Alaska Real: Todd Palin's indigenous roots
"Some myths, and questions, persist about Todd Palin's Yup'ik ancestry. A few: For starters, the PC terms (I know, I know, but we Alaskans have a set of our own terms, too) would be Yup'ik or (groan) Yup'ik Eskimo if the person is okay with it. Eskimo is not the most popular term to be used by non-"Eskimo" people in reference to them. Yup'ik is best.

NOT Inuit. NOT Native American. NOT American Indian. Alaska Native is acceptable. (I have a big ol' post about this, and the confusion of it, but just trust me on this. You'll make more Native friends this way.) Some of these terms are not even because of PC, but government distinctions.

As for the "ancestry," the numbers of his blood quantum I've heard range anywhere from 1/4 to 1/16. I've seen a few comments of "why does this matter?" Ah... the long raging politics of blood quantum!

We, as Native people, must show proof of Native blood for most things regarding Native services, organizations, or (in my case) jobs. To me, it sounds as though Todd must be 1/8 or less at least. Although he is a shareholder of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, all you need to be a shareholder is to inherit the shares (which he could have gotten from his grandmother or mother.)

What hasn't been mentioned is whether he is an enrolled member of a tribe. There are more stringent blood quantum requirements for some tribes. That they haven't said, "And a member of X tribe... or X village tribal organization..." is pretty telling.

What keeps being mentioned is that he is a descendant of a Yup'ik woman (his mother.) I didn't connect with why this kept coming up in American Indian (Lower 48) commentary until I realized that, as Alaska Native people, this is a very common term because of the corporations. For many services or memberships, you can either be an "original shareholder" or a "descendant." If you were not 1/4 blood quantum Alaska Native in December of 1971 or before, you could not be an original shareholder - which is why, though I have more than the required blood quantum, because I was not born earlier, I am not an original shareholder. I am a "descendant." The frequent mention of his mother and of his being a descendant tells me that he is used to signing on as a descendant, not an original enrollee, which means that, despite him being born before 1971, he was not 1/4 or more Yup'ik."

Get the Story:
Todd Palin and his heritage, the "Series of Tubes" looks at both the Palins (Alaska Real 9/19)

Another Story:
Todd Palin will not appear before Troopergate committee (The Anchorage Daily News 9/19)
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