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Kelly Fayard


Anne Ray Resident Scholar

Affiliation at time of award:
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Bowdoin College

Fighting to Belong: Race, Kinship, and Community Among the Poarch Band of Creek Indians

This project brings together the three fields of race studies, Native American studies, and anthropological kinship studies to analyze the way in which the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama, determines who is a citizen of the tribal nation. While the legal requirement for citizenship is a blood quantum of one-quarter, larger Poarch community beliefs about who belongs and who doesn’t is more complicated. Based on new ways of determining ancestry and kin from DNA tests, this project examines how Poarch Creek identity is more complex than simply whether or not a person is on the tribal roll. As more people seek to fight for their right to be included as citizens in the tribe, Fayard asks: how does the tribe itself construct Poarch Creek identity? How do people fight the decision for new members to be enrolled or for current members to be disenrolled?

Photo by William Geoghegan.

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