Blood politics, ethnic identity, and racial misclassification among American Indians and Alaska Natives

Misclassification of race in medical and mortality records has long been documented as an issue in American Indian/Alaska Native data. Yet, little has been shared in a cohesive narrative which outlines why misclassification of American Indian/Alaska Native identity occurs. The purpose of this paper is to provide a summary of the current state of the science in racial misclassification among American Indians and Alaska Natives. We also provide a historical context on the importance of this problem and describe the ongoing political processes that both affect racial misclassification and contribute to the context of American Indian and Alaska Native identity.