Warren ancestry highlights how tribes decide membership

Massachusetts Senate candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, left, and her opponent State Rep. Geoff Diehl shake hands before a debate in Boston, on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (AP)
Updated 21 October 2018
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Warren ancestry highlights how tribes decide membership

  • For centuries, a person’s percentage of Native American blood had nothing to do with determining who was a tribal member

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona: The clash between Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and President Donald Trump over her Native American heritage highlights the varying methods tribes use to decide who belongs.
The decision has wide-ranging consequences for Native American communities and their relationship with the federal government.
Some tribes rely on blood relationships to confer membership. Historically, they took a broader view that included non-biological connections and people’s value in society.
The 573 federally recognized tribes are sovereign governments that must be consulted on issues that affect them. Within tribes, enrollment also means being able to seek office, vote in tribal elections and secure property rights.
For centuries, a person’s percentage of Native American blood had nothing to do with determining who was a tribal member. And for some tribes, it still doesn’t.


Nine Iranians detained for alleged drug smuggling in Sri Lanka

Updated 7 min 56 sec ago
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Nine Iranians detained for alleged drug smuggling in Sri Lanka

  • Nine Iranians were caught with 107.22 kg of heroin onboard a trawler bound for the country on Monday

COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan court remanded nine Iranians in custody after they were caught with 107.22 kg of heroin onboard a trawler bound for the country on Monday.

Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne permitted the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) to detain and interrogate the suspects, and ordered it to submit a report to the court on the progress of the investigation.

The vessel was tracked on Sunday morning by a joint operations team comprised of PNB agents, a police special task force and the Sri Lankan navy ship Suranimala off the southern coast of Galle.

Security forces seized the vessel and arrested the nine Iranians, after which the suspects and boat were transferred to PNB custody in the capital.

At a press briefing on Sunday night, Police Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekara said that 99 packets of heroin had been found hidden in four fertilizer bags onboard the boat, and that the suspects had posed as fishermen.

He added that the trawler had been at sea around 14 days, and that on seeing the approaching Suranimala, the crew had dumped an estimated 500 kg of heroin into the water. Mobile and satellite phones had also been found and confiscated.

“It was a joint operation and a great victory in combating the drugs menace,” Lt. Cmdr. Isuru Sooriyabandara said.

As the suspects were unable to communicate in English, the PNB said it would seek assistance from the Iranian Embassy in Colombo to help with translation. Embassy sources, meanwhile, claimed that the nationalities of the nine detainees had not been confirmed.

Early this year, a 24-year-old Iranian woman was arrested by the PNB at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo for smuggling cannabis.