Publication Date



38 p. ; An outstanding student paper selected as a Honors Paper.


This paper traces the development of the use of blood quantum in federal law and policy up to the critical transition of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The decisions of the federal government to use or not use blood quantum as a method of classification demonstrate some of the inherent contradictions in federal Indian law. While the federal government possesses a trust relationship to a group of political communities, the law has infused the administration of that relationship with a "racial" system of classification. For the sake of bureaucratic and legal clarity, the federal government adapted a system previously used to define race to refine the population entitled to federal services and to define the parameters of the sovereignty of Indian tribes.


University of New Mexico School of Law

Document Type

Student Paper



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