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Who Belongs?Race, Resources, and Tribal Citizenship in the Native South$
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Mikaëla M. Adams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190619466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190619466.001.0001

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Policing Belonging, Protecting Identity

Policing Belonging, Protecting Identity

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe of Virginia

(p.25) 1 Policing Belonging, Protecting Identity
Who Belongs?

Mikaëla M. Adams

Oxford University Press

The Pamunkeys’ fear of losing control of their state reservation motivated many of their late-nineteenth and twentieth-century tribal citizenship decisions, particularly after white Virginians equated the Pamunkeys’ tribal right to the reservation with their racial identity as “Indian.” To protect their land, the Pamunkeys developed strategies to bolster their Indian identity, while simultaneously distancing themselves from African Americans to avoid classification as “colored.” They also searched for ways to keep the reservation in the hands of core members of the tribe after some Pamunkeys moved elsewhere and intermarried with whites. The tribe developed unique residency rules, gendered definitions of belonging, and a tiered system of tribal citizenship to meet these challenges. The Pamunkey story reveals one way that a tribe used citizenship criteria to preserve its territorial sovereignty and to bolster its political status.

Keywords:   Pamunkey, citizenship, identity, race, Jim Crow, Virginia, reservation, federal recognition

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