contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

716 S. Los Angeles St.
Los Angeles, CA

(310) 489-3763

Kristen Dorsey Designs, LLC was founded in 2011 by Kristen Dorsey, an award-winning Chickasaw metalsmith living and working in Huntington Beach, CA. For Kristen, jewelry goes beyond ornamental adornment; it is a medium with which she has forged her cultural identity as a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, a Native American tribe originally from the southeast.  Utilizing natural gemstones, precious metals, and other materials, her handcrafted jewelry pieces are a unique mix of Chickasaw visual traditions infused with inspiration drawn from the beauty of the California Coast.  Dorsey’s philosophy is that “jewelry is a sacred narrative; it captures moments of significance for the wearer such as transitions in life, relationships with one another, and with one’s community, cultural identity, and spirituality.”

Blog

 

 

Blood Quantum Earrings

Kristen Dorsey

35_Dorsey.jpg

When Dr. Metcalfe of the witty and intelligent Blog Beyond Buckskin www.beyondbuckskin.blogspot.com asked me to create an earring design based off of my works "Are you on the Dawes Rolls?" and "Blood Bling" for my Beyond Buckskin Boutique Feature Week, I have to say I was super excited. As a blonde, blue-eyed enrolled Chickasaw citizen, I have never been a moment without an inner debate about my personal blood quantum fraction. These issues began early on when I was a small child who knew that she was Chickasaw but was afraid that she wouldn't be if she got a cut and bled out all of her "indian blood." Yes, unfortunately for many a Native American identity gets rather complicated and confusing. I believe that this is in-part caused by specific events in the history of colonization by the American government. After southeastern tribes survived the horrific ordeal of the Trail of Tears, they had to face further tactics of colonization and assimilation. These included land ownership and blood quantum (among others). After each removal, the Dawes commission wrote in their "official" books, the Dawes Rolls, documentation of each family in each tribe, detailing who was "full blood", "half blood", who was a non-Indian married to and Indian, and who was a "freedman". Based upon what was recorded, each family was assigned a plot of land to live on and develop in Indian territory, now the state of Oklahoma. Not only was the concept of land ownership foreign to the southeastern cultures, but the concept of blood quantum was as well. Blood Quantum was a euro-centric concept which was based upon the beleif that culture follows blood and that European bloodlines are stronger than Indian bloodlines so that eventually Indian cultures will cease to be passed down from generation to generation. Add in boarding schools, language loss, and Christianity and soon Native identities became more and more challenged and complex. Today many tribal nations use blood quantum or Dawes Rolls lineage to determine their membership requirements. For Nations that have seen recent economic success, it is necessary for them to have a system in place to weed out non-tribal descendants who are seeking benefits. Unfortunately there is no perfect way and because many people were purposefully left off of the Dawes Rolls (can't give out too much land to the tribes), their descendants can-not be tribal citizens today. Blood Quantum and the emotionally charged topic of Native American identities have made recent headlines, (Elizabeth Warren being one of them). With my Blood Quantum earrings I am diving right into the debate to challenge the public's notion of blood quantum and to ask the question of where this concept came from and how it affects our own cultural identities. Now you can buy and wear your "fraction" adorned with a barcode, no CDIB card necessary.

BQ12.jpg
BQ64.jpg
BQ2750.jpg

Hey there! Enter your email to be our VIP….
Because nobody wants to be the last to know!

* indicates required
A BI-MONTHLY VIP NEWSLETTER WILL BE DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX