News: Historic vote on blood quantum rule, Marlene Helgemo walks on, MPD Settlement Agreement expected by Fall

In this post:

  • Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has historic vote to stop using colonial ‘blood quantum rules’ to define membership
  • Marlene Helgemo walks on
  • City of Minneapolis, MN Dept. of Human Rights, announce principles, timeframe on Settlement Agreement to address police department’s pattern of racial discrimination

Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has historic vote to stop using colonial ‘blood quantum rules’ to define membership

The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe members voted to drop the 25 percent blood quantum requirement for Tribal membership. The vote was 4,778 to 2,629.

The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe is the central authority for six Bands: Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth. In a separate vote, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe authorized each Band to make its own decision on membership requirements.

Blood quantum refers to the fraction of blood an Indigenous person has from a given Tribe. As Tribal members have intermarried with people from other Tribes or non-Indigenous people, children’s blood quantum often drops below the threshold to be considered a Tribal member.

The 1934 “Indian New Deal” encouraged Tribes to write their own constitutions. The law itself used blood quantum to define “Indian,” which included “all other persons of one-quarter or more Indian blood.” That language got adopted into Tribal Constitutions, and now has become an existential threat in Indian Country.

See earlier blogs: Blood Quantum Part I: An existential threat in Indian Country, and Blood Quantum, Part II: The Indian New Deal and Tribal Constitutions.

Native News Online article here. MPR story here.

Marlene Helgemo walks on

Screen grab from video of Helgemo at Standing Rock.

Rev. Marlene Whiterabbit Helgemo, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, walked on this week, according to a Facebook post on Natives of the ELCA.

Helgemo graduated from Luther Northwestern Seminary and in 1987 became the first Native American woman ordained in the Lutheran church, then the American Lutheran Church.

She had been serving the All Nations Indian Church, a United Church of Christ church in the heart of Minneapolis’ Indian community. She had served on the board of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

Helgemo also served on the Augsburg College Board of Directors and as the executive director of the Council for American Indian Ministry of the UCC, according to a biography on the Augsburg website. She served on the HoChunk Ethics Review Board and on the American Indian Business Development Corporation Review Board.

She was “vice president of the Native American Community Development Institute, and she is a past president of the Minneapolis Council of Churches,” it said. She was a “key fundraiser for service and education events, has served on the board of the Hennepin County Sexual Violence Center, and has provided counseling, stress management, and spiritual direction assistance for people of diverse backgrounds and experiences.”

City of Minneapolis, MN Dept. of Human Rights, announce principles, timeframe on Settlement Agreement to address MPD’s pattern of racial discrimination

The City of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) announced they expect to have a court-enforceable Settlement Agreement completed this fall to address MDHR’s findings that the Minneapolis Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of race discrimination.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero agreed last week on principles that would guide their discussions.

According to the two-page statement of principles, the Agreement will:

  • Focus on: “the use of force, supervision, traffic stop enforcement, arrests, training, accountability and oversight systems including disciplinary systems, the organizational culture within MPD, community trust, officer wellness and support, and data collection and transparency.”
  • Include “a mechanism for expert assessment of, and reporting on, the City’s compliance with the Agreement.”

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