The Battle to Define Native American Tribal Identity

On WNYC, Brooke Jarvis, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, discusses her article, “The Disenrolled” (online: “Who Decides Who Counts as Native American?”). Four years ago, the Nooksack in Washington state announced that they were expelling hundreds of members, which initiated a debate over tribal identity. Jarvis found that determining tribal lineage is difficult because Nooksack history, like that of many tribes in the United States, is “complicated by government efforts to extinguish, assimilate and relocate the tribe, and by a dearth of historical documents.”

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