, Volume 16, Issue 1-2, pp 33-42

Tribal membership requirements and the demography of ‘old’ and ‘new’ Native Americans

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Abstract

This paper examines the twentieth-century population recovery of Native Americans with reference to urbanization, intermarriage, and differing definitions of the Native American population from census and tribal enrollment data. The recent increase in the Native American population reflected in regular US decennial censuses since 1960 is discussed in terms of changing self-identification of individuals as ‘Native American’. Also discussed are criteria for enrollment in Native American tribes, particularly blood quantum requirements. Census enumerations are compared with tribal enrollment data, and it is illustrated that a large proportion of those identifying as ‘Native American’ in the census are not enrolled in Native American tribes. Special attention is given to how Native American tribal enrollment criteria might impact future population size.