Blood Politics: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma

Blood Politics: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma

University of California Press
March 2002
267 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780520230972

Circe Dawn Sturm, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Texas, Austin

  • Finalist in the Non-fiction category of the Oklahoma Book Awards, Oklahoma Center for the Book
  • 2002 Outstanding Book on Oklahoma History, Oklahoma Historical Society

Circe Sturm takes a bold and original approach to one of the most highly charged and important issues in the United States today: race and national identity. Focusing on the Oklahoma Cherokee, she examines how Cherokee identity is socially and politically constructed, and how that process is embedded in ideas of blood, color, and race. Not quite a century ago, blood degree varied among Cherokee citizens from full blood to 1/256, but today the range is far greater—from full blood to 1/2048. This trend raises questions about the symbolic significance of blood and the degree to which blood connections can stretch and still carry a sense of legitimacy. It also raises questions about how much racial blending can occur before Cherokees cease to be identified as a distinct people and what danger is posed to Cherokee sovereignty if the federal government continues to identify Cherokees and other Native Americans on a racial basis. Combining contemporary ethnography and ethnohistory, Sturm’s sophisticated and insightful analysis probes the intersection of race and national identity, the process of nation formation, and the dangers in linking racial and national identities.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter One. Opening
  • Chapter Two. Blood, Culture, and Race: Cherokee Politics and Identity in the Eighteenth Century
  • Chapter Three. Race as Nation, Race as Blood Quantum: The Racial Politics of Cherokee Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century
  • Chapter Four. Law of Blood, Politics of Nation: The Political Foundations of Racial Rule in the Cherokee Nation, 1907-2000
  • Chapter Five. Social Classification and Racial Contestation: Local Non-National Interpretations of Cherokee Identity
  • Chapter Six. Blood and Marriage: The Interplay of Kinship, Race, and Power in Traditional Cherokee Communities
  • Chapter Seven. Challenging the Color Line: The Trials and Tribulations of the Cherokee Freedmen
  • Chapter Eight. Closing
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , , , , ,