Author of In the Courts of the Conqueror: The Ten Worst Indian Cases Ever Decided
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