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  • Unwewlcome Feeling

    Okay,

    I am 27 years old and yes, African American. My Great grandmother is half- Cherokee and black.

    And i know what you are probably saying, oh it's another wannabe. That I am not. My Great Grandmother and Grandmother spoke briefly about her cherokee heritage and ancestry when asked. I was told of how some slaves inter-married with the native americans and becamme freedmen.But other than that, nothing really. Either way, I embraced it throughout my life, unashamed of any part of me. I have to children now and anxious to let them know all parts of there ancestory and history. Yes, to me it matters who i am and where my family comes from as well as their struggles and triumphs, contrtibutions, etc. I planned to educate my childeren on Native American history, culture, etc just as I do African-American History.

    I went to a Pow Wow today and was disappointed. my family was only one of like 5 other families that were african american in the crowd. There was one Native american that appeared of african descent and others that appeared Full-blooded native americans. BUT the majority seemed of caucasion descent, inter-married descendants. I have no problem with this, i was just expecting more native americans that resembled me.

    At the Pow Wow, I was greeted kindly by several Dancers and I believe a chief. That made me feel welcome, until the friendship dance or circle(I apologize if i am getting the terminology wrong),The announcer invited the crowd in the arena to join them. I wanted to have my daughter participate and always leran/experience something new, took her.When everyone shook hands in the circle, To my dismay, Many did not want to shake my daughter's hand nor mine. It was disheartening to see the grim faces they expressed to us as the shook the caucasion guests hand in front and behind us.
    This was not an event I planned to explain to my daughter why they did not want to shake her hand and why they ignored her presence.
    It saddened her to experience that.


    After returning home, i have done some research and realized that some slaves were kept as slaves on Native American land and others
    were inter-married. Black Indians and Freedmen is what they are called. nevertheless, it seems they are not accepted into the cherokee or other tribes whether they have prooof of blood or not. And also looked down upon as being less or lower class.

    This sucks, all my life i have been boasting about how proud i am of being part cherokee, even if its not 100%. It is still in my blood, it is still part of me and now my children.


    I Know not to base all Native Americans on this experience nor there traditions. Yet, it seems on the threads that anyone who is not 100% Native Americans are labeled as wannabe's or as someone who is trying to destroy Cherokee Society.

    How can I be placed at fault for trying to find out a part of my heritage?

    Why should I continue to educate my children on the Cherokee Nation and its culture and heritage if it refuses to acknowledge or accept them Because (most likely) they are from Black indian descent(not freedmen, my grandmother was born into slavery. a child when slavery was abolished.

    And if I continue to do so, where can I find friendlier pow wows, and some that may have more Black Indian participants.

    Also, where do I began finding/tracing blood lines.

    I am sorry if it sounds like I am rambling, But I take issues such as these seriously. I deal with racism enough on a dailly basis, I am not trying to put in my children's face.

    Please give any advice, information, resources that you may have. I am open-minded and refuse to have any ignorant or misleading information, notions etc keep me from knowing any truths.

    There is always more than one side to a story.

  • #2
    Wheretostart:

    I'm sorry that you and your daughter went throug something like that. I don't know where you live or what Pow Wow you went to. But I know alot of people who would have shaken you and your daughter's hand in the circle--many light skinned and dark skinned Indians equally. I don't see many "Black" Indians either (please forgive me for not being more PC).

    I doubt seriously that you met a "Chief" unless you were on a Reservation. And even then, you wouldn't have known that he was the Chief unless you saw his picture in the paper or something like that.

    Now, as for the "Freedman" this is not about the Cherokee's not accepting other Cherokee's because they are part "Black". If you look more into it you will find that the "Freedmen" were the former slaves of the Cherokee's that the gov forced through a treaty that the 5 Civilized Tribes accept as part of that tribe--Not just the Cherokee's. The point that you are looking at is that many people do accept you if you do have Cherokee blood in you, but many of the "Freedmen" still don't and that's what that's about. Many are trying to turn it around and make it something that it's not. I know many members of the OK Cherokees and we have talked about this very subject. It isn't about having blood and just because you have some "Black" in you that you are not accepted, it's about those who still don't have Cherokee blood in them.

    Where do you start? Start with yourself. I have often encouraged many people to do their genealogy and research their family history. This cuts down on a lot of garbage. If you know who you come through, then no one can ever take that away from you, unless you let them. So, as I said--Start with yourself and get the documents and trace your family back to where your Cherokee ancestor is and then go from there. But as I understand it, the OK Cherokee's require that that ancestor have been on the Dawes Rolls to claim your heritage. But, your aren't even ready, yet to get there. Get your mother's documents and then her parents and on from there and trace your family to that ancestor.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wheretostart:

      this was a double post, so I'm changing it. I hope that one issue won't stop you from finding a good pow wow. There are many good pow wow's out there, you just have to look for them.
      Last edited by timmy tiger; 09-30-2007, 01:42 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        You are correct for feeling the way you do. You'll will find that different parts of the country treat people in different ways. I happened to be raised in a very bad way; and I also came to realize that my own family did not or want to accept black people, but were a "little" more accepting of white people. The whole county was like that. Suppose thats why I met and married my hubby, moved to Alaska and love raising my kids in Fairbanks. They know all kinds of people and don't bat an eyelash at them. I would hope that you and your family would not give up so soon, based on your one experience, not all gatherings are the same and not all people are numb-skulls. Be proud of who you are and continue to share that with your children.

        Comment


        • #5
          What part of the country was this powwow, just out of curiousity? You have a right to your perspective and feelings. Thats a real shame, and I've seen that behaviour before back home growing up. My own family had issues with black people and white people. Probably why I met, married, moved and raise my kids in the center of Alaska. I hope you will not give up, and keep teaching your children about their heritage, not every native is close minded.

          Comment


          • #6
            There are a$$es in any race or ethnic group as far as that goes. I'm sorry you had to experience this but more so that your daughter did. There is NO excuse to hurt a child.
            Where was this? It seems certain locations are more prone to this sort of ignorance. I hope you don't let this stop you as it is in your blood.
            Never go commando in another man's fatigues!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Maybe they didn´t mean to be impolite...

              Sunday, September 30, 2007.

              Dear Wheretostart,

              There is discrimination here and there because:
              ---
              --- You are a woman...
              You are a single Mom or Dad...
              You are this color or that color...
              you are over 30 years old...
              you didn´t study in Hardvard or Cambridge...
              you don´t have a fancy car...
              you don´t have prestigious credit cards...
              you travel in the subway...
              you don´t wear "cool brands"...
              you live in a popular neighborhood...
              you are overweight or you are so tall...
              ...because this, that and so much more, so...

              --- it´s kind of disappointing, but not everything is nasty, because always you will have:
              --- A beautiful smile from somebody...
              a joyfull "Hello" from another somebody...
              a hug full of Love...
              a nice and warm phone call...
              somebody´s Recognition...
              Love from someone unexpected...
              the freshness from the Wind...
              the warmness from the Fire...
              the kindness from the Earth...
              the wetness from the Water... --- and, ---
              The wise teachings from the Ancestors, the humble teachings on the Red Road and the most important: You have the Love from the Great Spirit... ! Also: You have my Love. ----Truly Yours, Cuetzpallincihuatl, -An Aztec Indian from the Aztec Lands.
              Cuetzpallincihuatl, the Aztec Indian.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi,

                Glad your educating your daughter to your heritage.

                I would of shook your hand..........not sure why folks didn't......who can speak for others.

                Just curious, where was this pow wow?

                Please don't let one experience stop you from attending more pow wows. Just follow the MC's instructions at any pow wow you attend and it should be an enjoyable experience.

                NancyJo

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the feedback and enlightenment

                  Hello to all who responded,

                  Thanks for your comments, info and words of wisdom.
                  No, I don't think all Natives are bad, just as I don't want others thinking all african -americans are bad, etc.

                  I definitely will research alot more, starting with my family.

                  I appreciate the feedback, and look forward to experiencing more powwow's and other events to expose my daughter's to cherokee culture.

                  I heard someone once say that you can take classes to learn cherokee language, just as you do spanish or french. Is this true or is taboo, i guess? Anyhow, just something I heard about.

                  Also, the powwow was in Whitesburg, GA.

                  Thanks. for everything and talk to you guys soon.

                  Wheretostart

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There are classes on the Cherokee language, but there are also tapes and books out there that come right from the people who live on the Res. and that's what I would recomend that you do if you are truely interested in learning the language. However, my understanding is that there was and still may be several dialects and that both the Eastern (Cherokee, NC) and Western (OK) cherokee's have some different terms and pronunciation (spelling?) differences. So if you are interested and your family came through the "Freedmen", if I were you--I would look for the ones that come from the OK Cherokee's. That's just my opinion. I, also, know that there is a State Recognized Tribe of Cherokee's in GA, but I can't remember where but I believe that they have something to do with the "Echota" (that might be what they call themselves). What they can or can not help you with--I really don't know--I've never had any dealings with them, I just know about them from a few others. I, personally, deal with the ones on the REs in NC and I have friends from OK as well. Good luck and I hope that you find what you are looking for.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Theres one thing to keep in mind here. My family, as well as my husbands have and were only exposed to the ideals and images of the white man. Influence has been forced on us for two centuries. It does not excuse any one of us from bad behaviour, but it can explain some of it. For instance, my elderly Mother in law, freaks out when she sees a black man when shes in town. I asked her why, and she could not pinpoint her fear to any one thing. She lived out in the middle of Bush Alaska, sent off to catholic school at age 6 and returned home at age 14. I suppose she was perhaps told stories or a bunch of lies, which is too bad, because I always have to be aware of her predjudice when we are around. BTW, is difficult because she is 87 years old and it is a delicate matter to let her know that her believes are ones that are wrong or incorrect.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by timmy tiger View Post
                        There are classes on the Cherokee language, but there are also tapes and books out there that come right from the people who live on the Res. and that's what I would recomend that you do if you are truely interested in learning the language. However, my understanding is that there was and still may be several dialects and that both the Eastern (Cherokee, NC) and Western (OK) cherokee's have some different terms and pronunciation (spelling?) differences. So if you are interested and your family came through the "Freedmen", if I were you--I would look for the ones that come from the OK Cherokee's. That's just my opinion. I, also, know that there is a State Recognized Tribe of Cherokee's in GA, but I can't remember where but I believe that they have something to do with the "Echota" (that might be what they call themselves). What they can or can not help you with--I really don't know--I've never had any dealings with them, I just know about them from a few others. I, personally, deal with the ones on the REs in NC and I have friends from OK as well. Good luck and I hope that you find what you are looking for.
                        I think timmy tiger might be referring to the Georgia Band of Eastern Cherokee. If so, you might want to touch base with the Webmaster here, Paul Gowder, as he is from that tribe.

                        Wheretostart, I am very sorry about your experience. It's not just black/indians that run into some funny looks, though. You should see how folks react to my blue-eyed, blond-haired daughter. I just teach my children that our tribe had contact and intermarriage with other races, black and white, going back hundreds of years, and that there is no shame in that. There was probably a lot more acceptance back even then. If you married into a woman's family, you became part of that clan and family, regardless of what color you were.

                        Stay proud of who you are and learn as much as you can, but as timmy tiger says start with your family and find out where you came from. My brother-in-law is a black Cherokee, and his grandma taught him a lot. He's proud of his heritage and doesn't let anyone discourage him, even if he doesn't look like your typical Indian.

                        If you were at one of the powwows here, I would definitely shake your hand.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ive never treated anyone like that any where! specially not in the arena. I may have not agreed with them for what ever reason, behavior ,dance style whatever but ive never acted ugly, and ive never refused a hand shake, thats not the way I was raised to conduct myself in the arena. I would gladly shake your hand and any who were with you.
                          I got a fevah! And the only cure is more cowbell!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wheretostart View Post
                            Okay,

                            I am 27 years old and yes, African American. My Great grandmother is half- Cherokee and black.

                            And i know what you are probably saying, oh it's another wannabe. That I am not. My Great Grandmother and Grandmother spoke briefly about her cherokee heritage and ancestry when asked. I was told of how some slaves inter-married with the native americans and becamme freedmen.But other than that, nothing really. Either way, I embraced it throughout my life, unashamed of any part of me. I have to children now and anxious to let them know all parts of there ancestory and history. Yes, to me it matters who i am and where my family comes from as well as their struggles and triumphs, contrtibutions, etc. I planned to educate my childeren on Native American history, culture, etc just as I do African-American History.

                            I went to a Pow Wow today and was disappointed. my family was only one of like 5 other families that were african american in the crowd. There was one Native american that appeared of african descent and others that appeared Full-blooded native americans. BUT the majority seemed of caucasion descent, inter-married descendants. I have no problem with this, i was just expecting more native americans that resembled me.

                            At the Pow Wow, I was greeted kindly by several Dancers and I believe a chief. That made me feel welcome, until the friendship dance or circle(I apologize if i am getting the terminology wrong),The announcer invited the crowd in the arena to join them. I wanted to have my daughter participate and always leran/experience something new, took her.When everyone shook hands in the circle, To my dismay, Many did not want to shake my daughter's hand nor mine. It was disheartening to see the grim faces they expressed to us as the shook the caucasion guests hand in front and behind us.
                            This was not an event I planned to explain to my daughter why they did not want to shake her hand and why they ignored her presence.
                            It saddened her to experience that.


                            After returning home, i have done some research and realized that some slaves were kept as slaves on Native American land and others
                            were inter-married. Black Indians and Freedmen is what they are called. nevertheless, it seems they are not accepted into the cherokee or other tribes whether they have prooof of blood or not. And also looked down upon as being less or lower class.

                            This sucks, all my life i have been boasting about how proud i am of being part cherokee, even if its not 100%. It is still in my blood, it is still part of me and now my children.


                            I Know not to base all Native Americans on this experience nor there traditions. Yet, it seems on the threads that anyone who is not 100% Native Americans are labeled as wannabe's or as someone who is trying to destroy Cherokee Society.

                            How can I be placed at fault for trying to find out a part of my heritage?

                            Why should I continue to educate my children on the Cherokee Nation and its culture and heritage if it refuses to acknowledge or accept them Because (most likely) they are from Black indian descent(not freedmen, my grandmother was born into slavery. a child when slavery was abolished.

                            And if I continue to do so, where can I find friendlier pow wows, and some that may have more Black Indian participants.

                            Also, where do I began finding/tracing blood lines.

                            I am sorry if it sounds like I am rambling, But I take issues such as these seriously. I deal with racism enough on a dailly basis, I am not trying to put in my children's face.

                            Please give any advice, information, resources that you may have. I am open-minded and refuse to have any ignorant or misleading information, notions etc keep me from knowing any truths.

                            There is always more than one side to a story.
                            I cant speak for the set of circumstances that they would refuse to shake hands
                            Frankly I have never seen that here in Oklahoma Powwows but I cant speak for those in the southeast as I saw I alot of things that I have never seen anywhere else.
                            It is always best if you go with someone that powwows you will have a much better time because they can explain things that make no sense to most non-ndns
                            If you dont know anyone that fits that then I would suggest you do some reading here on Powwow.com especially in the FAQ areas and ask questions of members on here is a great start

                            Understand this however
                            I have been going to powwows since I was a little boy and I still dont know everything
                            There are over 500 tribes in United States and more in Canada
                            We alll have differet ways of doing things.
                            But when it comes to shaking hands a 2 year old "NDN" knows how to shake hands ndn way!
                            ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
                            Till I Die!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sorry to hear about your experience. However, this is not uncommon even amongst us fullblooded natives either. There are times that I have been mistreated up north because I am Navajo. Navajo's are labeled as mean, they do witchcraft, etc., etc. Heck, my exboyfriend was forced to break up with me because I was Navajo. Actually that was 2 exboyfriends, one was Pueblo and the other was from WA state. Soooooo there is prejudice everywhere among everyone and not just a black/white thing. I know of some Navajo's who will not have anything to do with Ute's or Hopi's and vice versa. So there are bad feelings everywhere you go. Me, myself, I don't like it but its out there. I have to teach my son, at a very early age, that not everyone is going to like us because of our color, our race, or our heritage, and not every Native is going to like us either. Yes, I was taught to not be disrepectful in the powwow arena but to this day not everyone is taught the same things. There is a new generation out there, some with disrepect and some with complete ignorance. You, being of a different color, should understand this, I can't say its completely acceptable, but there is a certain point that you can't change what everyone thinks or feels. I, of course, don't like being judged at all but I can't change it. I don't live my life to please everyone else, I live my life as I feel I should. I don't expect everyone I meet to like me or think my family is the greatest. That would be unrealistic, however, I live and teach my son, to live our lives to the fullest how WE want it to be. I have a great deal of respect for everyone in the powwow circle, outside the circle, on different nations, or wherever. I was never taught to hate or think bad of anyone or anything else. Maybe, instead of focusing on why nobody shook my hand, embrace the ones who did, all it does is take 1. It can just take 1 person to make a impact on your life, not everyone. So next time you go to a powwow, keep a open mind, don't expect everyone to like you, like yourself, and then if you keep going, people may notice you enough they'll see your true to yourself. I know for myself, it does take me time to approach someone or really get to know someone even if I have seen them 10 or 15 times. Trust is a key thing here and developing that trust does take time. So like everyone says here, don't give up and let time take its course. Just remember your not the only one people are looking at. :D. Personally, I would have shaken your hand but it would take me a while to speak with someone, but that's just me.
                              You have crossed my path, You will never be forgotten......


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