RED LAKE -- The Red Lake Tribal Council paved the way this week to strengthen the membership of its Native American nation.

The council's decision on Tuesday refers to the “blood degree” of tribal members. Essentially, every person who was an enrolled member of Red Lake Nation on Nov. 10, 1958 will now be considered a full-blood, or 4/4 blood degree, according to a release.

The council approved the vote with a 7-3 vote Tuesday. Although 11 elected tribal members comprise the council, Chairman Darrell Seki Sr. only votes in the case of a tie.

“Our decision at the council meeting to start moving away from blood quantum is the first step in creating a solution that will allow our people to carry on our ways forever,” said Red Lake Secretary Sam Strong, who initiated the change, in a press release. “Although it is a great first step, it is important to recognize that it is a first step and we need to continue to visit this enrollment issue until we can come to a consensus to end our current practice of mathematical genocide and move forward with a solution that will allow us to protect our nation forever.”

The 1958 base roll was selected because it is the most recent base roll. The 1958 enrollment list was developed by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, which listed the blood quantum of members at the time. As It stands today, the blood quantum standard requires members to have at least one fourth Red Lake ancestry to enroll in the tribe.

Completed applications for enrollment under this new amendment will be taken immediately and are due no later than Jan. 15, 2020, for a special enrollment meeting that will be held Jan. 29, 2020. All applicants must supply supporting documentation. More information about enrollment can be found at www.redlakenation.org. For questions, call (218) 679-3341.