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AmigoKumeyaay 04-03-2010 08:49 PM

"Black Dutch / Black Irish"
 
The Elusive Black Dutch of the South

NATIVE PEOPLES MAGAZINE

The Elusive Black Dutch of the South
Published 01/10/2006

The Elusive Black Dutch of the South
By Jimmy H. Crane

Many people who now live and have roots in northeast Mississippi, north Alabama, south Tennessee and other parts of the South are descendants of the “Black Dutch.” Who were and are the Black Dutch? The term in some areas has become so antiquated that only a few of the elderly even remember the use of the term. I first heard the term from my Grandmother Crane, who had the surname of Page. Her grandparents were Butlers and Mayhalls. She would often refer to their lineage as Black Dutch. One of my aunts on my maternal side described her grandmother as Black Dutch. She said, “Poppy said we were Black Dutch and Indian.” Sometimes my mother would say, “I think we are kin to the Indians….Grandma so and so looked like an Indian.”

As a very curious youngster I was always asking myself, who are the Black Dutch? Where did they come from? As time went by, the term lay dormant except when both sides of the family were together for a reunion or funeral, and conversation would arise as to who we were and where did we come from. Both sides of my family’s characteristics range from dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin, to red hair, blue eyes and fair skin. This is somewhat typical in some families of the area. With such blending over the past 150 years, it was interesting to try to determine who was what and what was who.

My cousin from Georgia came up to me one day and in a low voice seriously asked, “Who is this Black Dutch in our family?” Although I had corresponded in the early 1990’s with relatives concerning genealogy and would sometimes mention the Black Dutch, it was not until June 1995 at the Iuka Mississippi Heritage Day Festival that I really went into high gear and got into a serious search for the Black Dutch. (The term “Black Irish” is sometimes used, but not as much as Black Dutch.) When the term Black Dutch was mentioned, many of the people held up their hand and looked at one another. I knew then I was not alone in wondering about the Black Dutch.

Surnames with Black Dutch heritage that have been collected to date are all English names. How interesting! What was recognized was that true Dutch names would be similar to German spellings and pronunciations. Names like Brown, Butler, Mayhall, Johnson, Tiffin and Massey for example somehow did not sound like Dutch or German. But these were names with Black Dutch lineage.

Here’s another notch to the handle: almost every time that Black Dutch was found, Indian lineage was found, and to date, a high percentage of association in the Iuka, Tishomingo, Itawamba areas has been established with the Cherokee. A representative of the Eagle Bear Clan of the Free Cherokees said that her grandmother told her that her family escaped the Trail of Tears. They were forced to hide in caves and become known as Black Dutch to hide their identity. In a telephone conversation, I was told that other tribes besides the Cherokee also used the Black Dutch term, including the Chickasaws and the Choctaw. I believe the Creek descendants could have also used the term.

One of my own grandmothers, whom my great aunt told me about, was referred to as Black Dutch and was often ironical “mistaken” for an Indian when they migrated to Oklahoma in the late 1800’s.

During the 1996 Burnsville Mississippi Inter-tribal Gathering on the banks of the Tenn-Tom Waterway, I talked with members of the Four Fires Dance group from the Florence, Alabama area. One member of the drum group said his people, the Cherokee, were also known as Black Dutch; that this was just another name used to cover up the Indian identity. Remember, from the 1830’s on, it was perilous times for those who braved Andrew Jackson’s greed and political reign of terror on the Southeastern Indian people. Also, this gentleman mentioned that he had heard of two types of Dutch, the Highland Dutch and the Black Dutch. He said the Black Dutch were the Cherokee. Two members of the Four Fires Dance Group, and who are notably Cherokee, said their people were Black Dutch. I was told that Black Dutch was simply another name for Cherokee. Census rolls in the Moulton, Alabama area in the late 1800’s show a family name listed as white; then ten years latter as Black Dutch; and then ten years latter as Cherokee.

The elusive question is, when did the term Black Dutch arise? A strong probability is after 1830, when the forced removal of the Cherokees from their homeland began. Were there, in fact, a Dutch people with similar physical characteristics, or was the term coined or manufactured to match the occasion? The fact is it worked very well. It is understandable that the Cherokee, Chickasaw and others who remained behind had to come up with a cover-up in order to survive. No choice but to go underground, to become “white” in order to own land, keep their homes and survive, denying their Indian identity simply because it was the safest thing to do at the time. This may have led them (especially the women) to take on the term “Black Dutch” or “Black Irish.” Children, when they became of age to marry, may have been encouraged to seek out mates who were white or had more white or European heritage. The first generation of blending and re-blending may have occurred after the 1840’s and 1850’s.

The northeast Mississippi hills (where I was raised near Alabama) were considered fairly isolated until well into the 20th century. A few miles away in north Alabama are the Freedom Hills, which were even more isolated. I believe that many Chickasaw, Cherokee, as well as Creek descendants took refuge in these hills. We are known as the Hill People in this area. There is little doubt in my mind that many of the Hill People who claim the Black Dutch or Black Irish descent are actually more of Native American descent that they really know. It always has been most interesting to me to travel the back roads of my home county (Itawamba) that borders Alabama and notice the people. What is sad to me is that many of the people don’t know their heritage.

I have heard associations of the term “Black Dutch” with the Black Forest in Germany. During the summer of 1996, I traveled to Germany on an education trip and I asked many people about the term but none had ever heard of it.

On May 17, 1997, I visited the Oakville Indian Mounds Park and Museum located on County Road 187, just off highway 157, eight miles southeast of Moulton, Alabama. I copied the following quote that was displayed on the museum wall in large print.

Before the Indian Removal Act in 1830, many of Lawrence County’s Cherokee people were already mixed with white settlers and stayed in the hill country of the Warrior Mountains. They denied their ancestry and basically lived much of their lives in fear of being sent West.

Full bloods claimed to be Black Irish or Black Dutch, thus denying their rightful Indian blood. After being fully assimilated into the general population years later, these Irish Cherokee mixed blood descendants began reclaiming their Indian heritage in the land of the “Warrior Mountains,” Lawrence County, Alabama.

During the 1880 U.S. Census only 78 people claimed their Indian heritage. In 1990, over 2000 individuals claimed Indian descent. Today over 4000 citizens are proud to claim their Indian heritage and are members of the Echota Cherokee Tribe.

In all the many hundred years in which the Indian community has interacted with the European communities who came to this new and wonderful country, through intermarriage many of our people are not likely to “look” Indian. But just because their “blood quantum” has diminished, it does not diminish their ethnic pride or rights.

The Black Dutch survive today in the hearts of many of the Southern Appalachian hill people--a proud people with an elusive sprit who had to hide out, go under-ground and conceal their identity to live another day. They never gave up. They never surrendered. The drum beats for the elusive “Black Dutch.” My search continues.

timmy tiger 04-04-2010 02:17 AM

Thank you Amigo for posting this article.

I've heard the term "Black Dutch" many times even from VA and WV.

I don't necessarily agree with everything in this article. For example I think the term isn't just for the "Cherokee's" but could be any NDN background or other too.

You also have to remember that way back then that women had no rights at all but what their husbands allowed them. Do you know that if a man died that he could list in his will someone else to care for the kids that were still at home even if his wife was still living and there was nothing she could do about ti, I did actually find that a couple of times in some of my searches. Also, so in that case if a woman who was NDN married a man who was European, it was expected of her to take his background as her own and she would be listed, many times, on the census as he was. Also, many times back then the census takers really didn't ask, some would just look and assume.

Also, I don't know about all the people who say that they ran and hide in the mountains or caves. Oh I do know that that did happen and a few that did, but not all that claim now that that happened. I've heard people from VA and WV say that and the gov never went there to remove the Cherokee's because after the Rev war the gov signed a treaty with the NDN's and as far as they were concerned there were no NDN's in that/those states, WV didn't become an official state until 1858 due to the Civil War. So the "Trail of Tears" actually didn't go that far at all and was basically based on the treaty of New Echota in GA that was signed around 1835. There is a Census of all the Cherokee's who remained (supposed to be all, but some did leave the tribe on their own before this) called "The Henderson Rolls" and that, like I said, was supposed to be a listing of all the Cherokee's in the East who remained after 1817/1819. And that "Roll" was about the removal. The treaty was signed and supposed to take place like in a short time after that. It kept getting postponed and by the time that the gov actually got around to it in 1838 many of the Cherokee's actually had changed their minds and that's when the Soldiers came in. So it wasn't just this big surprise, it was coming for 3 years and there very well were some that left even before then on their own and had nothing to do with the "Trail" and some of those could be the "Black Dutch". It's another thing that maybe they just didn't know about their NDN background 'cause maybe it was a mother who didn't speak of it 'cause her husband wouldn't let her so the children didn't know and when they were asked they just said 'Black Dutch". These are some other possibilities.

Annie Fawn 04-04-2010 08:39 PM

The term usually refered to their hair color. Since most Dutch and Irish had either blonde, red or brown hair, black hair was a rareity. Also the black Dutch and Irish tanned easily so were often mistaken as Natives in the 1800s- early 1900s. I asked my adopted grandmother about the term when I was a teen and that was the answer she gave me. My adopted grandfather was Black Irish.

dancinfancy 04-05-2010 04:54 PM

I talked with a geneologist one time about that term. This is what he told me. Black Ditch or Irish was a term for a person that was Spaniard mixed with another nation like Dutch. Their appreance is darker due to the spaniard part. So over here when the removal started & the government wanted to start putting native on rez they started taking on this title to pass off has not being who they were.

AmigoKumeyaay 04-11-2010 09:22 PM

TT, thanks for that info and historical background. I was raised all over the globe, I saw a lot, but also missed a lot. As a kid I could not see a rational reason for the hatred around the U.S. but the "racial" issues still exist.

So, over the years working with people raised from all over, I can see the ingrained hatred from regions around the U.S., as well as people that join into that hatred.



On the Black Irish - since my dad was Irish of Viking Blood, we were told the Black Irish had blood from the Roman Army occupations of what is now U.K. Well, the natives of Ireland held back the Romans (not really Romans, but Roman Army conscripts from other Mediterranian peoples), but the dark-haired, dark-eyed Irish were thought to be of Roman lineage.

The Vikings certainly left their impact, so it was thought the "Romans" did the same.


On the Black Dutch - I've met many people that could fall into this "category", even some persons very close to me.

So, as I get to know people, and the subject conveniently comes up, many claim to have some connection to First Nations people, though many don't know which nation.

I can see why since those times were so hard, people went into "survival mode", calling yourself Black Dutch kept you out of problems back then.

Well, I hope America will become what we say we are, someday.

MtnLiving 05-04-2010 03:10 AM

Good reading :thumbsup: I've read that explanation before. I was told just 3 years ago, that the term "black dutch" was used to describe my maternal great grandmother Minnie Evelyn Wilson Smith North Carolina and eventually Louisiana. All the stories I have tell of the Wilsons and the Smiths being cherokee and choctaw but grandma Minnie was black dutch. One and the same. :wink_smil

wa-ti wa-hya 07-23-2010 05:39 PM

Amigo..we meet again...I remember my cousins on the Irish (McCarthy) side discussing the Black Irish..which they claimed they were. I believe they are descendants of a failed attack on the southern coast of Ireland (Counties Kerry & Cork) by a Spanish Armada sometime after 1500 or so. Those sailors whose washed up onto the shore soon integrated thru marriage etc. I'm not sure how true this theory may be but, most of them (McCarthy cousins) had black hair and olive skin...oh yea...they were also fairly short...just a theory.

Respectfully

AmigoKumeyaay 07-24-2010 12:15 AM

<img src="http://i.fanpix.net/images/orig/u/y/uyvmuizdqj4zziqv.jpg" alt="Sinéad O`Connor"><br><a href="http://www.fanpix.net/gallery/sinead-o-connor-pictures.htm" target="_blank">Sinéad O`Connor Pictures</a>

Sinead O'Connor and Matthew Broderick are those "Black Irish", and short! Yes, there is the myth about Iberian blood from the "Spanish Armada" but.... genetics show more of a connection with genepools from the northern Galicia region of Spain, or the Basques.

Then, there were the Viking raiders, and their legacy....

I was typical U.S. military kid, born on foreign soil, raised around the world away from blood relatives, away from a hometown. Only met my great-grandparents a couple of times, I remember their accents, their faces, that's it.
Not much of an Irish upbringing for me, never lived near Irish communities.

So, I've been working along the southern border for the last 25 years. Once, a Mexican gentlemen stopped to talk with me, he saw my uniform nametag, and he whipped out his border crossing document with the same Irish last name!

During the U.S./Mexico war, many Irish Catholics left U.S. conscription and sided with Mexico, they were known as Los San Patricios (the St. Patricks) and treated like heros.

After the U.S. victory over Mexico, U.S. military hunted down those Irish and executed them. They became famous martyrs for Mexico, they left many widows...and kids.

So here we are talking about the Irish on pws dot com!:rolleyes:

Well, if claiming to be Black Irish kept people from being marched off to Indian Territory / Oklahoma, then maybe we were good for something! LOL


"May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends."

storyteller 07-24-2010 12:57 PM

Well this is an interesting thread.

For many years I've traced my "black Irish" family as well as the use of that term. In our case, the Gaelic word black "duibh" is part of our name. According to our family history, it was used to differentiate our extended clan (with black hair and dark skin) from other clans in neighboring territories.

Our family married into neighboring Gaelic clans, but we were in the mountainous interior, never near the coast or the Spanish shipwreck.

When we were starved out by the English, my grandparents came to the United States but wanted nothing to do with "new england." They brought their children to New Orleans, where they boarded a river boat and went up the Mississippi, looking for Indians to live with.

Starved and homeless, they thought their best chance of survival was with the Native people here, and not the whites.

I guess I'm proof that they were correct. But to this day, if you go into our old territory in Ireland, you see dark-skinned, black-haired natives. With blue eyes.

So, I think the term "black Irish" refers to one of the old tribes of Ireland. That is what my Irish elders tell me, and I believe em:)

caymiss 08-18-2010 09:38 PM

Black Dutch
 
As a child in West Virginia, when I asked my father about our family history he would tell me we had a lot of Black Dutch in us but would never say what Black Dutch was. It was like he was afraid to say. That we had NDN blood was said in whispers. Our grandfather was said to have been "adopted", but no one would talk about it. He died in 1936 when Dad was a young teen.

Dad has passed on, but his brother decided to investigate and now recognized as Shawnee and has tribal membership. Seems that many peoples of the Appalachians used this term.

Shawrakee 12-17-2010 05:58 AM

[

neling4 12-17-2010 08:11 PM

Interesting.

I had never heard the term, "Black Dutch" before. I have, however, heard the term, "Black Irish".

My grandma just said her family was ndn and/or Cherokee. My grandfather was Dutch, not "Black Dutch", just Dutch, and Scots/Irish and English too. He wasn't dark at all.

My family were from Appalachia too: North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. My grandma's family moved from North Carolina to Virginia then Kentucky where my grandma met and married my granddaddy.

CHEROSAGE 02-23-2011 04:33 AM

I can't help but add my 2 cents worth. As I was growing up we were told of our Black Dutch and Black Irish simply depending on which part of the family we were discussing. Grandpa told me it was simply a way that our families could live and own land without being deported to OK, NDN territory. Not sure why because Grandpa's family ended up in OK around Vinita/Big Cabin area at the turn of the Century. My Great Grandma and Grandpa were given land which somehow we no longer have. They came to MO just prior to WWI. Greatgrandpa was a Methodist Preacher man, called a circuit rider.

The Black Dutch was a very important part of our oral history. We were told to never tell anyone we were NDN. I still am not sure why, because most of my friend in Springfield MO area were also of NDN families. Go figure.

wa-ti wa-hya 02-23-2011 01:17 PM

We have a very simular story. My folks left Eastern Kentucky at the turn of the century and moved to Tahlequah, OK. They obtained farmland but lost it during the depression. They then moved to an area that was soon to be taken by the US Army for the expansion of Ft. Gruber during WWII. After this forced move, they relocated to Moodys OK and in the 50"s moved to LA, CA.

Eaglepathfinder 02-23-2011 01:45 PM

I descended in part from the Isaac Johnson family from upstate NY. This family removed to Ohio in early 1800s. Daughter Mary first married William Barnhart. They had about 6 children. He was killed on the Ohio River in a fight. She lived for a while between three free black families in Grandview Twp., Washington County, Ohio, until she married Robert McCormick. They had three children. My father's family believed the Johnson's to be Black Dutch when asked. Almost all of their offspring had black hair and dark eyes.

My great grandmother had 12 children who were all black haired and dark eyes. My grandfather was 6 foot, ruddy complected with high cheek bones and rangy built. He married a part Indian (my grandmother) and had 15 children, most of whom had black hair and dark eyes. My grandmother, the part Indian, was from SE Ohio of German and Indian descent. Her family, like others noted in this thread, hid in the hills to avoid removal by marrying and taking the line of their husbands. There was no mention in her family being Black Dutch, only grandfather's.

Grandmother came from a line of mid-wives and were healers by using herbs when a family member or neighbor became sick. She learned this from her mother and her grandmothers. Grandmother had hair almost to her knees when she let it down to wash and comb it. People in our family offered to cut it but she was proud of her hair and didn't want it cut because it was supposed to be that long according to her.

So, the questions is, if Black Dutch isn't Indian, then what is it really? I believe it to be a number of things, including to hide the fact thqat a person was an Indian. That would be a very good cover-up, especially if others believe that it could denote other gourps of people too. We have NO Spanish nor Italian in our blood lines, just Indian, English, Irish, Scotch and German.

Elders in Ohio believe that 1 in 6 people whose families were the early white settlers have Indian blood in their line because there just were not very many white girls available for marriage back then, and that the men married Indian girls to have a family. Sounds reasonable to me. Just my two cents worth.

MtnLiving 02-23-2011 08:55 PM

I do believe that Black Dutch is NDN; NDN is the only reference I've ever heard being used with Black Dutch.

msquared48 04-04-2011 08:11 PM

New to me...
 
I posted in another thread too prior to seeing this one, so I apologize for the double post here. Admin, please delete the other if appropriate. I see this is the better string.

Just joined the forum today after investigating the term "Black Irish" on the net and reading about the link to the "Black Dutch". Needless to say, I was shocked about the implications with what I read. The possibility of a Native American heritage has never crossed my mind. I guess you learn something new every day, and this has been quite a day...:omg_smile

My father always said he was of Black Irish, as my great grandfather who lived in Muncie, Indiana, did emigrate directly from Ireland, specifically the area 50 miles to the southwest of Dublin. I had always suspected a black lineage from that connection, but it has not been confirmed. May be just a myth on that side of the line.

My mother is a different story though. She was from Georgia, originally a Dutch penal colony, and claimed primarily Dutch ancestry, with relatives in Arkansas, Georgia and Virginia. Never really talked much about her heritage and seemed unwilling to do so, which seemed odd to me. Now I wonder if she was hiding something after reading an article on the net that led me to this forum. The scenario seems in line with the article.

My wife has either Cherolee or Blackfoot in her ancestry that we have to confirm on paper yet through the Cherokee Nation roles and DNA, but have not had much luck. The name of the link on the roles is "Nancy Black".

I am really wondering now if I have similar ties to either Cherokee, Chickasaw, or Creek, based on the article's discussion of the 'Black Dutch". I guess I will start with the link to Ancestry.com mentioned in other posts and see what comes of it. When we can afford it, we are also going to check our DNA too. We'll see...

Just so I know, what does NDN stand for?

Shawrakee 04-04-2011 08:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by msquared48 (Post 1464937)
I posted in another thread too prior to seeing this one, so I apologize for the double post here. Admin, please delete the other if appropriate. I see this is the better string.

Just joined the forum today after investigating the term "Black Irish" on the net and reading about the link to the "Black Dutch". Needless to say, I was shocked about the implications with what I read. The possibility of a Native American heritage has never crossed my mind. I guess you learn something new every day, and this has been quite a day...:omg_smile

My father always said he was of Black Irish, as my great grandfather who lived in Muncie, Indiana, did emigrate directly from Ireland, specifically the area 50 miles to the southwest of Dublin. I had always suspected a black lineage from that connection, but it has not been confirmed. May be just a myth on that side of the line.

My mother is a different story though. She was from Georgia, originally a Dutch penal colony, and claimed primarily Dutch ancestry, with relatives in Arkansas, Georgia and Virginia. Never really talked much about her heritage and seemed unwilling to do so, which seemed odd to me. Now I wonder if she was hiding something after reading an article on the net that led me to this forum. The scenario seems in line with the article.

My wife has either Cherolee or Blackfoot in her ancestry that we have to confirm on paper yet through the Cherokee Nation roles and DNA, but have not had much luck. The name of the link on the roles is "Nancy Black".

I am really wondering now if I have similar ties to either Cherokee, Chickasaw, or Creek, based on the article's discussion of the 'Black Dutch". I guess I will start with the link to Ancestry.com mentioned in other posts and see what comes of it. When we can afford it, we are also going to check our DNA too. We'll see...

Just so I know, what does NDN stand for?

Just say it and you'll know.

Check Irish history for Black Irish reference, originally it goes back to a darker Irish people because the Spanish sailors as well as those from Portugal ported off Irelands coast.
History will tell you as well as why it was also adopted for protective labeling of many of our families in the southeast to stay and be integrated into Euro-American society.

MtnLiving 04-04-2011 08:46 PM

Native Americans "passing" for white

Tah-Chee (Dutch), A Cherokee Chief, 1837, Smithsonian American Art Museum; image from McKenney and Hall's Indian Tribes of North America: with lithographer Albert Newsam's signature; based on a painting by Charles Bird King

Historically, mixed-race European-American Indian and sometimes full blood Indian families of the South adopted the terms "Black Dutch", and to a lesser extent, Black Irish, first in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The practice of Cherokees' identifying as "Black Dutch" originated during and after the 1830s Indian Removal era. They used this term to explain their dark looks and to avoid being removed to Indian Territory or stigmatized by Anglo-American society.[9]

One of the earliest Cherokee recorded as having been called "Dutch" was Tah-Chee, who died in 1848. He was known both as "Dutch," and "Captain William Dutch" -- and noted as such when his portrait was published in the 1837 book Indian Tribes of North America by Thomas L. McKenney (1785–1859) and James Hall (1793–1868). Dutch was a revered Cherokee chief and talented hunter. Trying to escape the forced removal to Indian Territory, he led his people to Texas. There he acquired a significant amount of land for his tribe along the Canadian River in Texas after fighting against the Osage and Comanche tribes of the territory. After he and his warriors were defeated by U.S. government forces, Tah-Chee was forced to move to the Indian Territory, later known as the state of Oklahoma.[10]

Some Native Americans, mainly Cherokee, but also Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and other tribal people, sometimes claimed "Black Dutch" or "Black Irish" heritage to purchase land in areas which United States treaties and other laws had reserved for people of European descent. Once they owned the land, such families who had escaped forced removal during the Trail of Tears era would not admit to their heritage, for fear the property would be taken away from them.[9]

The following explanation of the terms "Black Dutch" and "Black Irish" is displayed on the wall of the Oakville Indian Mounds Park and Museum in Lawrence County, Alabama:

Before the Indian Removal Act in 1830, many of Lawrence County's Cherokee people were already mixed with white settlers and stayed in the country of the Warrior Mountains. They denied their ancestry and basically lived much of their lives in fear of being sent West. Full bloods claimed to be Black Irish or Black Dutch, thus denying their rightful Indian blood. After being fully assimilated into the general population years later, these Irish Cherokee mixed-blood descendants, began reclaiming their Indian heritage in the land of the Warrior Mountains, Lawrence County, Alabama. During the 1900 U.S. Census only 78 people claimed their Indian heritage. In 1990, more than 2000 individuals claimed Indian descent. Today more than 4000 citizens are proud to claim their Indian heritage and are members of the Echota Cherokee tribe.[11]

Tibiki Kinew 04-07-2011 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MtnLiving (Post 1464947)
Native Americans "passing" for white

Tah-Chee (Dutch), A Cherokee Chief, 1837, Smithsonian American Art Museum; image from McKenney and Hall's Indian Tribes of North America: with lithographer Albert Newsam's signature; based on a painting by Charles Bird King

Historically, mixed-race European-American Indian and sometimes full blood Indian families of the South adopted the terms "Black Dutch", and to a lesser extent, Black Irish, first in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The practice of Cherokees' identifying as "Black Dutch" originated during and after the 1830s Indian Removal era. They used this term to explain their dark looks and to avoid being removed to Indian Territory or stigmatized by Anglo-American society.[9]

One of the earliest Cherokee recorded as having been called "Dutch" was Tah-Chee, who died in 1848. He was known both as "Dutch," and "Captain William Dutch" -- and noted as such when his portrait was published in the 1837 book Indian Tribes of North America by Thomas L. McKenney (1785–1859) and James Hall (1793–1868). Dutch was a revered Cherokee chief and talented hunter. Trying to escape the forced removal to Indian Territory, he led his people to Texas. There he acquired a significant amount of land for his tribe along the Canadian River in Texas after fighting against the Osage and Comanche tribes of the territory. After he and his warriors were defeated by U.S. government forces, Tah-Chee was forced to move to the Indian Territory, later known as the state of Oklahoma.[10]

Some Native Americans, mainly Cherokee, but also Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and other tribal people, sometimes claimed "Black Dutch" or "Black Irish" heritage to purchase land in areas which United States treaties and other laws had reserved for people of European descent. Once they owned the land, such families who had escaped forced removal during the Trail of Tears era would not admit to their heritage, for fear the property would be taken away from them.[9]

The following explanation of the terms "Black Dutch" and "Black Irish" is displayed on the wall of the Oakville Indian Mounds Park and Museum in Lawrence County, Alabama:

Before the Indian Removal Act in 1830, many of Lawrence County's Cherokee people were already mixed with white settlers and stayed in the country of the Warrior Mountains. They denied their ancestry and basically lived much of their lives in fear of being sent West. Full bloods claimed to be Black Irish or Black Dutch, thus denying their rightful Indian blood. After being fully assimilated into the general population years later, these Irish Cherokee mixed-blood descendants, began reclaiming their Indian heritage in the land of the Warrior Mountains, Lawrence County, Alabama. During the 1900 U.S. Census only 78 people claimed their Indian heritage. In 1990, more than 2000 individuals claimed Indian descent. Today more than 4000 citizens are proud to claim their Indian heritage and are members of the Echota Cherokee tribe.[11]

Well I just need to add that my wife's family survived the trail of tears ,,, thanks to their quick thinking they called themselves black irish as well. They were able to keep their farmland and not be sent west. It was only in this very generation that it was proven to be one of the biggest hoaxes against the gov what her family managed to do so well. So here is to Christine and her daughter Katie,,, Falcon_Rising and Flying Raven! Both are here and proud to be Cherokee!
Christine is now on the road to becomming a Canadian but Katie is back home in North Carolina at her powwow stomping grounds!!!
Great thread here!!!


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