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Old 04-19-2006, 01:42 PM   #12
Wojapi4Me
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Interesting Read

Ok...this essay supports the thoughts of Emmy and several others. Found this as I googled Cherokee Blackfoot...check it out...

Cherokee-Blackfoot stories
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Back in 1991 i moved to Chattanooga from Minneapolis. Two years later i was invited to join in the founding and development of the Chattanooga InterTribal Association (CITA). Recently (ca.1997) an education graduate student at the local university told me that there was a local 'tribe' of Cherokee and Blackfoot over in the Cleveland, Tennessee area. I was amazed, given that the Blackfeet are a tribe from the Montana and Alberta, Canada area and the Cherokee from the Tennessee, Georgia and Carolinas area, and that these two very different Native nationalities were represented down here about 40 miles northeast of Chattanooga.
This was not the first time i had heard of this mix: back around 1994 a member of CITA had said that he was Cherokee&Blackfoot. I was puzzled by the fact that these two nations are separated by over 2,000 miles and at least ten Native nations in between (not to mention the differences in language and culture), and that these two nations have never shared any geographical proximity before or after the racial cleansing of this area (euphemistically referred to as "The Removal" or "The Trail of Tears"), ie, not here in the southeast United States or in Oklahoma or Texas. Moreso than simply puzzled, i became suspicious that the claimed incidences of Cherokee&Blackfoot mixing could be better explained by something other than a statistical anomaly.

So i've been wondering how this mixture of nationalities took place. Part of this curiosity is fueled by my own mixed-blood Native heritage - Blackfoot & Hunkpapa Lakota of Standing Rock. Among the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Nation, Blackfoot is a clan that i've never heard anybody refer to apart from history and cultural texts. Another part of the mystery is the term "Blackfoot" itself: the tribe up north is called "Blackfeet", but most people claiming this mix with Cherokee blood refer to themselves as "Blackfoot" -- is it the same? or different? I haven't found "Blackfoot" people who know much - if anything - about the Blackfeet up north. What does this mean?

I've come to the conclusion, albeit based on personal observations, the following information and stories and my growing knowledge of Cherokee history, that for the most part, the claim to Cherokee and Blackfoot blood is actually a story intentionally designed by people's ancestors to cover up the African ("Black") bloodline in their past, and to disguise it as a racial group more commonly accepted in White majoritarian society - American Indian. Hence "Black" becomes "Blackfoot", and thereby more tolerable to White relatives.

Granted that there certainly are actual instances in which Blackfeet and Cherokee people have met and intermarried - i readily accept this. But down here in the South, and the Chattanooga area specifically, where Whites are now so ready to cite their Native American ancestors, there still exists a very deep racial prejudice among Natives and Whites against having African/Black ancestors. I hear about it all the time -- the bad-mouthing by Native full-bloods and mixed-bloods alike of a local full-blood Indian Commissioner who's reputed to have Black blood, fully intended as a racial slur; the active ignoring of the local African American community whose various members have, by far, more Native blood than their White counterparts; the attempts to cheapen the Indianess of another state official involved in American Indian politics by saying she's Black, not Indian, because she looks more Black; the self denial of any Black blood by a Native American very active in Tennessee Native politics who appears to have African ancestors. These incidents tell me that Black/african blood will be denied in most every person's genealogy.

In sum, my argument is based entirely on the philosophical principle of Occam's razor (see the bottom of this page for a more complete explanation) -- that when faced with differing explanations for an event, rational simplicity is best. So when given the concept of Cherokee & Blackfoot marriages and their general lack of explanation, i deduce from their geographical separation that it is unlikely that such a preponderance of marriages actually occurred between Blackfoot people of the Northwest and Cherokee people of the Southeast, and that a simpler, more logical explanation is that "Blackfoot" became a way of disguising African/"Black" relatives and ancestors.

I'm interested in what you think about this theory, especially if you offer proof to debunk or support it.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

tpkunesh
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