Blood Will Tell

Blood Will Tell

Native Americans and Assimilation Policy

Katherine Ellinghaus

New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies Series

234 pages
5 illustrations, index

Hardcover

August 2017

978-0-8032-2543-5

$40.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Blood Will Tell reveals the underlying centrality of “blood” that shaped official ideas about who was eligible to be defined as Indian by the General Allotment Act in the United States. Katherine Ellinghaus traces the idea of blood quantum and how the concept came to dominate Native identity and national status between 1887 and 1934 and how related exclusionary policies functioned to dispossess Native people of their land. The U.S. government’s unspoken assumption at the time was that Natives of mixed descent were undeserving of tribal status and benefits, notwithstanding that Native Americans of mixed descent played crucial roles in the national implementation of allotment policy. 

Ellinghaus explores on-the-ground case studies of Anishinaabeg, Arapahos, Cherokees, Eastern Cherokees, Cheyennes, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, Lakotas, Lumbees, Ojibwes, Seminoles, and Virginia tribes. Documented in these cases, the history of blood quantum as a policy reveals assimilation’s implications and legacy. The role of blood quantum is integral to understanding how Native Americans came to be one of the most disadvantaged groups in the United States, and it remains a significant part of present-day debates about Indian identity and tribal membership. Blood Will Tell is an important and timely contribution to current political and scholarly debates.

 

Author Bio

Katherine Ellinghaus has a Hansen Lectureship in History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of Taking Assimilation to Heart: Marriages of White Women and Indigenous Men in Australia and the United States, 1887–1937 (Nebraska, 2006) and coeditor of Historicising Whiteness: Transnational Perspectives on the Construction of Identity.

Praise

“Katherine Ellinghaus brilliantly traces the uneven practices that produced a powerful discourse of American Indian blood quantum. With sure hand and subtle interpretation, Blood Will Tell offers a compelling new reading of a technology of identity at once complicated and crude.”—Philip J. Deloria, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and author of Indians in Unexpected Places
 

“Written with great clarity and precision. . . . Ellinghaus develops several key insights that will make contributions to historical scholarship on Indians, race, and western American history.”—Margaret Jacobs, Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and author of A Generation Removed: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World 

“A triumph of humanistic scholarship. . . . Many of the topics Ellinghaus covers are of salience to contemporary debates about race and racism.”—Gregory Smithers, author of Science, Sexuality, and Race in the United States and Australia, 1780–1940, Revised Edition?

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
Introduction: The Discourse of Blood in the Assimilation Period    
1. Fraud: The Allotment of the Anishinaabeg    
2. Chaos: The Dawes Commission and the Five Tribes    
3. Practically White: The Federal Policy of Competency    
4. The Same Old Deal: The 1934 Indian Reorganization Act    
5. Colored: The Indian Nations of Virginia and the 1924 Racial Integrity Act    
Conclusion: Writing Blood into the Assimilation Period    
Acknowledgments    
Notes    
Bibliography    
Index
 

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