Citizenship is one of the keystones of sovereignty for every tribe. And it’s absolute: you’re either a tribal citizen through lineal descendancy, blood quantum, or another agreed-up measurement, or you’re not. But Native identity sometimes extends beyond citizenship and there’s little agreement about those boundaries.
Today on Native America Calling, at a time of increasing scrutiny of those who claim—and build careers on—Native identity, Shawn Spruce gets the perspectives from tribal leaders on what makes identity and why it’s so important to get it right with Cathy Chavers, chairwoman of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Indians and the president of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe; Dr. Aaron Payment, former chairman of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; Nathan McCowan (Tlingit and Haida), president and CEO of St. George Tanaq Corporation; Patt Iron Cloud AKA “GrandmaPatt”, councilwoman for the Fort Peck Tribes; and Harold “Buster” Hatcher, chief of the Waccamaw Indian People.
Break 1 music: Intertribal (song) Thunder Hill (artist) Relentless (album)
Break 2 music: Sahkaweyohk Ota (Give A War Cry Here) (song) Young Spirit (artist) Akameyimoh Baby Boy (album)