…MY GRANDMOTHER WAS A CHEROKEE INDIAN PRINCESS…

…MY GRANDMOTHER WAS A CHEROKEE INDIAN PRINCESS…

Posted By Jamie K Oxendine November 18th, 2011 Last Updated on: January 21st, 2019

To any Native American that travels a great deal and attends and participants in a large number of cultural events, it would appear that everybody has an “Indian Princess” in the family. Usually, this person is a “Cherokee Indian Princess” … or at least it would seem so with the many stories one gets from the average and general public. Even more disturbing is this story is also widely told and used by Native Americans that claim they have a “Cherokee Indian Princess” as an ancestor. But not to be outdone and to show that other Native American Nations are not discriminated against, the story does not always have to be Cherokee…in many instances and especially since 2000 all Native American Nations/Tribes are included in stories that somebody has an “Indian Princess” of some Native American Nation/Tribe in their family.




But that aside, this really is a genealogy paper and thus with that beginning paragraph, it is one of Cherokee Genealogy.  This article is to help both anyone that feels they may be of Cherokee origins as well as help the Cherokee by hoping that many will read this and understand the viewpoints of Cherokee Genealogy per enrolled citizenship/membership. This, of course, does not mean that one cannot be Cherokee or of Cherokee heritage. While doing research for this paper and other projects in correspondence with the Cherokee Tribes, they all admit that there are many people of Cherokee Ancestry and Cherokee Blood that are not enrolled for many various reasons.

If one is looking at the official acknowledgment of being Cherokee here is the information they may need as put forward by the Cherokee Tribes:

THE CHEROKEE

As of 2011, there are 3 Federally recognized Cherokee Groups:

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in Tahlequah, OK.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, NC.

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Tahlequah, OK.

GUIDELINES

Tribal membership is a status of citizenship in a sovereign nation, AND –

In the United States only the Federal Government has the authority to recognize a sovereign foreign nation with foreign indicating a government other than the United States of America, AND –

For Federal, State and Common Law in all cases of American Indian citizenship, Tribal Law always governs the terms of citizenship/membership, AND –

The degree of “American Indian Blood” is irrelevant to Tribal citizenship/membership if a law has been established creating the different basis for enrollment as a citizen/member as not all Nations use a degree of “American Indian Blood” for citizenship/membership.

REQUIREMENTS

Requirements for citizenship/membership among the Cherokee greatly varies in both procedures and details. There are actual rules here and they can vary but basically, it involves being able to legally establish a Direct Lineal Descent from one that was enrolled in the official final rolls of citizens/members and a calculation of Certification of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB).

Direct Lineal Descent

This must be established by some type of legal documentation. This may include items such as state or court-ordered birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and or other legal documentation that justifies a direct lineal descent. One may also use a “judicial determination of heirs” which legally establishes the nearest enrolled relative.



Certification of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB)

This document is the process of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs. The minimum CDIB is established by each Federally Recognized Tribal Government and varies greatly even among Tribes that are of the same origins.

There may be many other requirements established by each individual tribal government.

REQUIREMENTS OF EACH CHEROKEE TRIBE

The current requirements for Cherokee citizenship/membership are as follows:

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma

1. Direct Lineal Descent from a Dawes Roll citizen/member

2. Any degree of Cherokee Blood Quantum

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Cherokee Tribal Ordinance #284 of June 24, 1996, states –

1. Direct Lineal Descent from a citizen/member of the Revised Baker Roll and 1924 Baker Roll

2. 1/16 degree of Cherokee Blood Quantum

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians

1. 1/4 degree of what is known as the “Old Settler” Keetoowah Cherokee Blood.

ISSUES

The above seems simple enough but one must realize that there were rules and or regulations long before these especially since Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma uses a final Dawes Roll of 1906, The Eastern Band of Cherokee uses a 1924 Baker Roll and the Keetoowah Band uses a Base Roll of 1949.

Anyone of Cherokee descent has heard the phrases Dawes, Baker and even Old Settler when referring to being Cherokee. They are rolls and or census based on Acts established to count and keep track of the Cherokee starting in the early 19th Century.

BAKER ROLLS 

This is the final roll of the Eastern Cherokee as prepared by U.S. Agent Fred A. Baker by an act of The 68th U.S. Congress on June 4, 1924. Before this roll, the Act had required that all land, money, and property of the Eastern Cherokee be transferred to the United States for final disposition. The goal, of course, was total termination of the Eastern Cherokee as a government, people, and political entity. This total termination failed however but the Eastern Cherokee continued to use the 1924 Baker Roll as its base roll and Baker Revised Roll as its final roll. Descendants of those persons of the original Baker Roll are enrolled on the Baker Revised Roll and they must also meet the other citizenship/membership requirements of the Eastern Cherokee.

DAWES ACT & FOLLOWING ACTS 

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma are enrolled as follows:

Citizens/Members by blood

Citizens/Members by marriage

Citizens/Members enrolled by an Act of Congress in 1914

Delaware Indians adopted by the Cherokee

Freedmen

Minor citizens/members by blood

Minor freedmen

New born citizens/members by blood

New born freedmen

The original enrollment closed September 1, 1902 with additional children added until March 4, 1906.

NEWER ENROLLMENTS

The requirements for enrollment in the Cherokee after the Dawes Act include:

One must appear on previous tribal rolls of 1880 or 1896.

One must have applied between 1899-1906.

 One must have a permanent residence within the Cherokee Nation in the 14 Northeast counties of Oklahoma.

 Any ancestors that separated from the Cherokee Nation and settled in the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas now lost their citizenship within the Cherokee Nation.

Only enrolled members of the Cherokee Nation named on the Final Rolls and their descendants are issued Certificates of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) and Tribal Citizenship/Membership.

Certificates of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) are only issued via the natural parents. In any cases of adoption, the quantum of American Indian Blood must be proven through the natural biological parents back to the originally enrolled ancestor. For all adoption claims a copy of the Final Degree of Adoption along with a State Certified Birth Certificate/Record must accompany the application for Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB).

All other Cherokee citizenship/membership rules were basically extinguished by the actions taken around and after the final rolls.

THE “OLD SETTLERS” ENROLLMENTS

The “Old Settlers” was those Cherokee that was removed freely (not a forced march) to what was known as Indian Territory under the treaties of 1817 and 1819. One must remember that Indian Territory then was what is now Arkansas. Settlements for these Cherokee were between the Arkansas River and White River.

What became known as the “Old Settlers” were identified by two census rolls: The Emigration Roll of 1817 and the Old Settler Roll of 1851. The 1817 Emigration Roll became a list of all Cherokee that freely chose to move to Indian Arkansas Territory. The 1851 Old Settler Roll included all from the 1817 Emigration Roll that was still alive in 1851 and living in what was now Indian Territory of Oklahoma. The main body of the Cherokee Nation had now been in this new Indian Territory of Oklahoma since 1839 by forced removal. Remember Arkansas became a state in 1836 but Oklahoma stayed Indian Territory almost until it was admitted to the Union in 1907.

Only the Cherokee on the 1851 census that was also enrolled under the Dawes Commission retained citizenship/membership. So any Cherokee on both the 1817 Emigration Roll and The 1851 Old Settler roll became officially known as “Old Settlers” because they had resided in the older Indian Territory of Arkansas between 1817 and 1840 at them moved to the “new” Oklahoma Indian Territory after Arkansas became a state and within a few years of the main body of the Cherokee being established in Oklahoma after forced removal from the South East.

As one can see, dates and territorial/state lines became a very important aspect of who was and who was not Cherokee.

CONCLUSION

The Cherokee Tribes admit that there are many people that are “of Cherokee Ancestry and Blood” that can trace and document their ancestry and maybe even blood quantum to earlier generations who were at one time Cherokee citizens/members. Due to a great deal of internal strife and civil war among the Cherokee in the mid-19th Century, these ancestors lost their citizenship/membership as a result of many various choices and decisions made by both them, the Tribal Governments, State Governments and most importantly and most sadly the Federal Government. For the most part, this “loss” came about due to something as simple as where one chose to live. In many other cases, it came about due to agreements and disagreements on treaties or other documents.

Because of both Federal and Tribal Law, large numbers of people who were of Cherokee heritage lost their citizenship/membership at the time of the respective final rolls. There are many reasons for this and it has been a much heated debated for over 200 years. Opinions vary greatly in this argument as there has never been any type of official census on those that lost their Cherokee citizenship/membership due to the guidelines and requirements of said citizenship/membership.

Of course, ask anyone that truly feels and believes they are Native American and or Cherokee and they will resoundingly tell you that all of the above is not the Native way of saying one is or one is not Native American and thus Cherokee. This makes logical sense since even the Cherokee admit that the system of citizenship/membership did not even exist until the governments (both Tribal and Federal had to establish such guidelines). But as anyone knows and as Nakeysha A. Kemp (Enrollment Clerk of The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) states if we do not have such measures then anyone and everyone could claim Cherokee enrollment and the Tribe would have millions of members.

Finally, who is and who is not Cherokee sometimes comes down to whether one signed or did not sign certain Tribal, State and Federal papers and where one lived during certain dates. There is no legal documentation process for non-Cherokee to be citizens/members. Not one of the 3 Federally Recognized Cherokee Groups offers any kind of recognition process for descendants of any individuals that surrendered their citizenship/membership. This includes any that may have “disappeared” from any Tribal, State, and Federal records, rolls, census or other official papers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Various correspondences via phone, e-mail, and U.S. Mail from March 2011 to November 2011 and updated information from November 2014 to February 2015 with:

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in Tahlequah, OK.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, NC.

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Tahlequah, OK.

Interviews with:

Nakeysha A. Kemp, Enrollment Clerk, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee, NC

Chenaust Whiteman, Special Assistant, Cherokee Nation Tribal Registration, Tahlequah, OK


Home » Native American Articles » Native American Genealogy » …MY GRANDMOTHER WAS A CHEROKEE INDIAN PRINCESS…

About Jamie K Oxendine

Jamie K. Oxendine, of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, is the Native American Liaison and Education Consultant for Ohio University in Athens. Ohio. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toledo teaching “Indians of North America” and at Lourdes University teaching “Native American Culture” for the Lifelong Learning Center. A frequent speaker on Native American topics, he serves as the director of the Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation in Ohio. As a recording artist, he was three times been nominated for a NAMMY (Native American Music Award).



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[…] myth is very common. If you really think you are a descendent, I encourage you to visit this link: https://www.powwows.com/my-grandmother-was-a-cherokee-indian-princess/. Meanwhile, a number of posts about this myth have by consolidated by Cyndi’s List here: […]

Youbet

They will” Never!” go away!

Diane

If your great great, great, great, great grandpa was crazy horse and also had the creator of Crazy Horse statue who had 8 family members in your blood line who were Indian and you had 89 percent Indian American native blood would you be considered mostly American and protected Indian? A friend was telling me this I think it is really cool and beautiful to say the least! Our Indians were the some of the most intelligent land protects, workers and we still need them and we should have learned form them instead of fighting them and taken their lives/land away from them!!!

Adam Hovey

My great great grandfather was born in Indian Territory and is apparently on the Dawes roll. For better or for worse, I am not currently enrolled in any tribe. (My mother is a mixed blood, my father had Sauk and Lakota ancestry). That said, I think the Cherokee Nation needs to chill out with the “Fraudulent” Indian task force. I agree there are groups that really are fraudulent, but not everyone who claims to be Cherokee is lying about it. I think they should at least give state recognized (Cherokee) tribes the benefit of the doubt in historical Cherokee homelands.

Rae

Wow, this was enlightening to read. Obviously, I am a few years behind the original posting of this information. As enlightening as all of this information is, it leaves me with warm feelings and my own genealogical trail of tears. While many would agree that NA’s got a raw deal and lost their homelands (replacement lands are not the same as the land of birth), they were also wronged by so many governmental acts of greed. The way in which the government handled the NA’s is horrible, to say the least. Like many, my NA heritage is not questionable in my mind. I have found all of the paper trail documentation and have the oral traditions of my heritage. I feel a sense of mourning for having been kept away from my NA cultural heritage. One of my ancestors actually filed a law suit against the state of South Carolina, in order to secure the right to claim his mother’s NA heritage. Ultimately, he won the right to have his matrilineal heritage honored. I have always been told it was Cherokee but cannot be certain of whether it was Choctaw or another tribe. As it turns out, the census taker rules and regulations left much to their own discernment. What I have found are references to mulatto. According to the directions given to the census takers, they were free to determine what to indicate and Indian (NA) was not an option until later years. According to the Federal government standards, NA’s were exempt from paying taxes. So it behooved the local agencies to group everyone into the mulatto category whereby taxes were assessed. As a result, generations of NA’s were lost in the mulatto category and separated from their heritage. I am now working on the other side of this family line to find documentation on another NA ancestor. On the one side of my family I have all the verification I need and one of their wives is listed on the Dawes Roll. I just do not know exactly how to determine whether they were Choctaw or another group. I am uncertain as to where to begin to find such answers. The Federal bureaucracy created a mess of the Cherokee. I would love to be able to apply for Cherokee status but do not think my documentation would be approved. That is fine, as I know in my heart from where my roots come as well as the paper trails that prove it. I even have a photograph of an older NA ancestor for who’s name is unknown. Meanwhile, I cannot help but feel a sense of loss in being kept away from the Cherokee culture to which I should have been privy. Not only did bureaucracy ruin this bridge to my ancestry but also the social stigmas that were created. It is a shame that so many NA’s that assimilated into the local population or were admix with african american mulatto slaves have been lost and made to feel they had to hide their roots because of being classified as mulattoes and being treated as less than human. I have always been intrigued and many might say naturally drawn to NA culture and would love to be more a part of this culture in the course of my life. I am discovering more and more of the things my grandmother (b. 1901) taught me were of the NA tradition, including medicinal home remedies. Sadly, an entire continent of NA human beings faced extinction or adaptation to the invaders of their lands. It is also sad that the demand to establish guidelines by the Federal Government has also closed many doors to NA descendants. I cannot help but to think these were deliberately intended to limit the population numbers of NA’s and thus exercise more control over their existence. It is not as though I can simply attend a local Pow Wow and begin learning about all the cultural things I have missed out on during my lifetime. Of course I have read a great deal about NA Cherokee culture, but it is not the same as living a culture. Truly, I mourn for the loss of my cultural ancestry by means of first hand experience and communal bonding. Personally, this is a genealogical “Trail of Tears” for me.

jessica

My grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Howard Palmer, her mother was Amanda Elizabeth Welker Cutright, her mother was Patience Cheek Welker, her father is Randolph Welker he was said to be pure cherokee how do i go about finding out for sure. Her sister was Elizabeth Tignor Cheek Lee. They all look indian. I have heard stories but want proof. Thank you

Little Feather

There were NO Cherokee Princesses. There were “Miss Cherokee’s”, but NO Cherokee Princesses. I am part Cherokee and Powhatan.

Delaware decendant and cdib card carrier

I am actually going to spend every moment of my time that my family can afford me to spare to make sure all American Native Decendants that are registered and recognized by the American government have the right to free education at reputable and accredited institutions. I believe it is the least America can Doctor all the out right mishandling of the civil rights of every American Indian family since the very beginning of our great country. Just a little fact did you happen to know that American Indians are the only race in America that is issued federal I.D.’s to prove their heritage.

Delaware decendant and cdib card carrier

In my recent search of my family heritage to be able to pass on family history and traditions that have been forgotten over the past couple hundred years mostly the last hundred is most detrimental to my family tree mainly when our American government through congressional hearings in the mid to late eighteen hundreds stole my family’s deeds to the land that was forever ours according to documents signed by th President of the country and Delaware tribal leaders to name a couple John Connor who was chief during that time,and also John Sarcoxie assistant to chief Connor who happened to be my great grandmothers father when after a long investigation into the troops at post Leavenworth found that the post commander and supporting staff undermined the laws handed down from Secretary of State to the war department on how to handle settlers trying to stake claims on Federally protected Indian reserves. Their job was to remove any and all settlers that either accidentally or by just pure ignorance of the treaty’s that were already in affect. And threw multiple correspondence letters and out right accusations that in the end proved to be correct mind you threw proper due process not because the Officers told the truth and accepted there guilt no and this is not a rant of made up info all the deeds for the land I have mentioned and war department correspondence letters between all the officers and Commanding General of said office including secretary of states findings and his orders to the war dpt. To arrest and detain said officers and strip them of any government benefits and furthermore confiscate all land and building rights gained by these men for using post Leavenworth as a staging point to start a town while using government funds meant for military operations to pay men to work and clear land for the start of their own town on Indian land that they were supposed to be policing against settlers that might try what they did. Every bit so far is backed up by our own government in past documents all filed and accessible with no security clearance needed since it is so far in the past. Well I read all this and was starting to feel like something was going in the Delaware’s favor but as I was going down the congressional hearing notes and reading about all these findings that America was about to fix their wrong doing all of a sudden after the secretary of States demand to arrest the post commander and supporting staff. Was the last document of multiple correspondence letters being openly brought up in the hearings with all the proof needed everything came to a halt and it was asked if anyone from the Delaware tribe was present to stake claim to all the findings and and show that there is reason to go forward in the matter one man answered the man that was there to defend the tribes claim with land deeds in hand but since our government leaders found a loophole they nullified presidentially signed deeds and dropped the case in favor of American settlers and crooked officers of post Leavenworth because the man sent to defend the Delawares rights was not a signatory on the deeds and not of Indian decent. Immediately he asked for another hearing to overturn the congressional decision and was pretty much brushed off.
Well this is just one of my findings of to many more to describe of how our American government has dealt with Native Americans and taken mostly everything they could from them and stand up straight look you in the eye and say oops ya it looks bad but that little technicality that gave us the right to go back on the words of presidential hand shakes which where I live is as good as a signed contract is not the proper way to treat people that without their help in pivotal battles against the British all Americans excluding myself and probably most of the North East tribes descendants would be Brittish still to this day I excluded myself and many other Indians cause if you know about our history the north eastern Indians taught Settlers gorilla warfare and fought alongside them to beat the Brittish when they attacked from Atlantic seaboard and inland from the great lakes oh did most people forget so patriotic people who have the Gaul to tell Indians to stop whining and be grateful for what American soldiers have done since and think of the libertys they afford us now so forget about your great great great whatever princess or chief need to probably study a little more American History and maybe then you will realize the luxury’s that anyone living in U.S.A. We’re donated by members of my American Indian ancestors and we should all be thankful that when they gave someone their word they would stand by it I don’t believe they even ever tried to steal anything from settlers they were to busy trying to figure out all the magic tricks the white man kept coming up with in order to suppress and eradicate a race of people without looking like they were breaking any laws.
Here is another fact the white settlers were so advanced in contract and deed work if they wanted something they could of had Natives giving up everything for a piece of paper that white scholars say is a legal I breakable contract and they actually did over and over and over till the Natives were left with a 10th of what was theirs to start. In what reality in any society would you have me believe that 10% of the worst land in this country is more than enough payment for the 90% you decide to keep and then do contractual fraud and I say that because if two people enter into a contract where one side is knowingly making sure that they get what they want and can change it in there favor anytime any good person would say that if you don’t understand get a lawyer to help. Our own government would get them a lawyer then just when that starts to happen let’s wait and find any technicality that we could use against the idiot we offered to help. Damn I can not believe men that wrote the constitution which is legal binding to this day also wrote treaty’s ,deeds for land signed w/presidential seals didn’t write them in the U.S.’s favor. Believe me I am a true American Patriot While being the best native I can it actually hurts me inside that after reading all the documents available people can’t or just flat out won’t accept the fact that the original Settlers were Bonified master crooks and to this day America still won’t give the Native family’s A 10th of what they owe them.
From today forward I am going to find a way to start a foundation for the education of Native American students and their write to free college tuition from any school that is on property that was ever recognized on any map as native land. Really it is the least all Americans could do for what was lost by way of trickery and deceit of our highest members of office since before those offices existed.

Alyssa Harford

Disclaimer: I will first start by saying that I am not researched enough or informed enough to debate this topic. With that being said, I will only grant my opinion on the topic, which is nothing more than personal logic with complete disregard for politics.
I think it is necessary for there to be so many regulations regarding Native American Descent and claims on bloodlines. If you are a descendant of a Cherokee tribe and the blood runs through your veins, yet your ancestors ran away from their tribe, or conceded to the new government in order to ensure their survival (although understandable), this is not necessarily a nobel act and did nothing to ensure the survival of the tribe. Therefore, how can you be so quick to claim your place among a tribe and feel a certain entitlement or right to the heritage, if in fact your ancestors did nothing to ensure the survival of the culture? I wouldn’t/couldn’t be proud to know my ancestors ran away to seek refuge instead of fighting on behalf of their family, for their tribe. If Any country decided to overthrow Our current government, terrorists per se, would you automatically claim their religion? Agree to abide by the new laws set forth by their government? Would you abandon your pride as An American just to live another day? Would you be so quick to forsake and forget all of the American lives lost in all of the wars and battles fought to protect our freedoms and our way of life? If you would then, in my not so humble opinion, you do not deserve the right to call yourself an American. So to relate, If the same thing happened to the Native Americans, and they chose to assimilate, then they made the choice to be seen as every other multi-cultural American and therefore do not deserve the right to claim that proud heritage. None of us still living fought in those wars, stop trying to take credit for something your ancestors didn’t have a hand in preserving. The right of cultural pride is reserved for only those worthy of it.

A'lul'koy_Chumash_Native

Your words ring of truth and I agree wholeheartedly. If your ancestors chose to assimilate by choice into mainstream American society, you’re more than likely are white Americans, with all the privileges that come with that. You weren’t forcefully removed from your homelands, but the Cherokee were. They were removed from their ancestral homelands to hopefully die in Indian country. The people now claiming Cherokee ancestry are now living in the Cherokees ancestral homelands, a luxury that was not afforded to the the real Cherokee. Now these same people who think they are Cherokee and should have all the rights of the Cherokee who were forced to walk the trail of tears like cattle in the dead of winter. These are the ones who are attempting to appropriate Cherokee culture, lands, heritage and other people’s ancestors. They are the ones who are indignant at being excluded now by the Cherokees in Oklahoma, so now are attempting to create fake state recognized Cherokee culture clubs in the Cherokee homelands and all other states in the union. There are a few Fake Cherokee culture clubs in California who are trying to appropriate California Native homelands, who are nothing but wannabes white American descendants Who’s ancestors came here during the gold rush to dispossess the California Natives, create state militias that collected scalps of men, women and children after genociding them, who the government paid millins of dollars out for white men to clear the land and state of hundreds of separate nations. The California genocide of its indigenous people. Their ancestors cleared the land of the California Natives, their descendants are now claiming to be Cherokees Indians of tuolumme meadows in the Sierra Nevadas, once again disposessig the true heirs of that region, the Miwok Natives. Disgusting!

Rebecca Canales

A’lul’koy_Chumash_Native

You sound so full of hatred.

Rae

To: Alyssa Harford and A’lul’koy_Chumash_Native
MY DISCLAIMER: I respond with my opinions that were once similar to yours until I had done more extensive research on the issue. Alyssa, I appreciate your candor opinion and the respectable way in which you presented your perspective. Quite often, viewpoints need to be seen from various other angles as well. If indeed, someone chose deliberately to turn their back on their own people and refuse to fight for their peoples’ rights, I would agree that their actions were less than honorable. However, the situation was not simply that black and white. There are other considerations that go unnoticed and not taken into account. Early in the colonial period, there was a great deal of trading with colonist as well as intermarriage. This was the case with Mataoka aka Amonite (better known by her girlhood nickname of Pocahontas) when she married Englishman, John Rolfe. There was no racial bias to this marriage at that time or many other similar marriages. Racism grew out of human greed. As time went on slavery further drew out a level of avarice that cost too many lives. Many Native Americans traded goods for the African slaves. Other Native Americans traded their Native American slaves (usually prisoners of war) to plantation owners. Many plantation owners took these female Native American slaves as wives. Such was the case with a plantation owner in the Louisiana territory by the name of Michael Fowler. He owned a Native American woman who he took as a wife, even having her live in the house with him as his wife. Michael Fowler treated his children like any other white man would and gave them his name as well as included them in his will. Although the children of this relationship were considered “free”, they were classified as mulattos and census takers refused to distinguish them or other manumitted Native Americans slaves as anything other than mulatto. His daughter, Isabella Fowler is listed on the Dawes Roll. She was married off at a young age to another slave owner and with the demise of her own mother, she had no way of knowing from where she came or who her next of kin would have been. Some of these Native American slaves had been enslaved for decades when they were quite young. In the event they finally attained free status, exactly how were they supposed to be reunited with their Native American families, when they often were taken at such young ages and moved or sold to areas of the county unknown to them? Many other Native American children were taken from their clans with promises that the white men would educate them and send them to school. That turned out to be nothing more than a boarding school compound/orphanage for these children and often they had no means to reunite with family ever again. The same was true for many of the Asian indentured servants. Benjamin Franklin demonstrated very well that if a people are divided they will crumble. Thus, united we stand and divided we fall. This is exactly what happened to the Native Americans. Wars between the Native tribes were instigated. Wars with the European invaders were on-going. This continued until there were only 5 tribes left with limited populations. They were divided and conquered. Although these 5 tribes ultimately came together in an effort to unite and establish a peace treaty with the government, it was too late in the game. These were the peoples left with which the government made a treaty to send them on the Trail of Tears and export everyone to reservation lands that were not part of their known homelands. As the Cherokee walked the horrible and often fatal Trail of Tears, some of their black slaves walked right beside them. The tribal leaders had no choice left if they were going to save their people from complete annihilation. They begrudgingly accepted the terms to be relegated to reservations. For the most part, they did very much the same thing A’lul’koy Chumash Native accuses those forced into assimilating into a foreign culture of having done. Not all situations are as black and white as some may think. Generations of Native Americans were forcibly admixed into the lower class of the established American states and territories and most often were alone. One of my other ancestors was an indentured Japanese man who eventually earned his freedom. He took for his wife, a Amerindian woman he bought out of slavery. It is important to consider all circumstances and contemplate what one would do if forced into the same situation. A’lul’koy_Chumash_Native, have you ever considered that many who are so anxious to reunite with their Amerindian roots are also victims of the original cause that destroyed indigenous Native American life? From that perspective, one might also conclude that generations of people were forcibly assimilated and would speak volumes about an entirely different group of Native American victims. Refusing to acknowledge those that legitimately fell into this category is no better than what our ancestors had to endure. I will acknowledge there are many immoral and unethical souls out there that exploit others. At the same time, there are also many moral and ethical individuals who led movements to right the wrongs of society. My ancestors were among those that were forcibly assimilated into the society of the time. Yet, one of them went as far as suing the government for the right to claim their Native American heritage and forced the government to begin including “Indian” as an option on the census reports. I am hardly considered a white American. In fact, I have been considered many other things but most often I am asked if I am Native American. DNA results prove my heritage in spite of the fact that I do not know exactly where my ancestor was originally born. I only know she was enslaved and bout out of slavery to become some man’s wife. Meanwhile, I follow some of the Native American cultural news. There are many more officers and tribal leaders that are whiter than I am. Please do not tell me they did not have various intermarital occurrences in their ancestry. Are they more Native American than I because they had the privilege of learning their culture? What of the African Americans that were assimilated in the Native American culture due to enslavement or lack of choices for survival? Does that make them less Native American? So maybe I was lost in the governmental bureaucracy of times past and do not know how to speak Cherokee. I do have the oral traditions passed down to me. I know what I am in my soul. The bottom line is that I choose to be a part of the solution rather than be a part of the problem. I would have to agree with Rebecca Canales’ recognition of bitterness and hatred. If we as a society continue to play the blame game by grouping everyone into the same category based on assumptions, then we are just as guilty of promulgating unwarranted bitterness and hatred. This makes no one any better than those that exploited humanity for their own gains, goals, and missions. There is no better time than the present to begin thinking in terms of United Native Americans, no matter the tribe or history from which they come.

Jennifer

Does this make it a little like having Polish ancestry but not official Polish citizenship? Is this a diaspora?

Steve Smith

Those mixed bloods who passed for white prior to 1830 did so out of pure survival. They refused to bow down to the government and to be driven like cattle to Indian Territory. So now their descendants can’t claim Cherokee ancestry because of that? That is pretty ignorant. It is the ancestors of those who are enrolled who chose to bow down to the white government and receive a prison camp card. There are some who hid, but still practiced their heritage in secret. And others did not. They couldn’t own lands, vote, work, etc, if they claimed to be Native American. To claim mixed blood in the South was like having a death wish. So please, don’t try to discourage those whose ancestors who ran away to try to reclaim their heritage because it won’t work.

Rae

Steve Smith, I agree with you. I know I also posted a response that is rather lengthy, but I do hope you can take a moment to read it.

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