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

Circe Dawn Sturm
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 20, 2002 0520230973 978-0520230972
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.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Blood Politics offers an anthropological analysis of contemporary identity politics within the second largest Indian tribe in the United States-one that pays particular attention to the symbol of "blood." The work treats an extremely sensitive topic with originality and insight. It is also notable for bringing contemporary theories of race, nationalism, and social identity to bear upon the case of the Oklahoma Cherokee."-Pauline Turner Strong, author of Captive Selves, Captivating Others: The Politics and Poetics of Colonial American Captivity Narratives

From the Inside Flap

"Blood Politics offers an anthropological analysis of contemporary identity politics within the second largest Indian tribe in the United States--one that pays particular attention to the symbol of "blood." The work treats an extremely sensitive topic with originality and insight. It is also notable for bringing contemporary theories of race, nationalism, and social identity to bear upon the case of the Oklahoma Cherokee."—Pauline Turner Strong, author of Captive Selves, Captivating Others: The Politics and Poetics of Colonial American Captivity Narratives

Product Details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (March 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520230973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520230972
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tackling a Sticky Subject September 5, 2002
By Uyvsdi
Format:Hardcover
Sturm provides thought-provoking insights into tribal indentity and shows how the idea of "race" changes and evolves over time. A variety of perspectives, sometimes quite humorous, into the obsession of blood quantum. Her stories throughout the book are welcome breaks from the sometimes stuffy academic writing. I think she neglects to mention that government documentatin of people's blood quantum is arbitrary and often incorrect, usually placing people's blood quantum lower than it actually is. Sturm also seems inexplicably harsh on the Cherokee Nation and in particular Ross Swimmer. Other than these complaints, this book is a great exploration of varying viewpoints.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enlightening Examination July 27, 2007
Format:Paperback
Circe Sturm's "Blood Politics" is a thoughtful look at the factors which go into how the Cherokee people define themselves- as Cherokees, as Indians, as citizens of the Cherokee Nation. Sturm takes on some controversial issues that remain hotbeds of political contention. Particularly on the subject of freedmen, Sturm captures a wide variety of thought.

She is a skilled writer and anthropologist. Some of her writing in her opening was difficult for me to grasp, but this is my fault- not hers. I have a limited background in anthropology, and I am still trying to get my head around the notions of "contradictory consciousness" and "counterhegemonic resistance." Apparently these are standard terms in the academic world of anthropology, but I had to rely on Sturm to point out examples of them in Cherokee culture.

Even if one does not completely follow "Neo-Gramscian Perspectives on Race and Resistance" (a subtitle in her opening), overall the book is easily readable and understandable for the lay person. I came away with a much broader understanding of the concept and power of blood and blood quantum in Cherokee heritage. I also have a better understanding of Cherokee religion, politics, language and social structure.

Sturm includes some stories of her research told in the third person. When she does this, the book reads more like a novel, and I found it to be an entertaining and useful technique in making her point. "Blood Politics" is highly recommended, particularly in light of the recent vote on the status of freedmen in the Cherokee Nation.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This work has two central themes and limited Cherokee history: (1) enrollees with more than 1/64th blood quantum, (author calls them White Cherokees), and (2) the lack of acceptance of Black Freedmen into the tribe.
There is no mention of blood quantum needed for Cherokee tribal services.
I am offended the author considers my 1/28th blood quantum "a card carrying Cherokee". Really?
Writer assumes the blood quantum in the Dawes Roll is correct -- again, Really?
It was a White world, is it not possible that some Indian people admitted only to
the amount of blood that would allow them land or compensation?
My mother, the 2nd of 8 siblings was raised on my Cherokee grandfather's allotment close to Park Hill.
During the war days we spent every other weekend on this farm.
THE ORIGINAL ALLOTMENT, dated 1906, IS STILL IN OUR FAMILY.
I also have wonderful photos of my Cherokee ancestors, including the gggrandmother who came to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.
Also, I, along with my mother and all her siblings and my cousins have inherited type 2 diabetes. Yuck.
I'm slender, eat heathy, and have always been athletic -- where did this illness come from -- there is no history in my paternal family anywhere --
it comes from my 1/28th Cherokee ancestry.
All this and a thesis writer thinks I'm "a card carrying
Cherokee"?
I am very proud to call myself Cherokee.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quick and easy December 23, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Order arrived within a week of purchase. It came in great condition and for a very great price! it was quick and it was easy.
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