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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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Learning the Language of “Blood”

Learning the Language of “Blood”

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Chapter:
(p.96) 3 Learning the Language of “Blood”
Source:
Who Belongs?
Author(s):

Mikaëla M. Adams

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190619466.003.0004

At the end of the nineteenth century, Congress created the Dawes Commission to allot the Choctaw Nation’s western lands to tribal citizens. The commission assigned allotments to certain Choctaws left behind in Mississippi as well and based its enrollment decisions in part on individuals’ degree of Indian “blood.” Those who did not qualify lost citizenship rights in the Choctaw Nation. In the years that followed, the Mississippi Choctaws used what they had learned about federal notions of Indian identity, and particularly ideas of “blood,” to recreate a tribal status. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians achieved federal recognition in 1945, at which point the tribe formalized its citizenship criteria. The Mississippi Choctaw story reveals how the remnants of a removed tribe manipulated federal concepts of race and “blood” to create a new tribe, delineate citizenship requirements, and regain tribal resources in the South.

Keywords:   Choctaw, citizenship, Mississippi, allotment, blood, race, identity, enrollment, Dawes Commission

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