Where does your tribal candidate stand?

Reporter's Notebook
Dana Wilson
Thursday, September 24, 2020

I’ve been pondering who the Crow Tribe will choose as leaders in the upcoming election. I also wonder what the voters’ decisions in choosing leaders are based on. I’ve even gone as far as making predictions on who will advance to the short go.

There are four executive offices that will be decided in November’s general election — Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Vice Secretary.

Maybe it's the budding political scientist inside of me that drives these thoughts, questions that cause me to lose sleep at night. Will people choose leadership who will whole-heartedly make decisions and administer programs that will benefit the whole tribe? Do they care about the whole tribe and do they just think of themselves? What will the leadership do for me? Will they give me a job as a director and hire all my kids, even though we may not be qualified for the position?

Regarding the tribe as a whole, I don’t know what the exact enrollment statistics, but it's well over the 14,000 mark. That is an interesting subject itself. What are all of the candidates’ thoughts on enrollment? Or have they even thought about it? Enrollment is a big, touchy issue for many people, depending on who you are and where you place yourself on the enrollment spectrum.

I’ve shared before that I hail from the Mighty Few District and I am very proud to say so. There are a lot of Big Lodges and Bad War Deeds clan members there, a few Ties the Bundles, Greasy Mouths and some Piegans. Many folks there do not want enrollment to change, some support an even higher blood quantum requirement for tribal enrollment.

For those who may not know, to be enrolled in the Crow Tribe, a person needs to meet the one-quarter blood quantum requirement. Meaning, if you were a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie, cut up into 4 slices, one slice of you would need to be entirely Crow Indian.

Many people are against the blood quantum requirements, a lot of people who are against these requirements most likely have children or grandchildren who don’t have enough Crow blood to be enrolled.

A little history, as I know it, the whole enrollment process has changed. Initially, the Crow Tribe’s General Council could enroll an individual regardless of their blood quantum or ethnicity for that matter, a person could be enrolled even if they didn’t have a drop of Crow blood.

Then it changed to combined blood, where all the “Indian” blood was taken in account and Crow blood was based on that concept of total Indian blood. That meant if a person had Cherokee, Pequot, Tlingkit and Crow heritage, the percentages were all added up, and used for Crow enrollment purposes.

Again, it changed, sometime in the late 1970s, something, I call the “purge” happened. The blood quantum requirement was changed and only the Crow blood was counted. Pretty simple, huh? Maybe, maybe not. Do any of you know any full siblings who have different blood quantums and wondered why? More than likely because of the purge. Something to think about. We are a resource rich tribe, not to be stingy or anything, but if the blood quantum as we know it were lowered, it could quintuple our enrollment overnight.

For those of us who aren’t very math savvy, say there are 14,000 enrolled Crows today. If the blood quantum requirements were lowered, our population could easily increase five-fold, to 70,000 overnight. The political scientist in me morphed into the physical scientist and came up with that very rough calculation by thinking of all the people I know who are just short to becoming enrolled, I can think of 15 ppl off the top of my head that are in that category, I take one-third of that and come up with 5, just because I’m sure that everyone else knows at least 10 people in that category, half of that just cleans up easy into 5. For the sake of science, some of us could run in the same circles and know the same people in that category.

My personal thoughts are as such; I am very proud of my Crow heritage and blood. The physical and social scientist in me tells me that my Crow blood distinguishes me from being a Hmong, a Maori or a Viking. There is something called DNA that is in our blood. It is our genetic makeup. It makes us who we are as a people.

I know some on the other side of the argument who say that only dogs and Indians have pedigrees. Again, I assert that I am very proud of my pedigree. Where do your candidates stand on that issue?