On November 8, 2017 the UNM Native American Law Student Association, in collaboration with the State Bar of New Mexico Indian Law Section, hosted a lecture titled “Indian Blood.” The event–covering a very important and often controversial issue–received overwhelming attention throughout the state and beyond. The lecture was well attended, filling the largest UNM Law School lecture hall to capacity. Tribal leaders, tribal members, UNM School of Law students and alumni, and many interested community members gathered for an evening of education and dinner. The speakers covered topics including the history of blood quantum in Indian communities, the effects of blood quantum on individual identity and belonging within a tribal community, and the impacts on a community divided by opposing viewpoints.
In order to set the stage for such a controversial and often emotion topic, the lecture began with a prayer by Governor Benavidez from Pueblo of Isleta, and a prayer was also offered by Chad Abeita (2L UNM School of Law Student – Navajo) before the meal.
Audience members, all affected in their own way by Indian Blood and blood quantum issues appeared to be grateful to listen and learn from some of the experts in the field and to hear how one community member experienced blood quantum membership changes first hand.
If you would like to view a recording of the event, please follow this link: https://lawmedia.unm.edu/public/special_events/Indian_Blood/
By Roshanna Toya
Roshanna Toya is from Pueblo of Isleta. She is a second-year student at UNM School of Law pursuing a juris doctorate and a certificate in Indian Law.