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2+ Year Member
Apr 8, 2017
Hi Everyone,

I'm applying this round and getting very excited now that my AMCAS application is nearing completion. I'm applying as Native American/Alaska Native (I listed my tribe on my application) and White. I'm an enrolled member of federally-recognized tribe. I’m very light-skinned and I spend a lot of time in non-Native circles trying to justify my identity to non-Native people. A primary focus of my PS is my identity and my participation in tribal activities. These are things that I am very much looking forward to talking about in my interviews if they come up and have had a large influence on my journey into medicine, hence my openness with them in my PS. However, I’m worried that, when I get to interviews and Adcoms see my white skin and features, implicit bias may lead them to:

1) categorize me as a pretendian (someone claiming Native identity for personal benefit) and thereby discredit my honesty/identity/character

2) ask me to prove my tribal enrollment on the spot (which I can do if I bring my tribal ID)

3) Ask me “how much” I am ... a question I really don't like and almost always try to side-step/redirect when coming from a non-Native person (I have Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood, but I just find it offensive to have to justify the “degree” of my heritage to non-Native individuals, like a dog or racehorse). In my opinion it'd be highly inappropriate and unprofessional to be asked this question in an interview, but I wonder if it's a possibility I should be prepared for?

I’ve been told by folks here on SDN that if I’m “actually” Native, or as long as I’m in a federally-recognized tribe, that I’m fine. But how do Adcoms go about verifying those things?

I’m primarily looking for advice on two things:

1) What to expect on interview day, primarily from non-Native adcoms (i.e. are worries 1,2, and 3 listed above legitimate or would those things never happen?)

2) Should I bring my tribal ID with me, just in case?

I'm looking for advice primarily from Adcoms and/or other Natives in the field, but all voices and input are welcome.


medical shmedical
2+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2017
Medical Student
I'd be surprised if they asked for it, but if you carry it with you it's one less thing to be worried about
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