Blood Line or Accepted Federal Government Standard for Blood Quantum

George C. Longfish, Seneca / Tuscorora / American, born 1942
Tuscarora (Haudenosaunee)
Seneca (Haudenosaunee)
Haudenosaunee (Iroquois)
Northeast Woodlands


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Six acrylic canvas panels

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Virginia and Preston T. Kelsey 1958 Fund



Place Made: United States, North America


21st century

Object Name


Research Area

Native American


Native American: Woodlands

Not on view


Painted, in black paint: RED MAN, FULL BLOOD, 1/2 BREED, 1/4 BLOOD, 1/8 BLOOD, 1/16 BLOOD


George Longfish’s representation of an assault on the popular biography of a blood-quantumed Indian suggests that "real" Natives fall into different levels of acceptance by non-Indian and federal government definition.

What is identity? Identity is complex and encompasses so many issues that cannot only be identified by the percentage of native blood. In the United States, tribal people are identified by blood quantum. The percentage of native blood dictates the acceptance of an individual as a Native American in the eyes of the government. Tribes are allocated funding from the government based on the numbers of tribal members. This form of identification does not reflect the individual’s cultural or tribal affiliation. This piece questions the use of blood quantum as opposed to cultural and tribal affiliation as a means for identification. —George Longfish

From the 2019 exhibition Portrait of the Artist as an Indian / Portrait of the Indian as an Artist, guest curated by Rayna Green

Course History

FREN 7, French Graphic Novels, Annabelle Cone, Spring 2013

ENVS 80, Writing Our Way Home: The Writing That Sustains Us, Terry Tempest Williams, Spring 2013

SOCY 7.2, Race and Ethnicity, Emily Walton, Spring 2014

SOCY 7.1, Race and Ethnicity, Emily Walton, Winter 2015

ANTH 3, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Spring 2019

Exhibition History

George Longfish: A Retrospective, The Montana Museum of Art & Culture, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, March 9-April 20, 2007; University Art Galleries, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota, May 15-June 29, 2007; UNI Gallery of Art, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, August 1-September 30, 2007; Art Department Gallery, Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana, November 1-December 31, 2007; Holter Museum of Art, Helena, Montana, January 1-April 15, 2008; Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls, Montana, October 1-November 15, 2008; South Dakota Art Museum, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, April 21-August 30, 2009; Museum of the Southwest, Midland, Texas, September 18-October 25, 2009.

Here-Now: Work by Regional Native American Artists, AVA Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire, October 14-November 11, 2011.

Portrait of the Artist as an Indian / Portrait of the Indian as an Artist, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-February 23, 2020.

Word and Image in Contemporary Art, Churchill P. Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 26-August 4, 2013.

Publication History

Kate Morris, The Emergence of Tsha' De Wa's: George Longfish: A Retrospective, Missoula: The University of Montana Press and Montana Museum of Art & Culture, p. 49, no. 23, 2007.


Ava Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire; sold to present collection, 2012.

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