Documenting Blood Quanta

Posted By BrokenClaw on November 13, 2009

Recently I received an email from a grandchild of Mary Anna Rich (born 1899). He told me that he was contesting tribal records with regard to his grandmother’s blood quantum, which was officially changed from full-blood to 7/8th sometime after the 1950s. He was requesting my assistance in finding documentation that his grandmother was indeed full-blood Otoe-Missouria, as the daughter of Ben and Julia Mahee Rich. He indicated that Ben and Julia’s other child, Frank Rich, is still listed as full-blood in tribal records.

I doubted that I could provide any documents with sufficient authority to overturn official tribal records. Nevertheless, having been through genealogy research on my own family, I was familiar with the issues, so I decided to see what I could find out about his grandmother.

The first problem is that old records of blood quanta are not always reliable, and the tribe has routinely corrected previous records. My grandfather, Dewey Washington Dailey (1901-1986), was an allottee on the second allotment schedule and was always listed as full-blood up through the 1960s, when the tribe changed his official blood quanta to 7/8th, based on the fact that one of his great-grandparents was white. Dewey’s mother, Belle Robedeaux (1878-1939), was the daughter of Antoine Robedeaux (1847-1903), who was presumably the son of a Frenchman named Robedeaux. It is generally accepted that surnames such as Robedeaux and DeRoin among the Otoe-Missouria and Ioway tribes are the result of this same type of parentage.

Mary “Anna” Rich is enumerated on the 1900 US Census as full-blood, and I’m sure she was considered full-blood by the tribe. With regard to her parentage, the evidence is overwhelming, but circumstantial. Ben and Julia Rich are enumerated on the 1899 and 1900 Tribal censuses as husband and wife, and “Annie” first appears on the 1900 Tribal census as Ben’s 1 yr-old daughter.

Keep in mind that I was not raised on the reservation, so my observations and conclusions are based on academic research without the benefit of personal experience. But it seems to me that the real issue here is that in earlier times, many people who were considered full-blood were not actually full-blood. Historically, descendants of half-breed children who were raised within the tribe and married within the tribe, after two or three generations, eventually were culturally accepted again as full-blood.

I don’t have any documentation other than family history from others, but I believe Mary Anna Rich’s mother, Julia Mahee (born c.1875), was the daughter of Harry and Laura DeRoin Mahee. Again, Julia is consistently enumerated as a full-blood. However, her mother, Laura DeRoin (born c.1852) was the daughter of John and Rozella DeRoin, who were quite likely not full-bloods. In fact, the list of allottees on the Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation in 1860 includes a Rozella DeRoin and several men named John DeRoin. The fact that they were using familial surnames in the mid-1800s is more evidence that they were not full-bloods. It’s quite possible that both John DeRoin and his wife, Rozella, were the children of white fathers and Otoe-Missouria mothers. If that were the case, it would make Mary Anna Rich, their great-granddaughter, 7/8th Otoe-Missouria.

I don’t know why the tribe would still have Frank Rich listed as full-blood. It may be as simple as the fact that he died without descendants before the tribe became more diligent about blood quanta, so there was no reason to change it.


6 Responses to “Documenting Blood Quanta”

  1. yvonne says:

    Aho Thank you very much for your input Bertha . The documentation I have is the original from the Pawnee sub agency may 1955. I don’t understand how someone can change the Blood Quantum of some one .You can’t Before my Grand mother passed away Nov ,6, 11. S he told me fight for who you are and your right to be recognized as an Otoe . And I’m doing just that ! My grandmother Dorthy rich Butler was buried in oklahoma with her family she always said I want to go home to be with my people and that’s where she laid to rest . Looking through more paperwork I came a cross written statement’s from tribal members julia Big shoulder’s Pickering rich Munro Otoe allottee # 145 is of 4/4 Otoe her father being Oo-na–dah-na son of mohee unallotted by reson that he died.. befor allottement and Julia mother Laura Rebudeaux Otoe allottee No 275 4/4 full blood Otoe. And this is a Nortary signed papper. Im going to add one more this is where some one took it upone them self or human error .I have 2 papper’s one from the chilocco Indian school where my gramy went to school and the date state’s JULY,20, 1977 as Dorthy Bulter to be of 1/2 Otoe and this where it gets well the Date on the 2nd papper state’s JULY,19 ,1977 FROM THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE iNTERIOR, STATE’S THAT SHE IS OF 7/16 Otoe . How can you be 1/2 one day and the next your 7/16 please some one answer this for me .thank you And aho T he Otoe way

  2. yvonne says:

    Im writting in regards to the post of mary ann rich that is my great grandmother . Her daughter Dorthy Bulter is my grandmother And her daughter sharon triplett is my mother I have all my grandmother legal papper work stating of are bloodline this is where i feel somthing not right because each papper states a differnt blood quanta .As my grandmother passed away nov,6 / 2011 / in californa and was buried in washangua cementry . I have a orginal documation from the pawnee sub-agency may 27 1955 statment . saying the parents of ben rich (ka-the-na-the & wa-she-wa-he ) And the father & mother juila pipsteam rich were ( Oe-na-dah-na ) and laura rule Otoe Its state,s The records having shown that all the befor mentioned percent and grandparents of mary anna rich bulter were Otoes of no-mixed blood , it is therefor deemed that mary anna rich bulter is also an Otoe of 4/4 degree blood sign by John L. Johnson if anyone has information to help me out please (951) 928-9403 aks for sharon I am an Otoe missouria and I would be proud to be reconized as one

  3. Bertha Butler says:

    Is a birth certificate not considered by the government as a true document? Carl Butler is the son of Mary Anna Rich. His birth certificate states that he is 1/2 degree Indian blood. Also, in researching the Ioway tribe, it was determined that some Indians that took the white mans name was actually of the Ioway tribe. Because these tribes originated from the same origine, the government determined them to be as one as the same. That would once again change the blood quanta. The Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington considers the Federal Census Document to be true. Not only did the government recognize Mary Rich as a full blood in the 1900 census but recognized her as a full blood up until the final census done in 1930. I have a copy of this document from the archive that is on file in Washington.

  4. Bertha Butler says:

    I have also done extensive research into this question. Sometimes we over look small but important key words. Only 21 individuals in the second and final report were determined not to be full blood. Also, Indians were required by the government to take on a white mans name. Many Indians picked a random name according to those whom they looked up to. Picking a white mans name did not change your degree of Indian blood or your heritage. If the Federal government would acknowledge an Indian as full blood on a legal documentation recognized by the government then what gives any one the right to deny their full heritage. We accepted and recognize the treaties they signed with the tribes as being final and true didn’t we? It clearly stated on the list of those placed on the Nemaha Reservation that it could not prove or disprove who was truly full blood and who is mixed blood. We all accept the governments decisons every day of our lives so why the disagreement with their decison on degree of Indian blood. The Otoe tribe has alot to gain by fixing this. Many Otoe’s are waiting to be accepted to the roll and deserve to be recognized.

    • yvonne says:


  5. Ashlee says:

    Do you have any documents about Sarah Moore and William Faw Faw???

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