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Little Guy Proposes Dealing with Blood Quantum by Declaring all 1940 Members as Full Bloods

By Joe Morey

News Editor

LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) member Gary “Little Guy” Clause is preparing to propose a new change to the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Tribe’s blood quantum requirement for membership. Little Guy said he wants to get the discussion started and hear from tribal members on whether they will support the idea or not.

His proposal is similar to what the Red Lake Nation did by declaring all members who were on the Membership Rolls in 1958 as full blood 100%. Little Guy said LCO should go back to the base rolls of the 1940 census when the blood quantum was initiated here and declare everyone on that roll as a 100% full blooded Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe.

Following down from that lineage is what we would base the current blood quantum requirement of 1/8 LCO, or half that blood can be from any Ojibwe Tribe. For example, any two person who were members in 1940 and married, there children would also be 100% full blood, but if they married outside the membership, then their children would be half-blood (50%). And if they married a non-tribal member and had children, then their child would be 25% quarters. But, if they married a full-blood, then their children would be 75% and so on.

"We have to do this for our children," Little Guy said. “Too many of our kids are missing out. They know where they are from but get left out and we have to address the issue of enrollment.”

Little Guy said the longer we wait, more and more of our children are being denied full participation in the Tribe they belong too.

The St. Croix Tribe recently went through the Secretarial Election process to make a handful of amendments to their tribal constitution, one of which was eliminating a blood quantum requirement and going to full lineal descendancy.

Conrad St. John of the St. Croix Tribal Council explained that their process was done through the BIA so that it was all recognized officially.

Little Guy said he believes that re-defining the 1940 base roll for membership would only need a vote of the LCO Tribal Governing Board because they aren’t eliminating blood quantum.

“I believe we declare the 1940 membership as full-blood’s and we go from there. The BIA can say you accepted blood quantum, so we’d have to go through the Secretarial Election process, but if we do it this way, then we are still recognizing blood quantum, but we establish the rules,” Little Guy said. He explained that they may be able to take our federal recognition if we just go total lineal descendancy without the BIA recognized Secretarial Election.

Little Guy also proposes that we recognize all Native blood for the other requirement and not just Ojibwe Tribes. If one of our young members goes off and marries an Apache, then that blood should count for their children to be members here as well, Little Guy explained.

Little Guy bases the idea on the 1940 census because that was when blood quantum was initiated and the people of LCO counted. He said we don’t even know who did the counting and how they determined who was a member or not. According to Little Guy, they could have just looked at people and said, okay, you’re a little lighter so you are just a quarter.

“It was very fractionated. We do it this way and we get it squared up and then eventually, we could do it again,” Little Guy said. “For now, this will get these kids enrolled, as it should be.”


What was the final decision on the Blood Quantum?


Little Guy’s proposal to change the LCO blood quantum requirement is to be commended.  The proposed method of declaring all LCO Members on the 1940 rolls as 100% blood quantum appears to be a BIA acceptable method that was used by the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of WI and the Red Lake Nation of MN Chippewa Tribes.  It appears all that is needed is the approval of the LCO Governing Board Members to make the change.

Such a blood quantum change would bring about significant educational opportunities to LCO Tribal Member’s children and grandchildren who currently do not meet the 1/8th blood quantum requirement to be LCO Members.

In Dec. of 2023, the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced a program to offer…


Blood quantum is for dogs and horses; not people. Applying conditions to blood quantum doesn't change the fact that it was imposed as an alternative to outright genocide, which the white Christian Europeans couldn't bring themselves to carry out directly without them fearing they'd go to hell. As the numbers bear out, blood quantum is indirect genocide. We need to banish it to the pages of history. There can be no compromise.


Am I eligible if my grandmother did not participate in tribal enrollment with the 1940 census, and my father was a bit too young to enroll without her involvement? My father and I both enrolled as soon as we proved the blood quantum we had and were accepted into the LCO membership.

I am glad to have the blood quantum changed. I hope my children can, again be considered part of the tribe!


I vote for little guy! it well keep our numbers strong in Lco, mille lacs did the numbers and it don't look nice after so many years...and who know how many children are missing out on our services to our people.. that's what it is all about...OUR PEOPLE..out of respect I say this my uncle Gordon Thayer always thought about the people.

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