Native symposium in D.C. to ask “Does Indian Blood Still Matter?” | Sept. 16

On September 16th, a panel of Native scholars will engage in a discussion that has been a controversial issue within Native communities: “Does Indian Blood Still Matter?”

Part of the Smithsonian‘s conversation about race, the free event will take place at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. If you will not able to attend, a webcast will be available at

Unlike other ethnic minorities in the United States, American Indians are defined not solely by self-designation but by federal, state, and tribal laws.

Blood quantum — originating from archaic notions of biological race and still codified in contemporary policy—remains one of the most important factors in determining tribal membership, access to services, and community recognition. This concept, however, is not without debate and contestation.

The purpose of this symposium is to approach this important and complex topic from various perspectives.

Sociologists Eva Marie Garroutte (Boston College) and C. Matthew Snipp (Stanford) will join historian Malinda Lowery (UNC Chapel Hill) and anthropologist Kimberly TallBear (UC Berkeley) as the panelists at the program moderated by National Museum of the American Indian historian Gabrielle Tayac.


Friday, September 16
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm


National Museum of the American Indian (Room 4018, 4th floor)
4th Street and Independence Avenue
SW Washington, D.C. 20013-7012

Metro: L’Enfant Plaza, Maryland Avenue/Smithsonian Museums exit


To RSVP or for further information, please contact [email protected].