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American Indian identity: The Menominee experience

Carol N Nepton, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Identity and specifically American Indian identity is frequently established by tribal enrollment base on blood quantum or percentage of Indian blood from a specific Indian nation. Here I demonstrate how American Indian identity of individuals from the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin has been formed by experiences rooted in a historical context shaped by contemporary issues. From the treaty period in the 19th Century through Termination and Restoration in the 20th Century, pressure to assimilate into the non-Indian community failed and instead fostered a strong Menominee identity. Blood quantum plays a political and social role determining who is accepted on the tribal roll. Language and cultural expressions and traditional ceremony reinforce identity. However, Menominee connection to their land and the interaction of the land and people provides the foundation for their identity and creates an unbroken bond to their ancestors and a responsibility to the Menominee of the future.

Subject Area

Cultural anthropology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Nepton, Carol N, "American Indian identity: The Menominee experience" (2005). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3163692.