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The United States census: The racialization of Indian identity and its impact on self determination

Throughout the history of United States' policy towards Native people, the strongest underlying methodology for effectuating conquest has had its roots in the control of the tribal identity. Because the United States Census counts people and categorizes them into racial groups, the relationship of the identity of Native people to the Census and Federal Indian policy would seem to be closely associated.

When analyzing the process of the United States Census as it applies to Native Americans, a greater understanding develops regarding the ultimate control of Indian identity and the resultant effects of that control upon tribal people. By understanding this relationship, tribes may choose to further strengthen the meaning of self determination and demand that they be the ones to count their own people. By taking control of the tribal identity, tribes are taking control of the disposition of rights and resources within the federal-tribal structure.


Robyn Loretta Interpreter (Kline)


Robert A. Hershey





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