Strategic Alliances and Trail of Broken Treaties 1700-1799
Blood quantum laws support chattel slavery and stealing of lands
The Virginia Colony is the first to adopt “race” (blood quantum) laws that limits the civil and land rights of American Indians and Africans, based on blood degree: 1/2 Native ancestry = mulatto/not Native; 1/8 African ancestry = Black (Forbes, 2010). “Any amount of African ancestry, no matter how remote, and regardless of phenotypical appearance, makes a person Black. For Indians, in stark contrast, any non-Indian ancestry compromises indigeneity, producing ‘half breeds,’ a regime that persists in the form of contemporary blood quantum regulations today. As opposed to enslaved people, whose reproduction augmented their owners’ wealth, Indigenous people obstructed settlers’ access to land, so their increase was counterproductive. In this way, the restrictive racial classification of Indians straightforwardly furthered the logic of elimination” (Wolfe, 2006). This is the origin of the one-drop rule for African ancestry and the 1/2 or more rule for American Indians: If one was one drop African, they could be slave chattel; if they were less than 1/2 Native, their land could be taken, as they were deemed to be not Native and therefore not tied to land rights. Natives identified as mixed were designated “mulatto,” with associated limited civil rights parallel to Africans.