Who Belongs? Becoming Tribal Members in the South Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Adams, Mikaëla M.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • As a third race in the Jim Crow South, Indians struggled to maintain their political sovereignty and separate identity in the face of racial legislation and discrimination. To protect their status as tribal members and to defend their resources from outsiders, Indians developed membership criteria that reflected their older notions of kinship and culture, but also the new realities of a biracial world. This dissertation examines the responses of four southeastern Indian peoples to the problem of defining who legally belonged to Indian tribes. Although the Pamunkeys, Catawbas, Eastern Band of Cherokees, and Florida Seminoles dealt with similar questions regarding reservation residency, cultural affinity, intermarriage, blood, and race, each developed different requirements for tribal membership based on their unique histories and relationships with federal and state officials. The varying experiences of these southeastern tribes belie the notion of an essential Indian, and instead show that membership in a tribe is a historically-constructed and constantly-evolving process.
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  • In Copyright
  • Perdue, Theda
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2012

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