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White Earth members vote on blood quantum rule

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The White Earth Band of Ojibwe (oh-JIB'-wee) is voting on whether to scrap a rule that says tribal membership is based on blood, not family lineage.

The "blood quantum" rule is used by many American Indian tribes in the U.S. The White Earth Band and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe adopted in back in 1963.

Voting Tuesday on a proposed constitution would do away with the requirement that tribal members be at least one-quarter American Indian.

University of Minnesota-Duluth American Indian Studies assistant professor Jill Doerfler tells Minnesota Public Radio News the new enrollment criteria could double or even triple membership in the White Earth band. Doerfler says the vote is a "historic moment" for the band.

There are currently about 19,000 members of the White Earth.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.