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GREAT FALLS — A debate about just what it means to be a Blackfeet tribal member is taking place on the northwestern Montana reservation.

For the past 50 years, tribal eligibility has been determined by whether a person is at least one-quarter Blackfeet. That is, at least one grandparent must be a full-blooded Blackfeet.

But an organization is collecting signatures seeking to change that. Its members want eligibility to include anyone with proof of being the child, grandchild or great-grandchild of an enrolled tribal member.

The Great Falls Tribune reports that supporters say the change would mean greater inclusion and unity within the tribe. Those opposed say such a change would doom the tribe to eventual extinction.

Enrolled tribal members qualify for more educational, health-care and social services benefits than those unenrolled.

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