Tuesday, June 16, 2009

claim they have native american blood

But here methinks I can hear you observe What! Englishmen intermarry with Indians? But I can convince you they are guilty of much more heinous practices, more unjustifiable in the sight of God and man. . . for many base wretches amongst us take up with negro women, by which means the country swarms with mulatto bastards, and these mulattoes, if but three generations removed from the black father or mother, may, by the indulgence of the laws of the country, intermarry with the white people, and actually do every day so marry.

Now, if instead of this abominable practice which hath polluted the blood of many amongst us, we had taken Indian wives in the first place, it would have made them some compensation for their lands. . . . We should become rightful heirs to their lands, and should not have smutted our blood . . .

The Reverend Peter Fontaine of Virginia,
in a letter to his brother Moses,
dated March 30, 1757

There's long been a belief among the many family members on my father's side that my father's grandmother was "part Indian." From what I've gathered, such claims are common in white families in the United States. White claims about what may be just as likely -- being part black -- are almost non-existent.

I would like to know what percentage of Americans who self-identify as white contain non-white blood, but reading around on the topic tells me that any particular statistics are not universally accepted by genealogical and DNA experts.

Also, since so many people who did have African or Native blood and could pass for white did so, only DNA tests for a large percentage of white Americans could provide reliable percentages (but even then, the tests themselves aren't necessarily reliable -- the "Native American" results, for example, could be confused with Asian ancestry, given the geographic origins of Native Americans).

According to a Guardian article by Paul Harris on the increasing popularity of genetic testing, "One-third of white Americans, according to some tests, will possess between two and 20 per cent African genes. The majority of black Americans have some European ancestors." (I've yet to find informed estimates of white Americans with Native American genes -- please tell us in a comment if you know of any.)

Harris points out that "Native Americans are growing in numbers, not because of a high birth rate, but because many Americans are discovering unknown native ancestors written in their DNA."

I doubt the same discovery about African American blood is causing that recorded population to increase. Given the regularity with which white Americans impregnated slaves in order, among other reasons, to increase their "property" (and then going on, in some cases, to sell their own children), and again, given the ability of many light-skinned "black" Americans to pass into white society -- given these and other factors, I would think that DNA tests for whites probably turn up more African American than Native American blood. And yet, few white people who find black blood probably go on to proclaim their black ancestry, while many who find Native American blood do go on to proclaim that ancestry.

I should also note that white people in the United States are not the only ones who hope to find Native American ancestry. Many African Americans seek it as well, and significant interaction between the two groups means that some find it. And many Latino/a Americans, of course, don't have to search far at all to find their Native American roots.

Some of the white Americans who take DNA tests or search census and birth records for Native American ancestry do so in the hopes of claiming financial benefits. As Harris writes,

Native Americans often complain they are swamped by "American Indian Princess syndrome," because every white person wants native DNA in their past. In a world of minority grants, scholarships and Indian gambling rights, any debate over DNA and race could easily also become an argument over resources.

Some of these questing white Americans just want to know "who they are." This strikes me as a a dubious quest -- would finding some Native American or black blood really make a person who was raised white, looks white, and gets taken and treated as white, any more "black" or "Indian"?

It's also clear that most white people looking for Native American ancestry are hoping to establish a more romanticized connection to Indian-ness. A connection based in, and stuck in, the past, much more so than the present.

These are the white searchers (sometimes called "pretendians") who hope to fill up a certain emptiness in their bleached-out, whitened identity, but want little part of actual, ongoing Native American struggles. Many of them will never go to a reservation to experience the results of white genocidal practices, even if they do find Native American blood in their DNA. They're rarely willing to fight for treaty rights, nor help with such contemporary problems as compulsory sterilization or substance abuse. Indeed, they're rarely willing to even acknowledge these problems, or do much of anything else that goes beyond vague, sentimental ideas of supposedly authentic Indian-ness.

So why do a lot of white people cherish the possibility of Native American blood so much more than that of African American blood, even when the latter may well be a more likely part of their background?

I think as with the cherished Native American possibility, their distaste and sometimes even disgust for the possibility of black ancestors is based on received notions from the past, but also on those of the present. Ever since slavery in the U.S. was limited to black people in order to divide them from working white people, they've been the most despised racial group. Any sober look at today's American culture in general -- the primary source of our received notions about other people -- would reveal that disdain for racial minorities continues to be strongest for black people.

Actually, common white notions of American Indians are also largely ingested from current cultural imagery, from "brave" or "noble" team mascots, to the continued predominance of TV and movie images of long-gone Indians over accurate representations of the remaining ones actually living today. As gwen notes in a Sociological Images post on this anachronistic tendency in non-indigenous appreciation of "Indian art,"

This tendency is apparent in other elements of U.S. culture, of course: movies like “Dances with Wolves,” books about “noble savages,” and conflicts over what types of technologies American Indians can use when spear fishing (with non-Indians arguing Indians should only be able to use the methods that their tribes used in the 1800s) all indicate a wider perception that “authentic” Indians should inhabit a time-warp universe in which their cultures and lifestyles have remained basically unchanged since the late 1800s or early 1900s, a requirement we don’t ask of other groups.

As far as I know, no one in my family has taken a DNA test to settle the question of whether we actually have Native American ancestors. If some of my relatives do decide to do it, I hope I get a chance to talk to them about just what it is they're really looking for. I'd also like to know what they plan to do if they find something else.


  1. There is the father's-grandmother myth in my family too. I made a joke about this very thing the other week, and had a (white)someone approach me privately saying, very self righteously, "I'm not offended, but you should know my great grandmother is Native."

  2. It's hilarious. The tribe of choice is always Cherokee as though they were the only ones. Also, they like to say that their relative was a princess. Until that is, I inform them that princesses did not exist.

    As far as AAs making claim, the likelihood is a little greater considering that many runaway slaves were protected by Native Americans. However, that being said, not everyone can claim it.

    My husband's grandmothers are in fact both half-Native American (as well as black and European) and boy does it show. Countless times he and my youngest son are approached about their features (e.g. nose, lips, cheeks). But, they don't feel the need to put it out there ALL THE TIME.

  3. I want you to know that your blog is a feature on my page. Thanks for bringing it the way you do daily on this page.

  4. Thank you RiPPa, that's good to see! I've been appreciating your blog for awhile now too.

    Hello alicia!

    Thanks for the great story g, that's sadly hilarious.

    Yes honeybrown1976, it is OFTEN a Cherokee Indian princess. I've read that the Cherokees were considered less "savage" than others, and also that the choice of a "princess" instead of just anyone helped to make up psychologically for the denigrated Otherness that the white person was claiming within him- or herself. It wasn't just an Indian, it was royalty!

  5. I've always been told my mom's family was part Native American, and as a child I was quite proud of this. By the time I was in high school, I no longer felt comfortable claiming Native American as part of my identity, since I and all my relatives look and identify as white and benefit from all those privileges. I began to suspect this was part of our family mythology and not based on any fact. Recently one of my aunts did some investigating and determined our ancestry was Salish, but she still makes references to "our Cherokee roots." I think she's confused.

    It's interesting how white people wish to claim this heritage in order to feel interesting, but have no interest in Native American rights. And by "interesting," I mean both sad and unsurprising.

  6. My family, on my mom's side, has the same belief (well, some of them, anyway), and as with yours, there's really no way of knowing for sure one way or the other.

    But one interesting thing - the relatively positive view of having Native ancestry as compared to African ancestry is definitely not universal, and may be to a certain extent generational (although obviously not entirely, as your opening quote shows).

    When my mom first noticed a few non-Caucasian-looking features among some of her relatives, she asked her grandmother "Are we part Indian?" Her grandmother's reaction was horrified denial: "Certainly NOT! How could you even THINK such a thing?" and on and on to such an extent that my mom figured it must be true for her to put that much effort into denying it.

    This would have been in probably the 1950s - it's strange how something could shift from being Shameful Unthinkable Family Scandal to something people aspire to in order to get some kind of coolness points, over the span of just a few decades...

    I have no idea if it's actually true or not - yeah, people on that side of the family do have slightly Asian- or Native-looking eyes, but the mystery ancestor could just as easily have been a Chinese railway worker or something. Funny how no one goes out of their way to claim that sort of thing.

  7. Wow. What a great post, why didn't I think of this one?

    LMAO. I dated a white girl that said one of her ancestors was a Cherokee princess....Jesus, small world.

    Anyway, here's my two-cents as to why (some) whites families like this myth:

    1) The romanticism of stories like Pocahantas. It makes them think their ancestors were some courageous adventurers.

    2) Positive stereotypes about Native-Americans: Noble, spiritual, good warriors, in touch with the earth, etc... (Most) white people in the U.S. really don't know about their heritage. It's understandable since simply saying "I'm white" is enough to get make you "normal" and give you access to the prvileges that whiteness entails. I think it gives them a sense of coming from somewhere.

    I would also like to note a couple more things. First, I find it curious that, at least from my experience, they usually use a low fraction like "I'm 1/8 Cherokee". I don't think that's a coincidence. It's like saying, "I'm not boring and generic, I'm 'mystical' and have a 'savage' side, but, not too much, I'm still white."

    Finally, does anyone else feel that this trend is much stronger in white women?

  8. I was just was making fun of my friend for claiming to be part native american, saying it was every white person claims that...

    I remember it was something I was told in my family (I'm white btw). I have since come to believe that is bullshit.

    I think the main thing about the whole claiming aspect to the whole whites claiming to be native american thing is that to take pride in being white (overtly anyway) will always be viewed as being racist. So everyone wants some part of their anscestory they can be proud of. Also, maybe it mitigates the fact that our (white) anscestors were at best generally poor immigrants looking for economic oppurtunity and at worst genocidal maniacs doing inventive work in areas like biological warfare and concentration camps. I guess it also is a way to have some kind of claim to the land...

    My wife claims indian anscestory, but I am more inclined to believe her because she knows the tribe and the relative (blackfoot and I forget).

    Lastly, I think one of the reasons whites would be less likely to claim black anscestory if it is at least as -if not much much more- likely as native american anscestory is because there aren't nearly as many self identified Native Americans (I don't know anyone who self identifies that way...) as there are self identified blacks so a white person can claim ethnicity they can be proud of without anyone challenging them and or offending someone (for some reason, the scuttlebutt about the self identified white african american springs to mind... http://www.allaboutrace.com/2009/05/14/paulo-serodio-white-and-african-american/)

  9. All the exoticism, none of the problems!

    This phenomenon is bitterly ironic, considering that in Canada, intermarriage and government regulations for who's recognized as First Nations may mean the end of "status Indians" (who are entitled to funding, services, and rights). However, it looks like the Supreme Court is going to rule on the law.

  10. cdwriteme,

    Yeah, I definitely hear it more in white women. I think it's because being a white woman isn't exotic. However, put a non-white mix in there. Voila! Instant exoticism.

  11. I think the implicit Asian-ness of Native Americans might also play into why white women are more likely to claim Native ancestry. In the cultural mindset: Asian women are exotic geishas. Asian men are hairless and effeminate.

  12. I can tell you one big reason why many (especially those of the liberal side) claim Native American ancestry. But everyone probably already knows it.

    Many whites are "trained" since their first years of elementary school and on to believe their white heritage is essential trash and racist. So they begin learning/being conditioned into adopting other cultural believes into their own lives. This pretendian syndrome, among other adopt-a-culture learnings, are the bad side-effect of political correctness.

    If more people knew anything about Native Americans, it's not about the indian blood that makes you "one of them". It's your heart, soul and knowledge.

  13. @Jon, wow, I'm a black person who always went to predominately white schools and I never was taught that whites were "trash" or "racist" the opposite in fact. Not sure where you went to school, but sound like you went to a seriously weird beyond mainstream average school. Or you are just trying to roil the waters.

  14. honeybrown1976:

    It's hilarious. The tribe of choice is always Cherokee as though they were the only ones. ... As far as AAs making claim, the likelihood is a little greater considering that many runaway slaves were protected by Native Americans.

    Well, that, and also because some Indian nations, notably the Cherokee and to a lesser extent the Muscogee, enslaved black folks prior to Emancipation.

    The attitude towards slavery varied a lot from nation to nation. (The nation that most famously protected black refugees from slavery -- the Seminole -- were deeply divided on the question of slavery, and partly as a result of that Seminole bands eventually ended up dividing and fighting on both sides during the U.S. Civil War.)

    macon d.:

    I've read that the Cherokees were considered less "savage" than others,

    They were the largest groups in what were called the "Five Civilized Tribes" by white slave-owners. The main reason white slave-owners considered them especially "civilized," as compared to other American nations, was the fact that the Cherokee also practiced field slavery and settled agriculture, just like the white slave owners.

  15. Some of these comments reminded me - I once heard someone say "I'm not racist, I'm part Native American!" Now, I have only heard one person say something like this, but I am curious - has anyone else heard statements like that? It makes me wonder if some white people claim to be part Native American as a way to make themselves feel better about racism; if their ancestors were oppressed, they can't be part of the problem, right? Since most people claim to be only a small part Native American (as cdwriteme points out), these claims are less likely to be challenged.

  16. This might be just my experience, but every white person I have met who claimed they were whatever fraction native american tied it in to them being "tanner" than everyone else. I know it sounds extremely stupid and superficial, but a lot of the people I meet see being white with "native american descent" as something to be jealous of solely because they will tan more easily. I have always been irked by this for numerous reasons. Has anyone else come across this?

  17. I am feeling this blog. Every post I have read thus far has been well written and refreshingly honest. With your permission I am going to add you to my blog roll.
    Oh by the way...
    You might need to give my boy RIPPA a shout out over at Intersection of Madness and Reality, because his blog is how I found you.

    Keep up the good work and I will keep reading.

  18. Thank you Dirty Red, glad you're findings things here worth your time, and thanks for the RiPPa tip too. Feel free to blog roll, of course, and I look forward to reading your blog too.

  19. It's also about claiming a form of American authenticity, as opposed to having to just be post European (remember, Europe is the hallowed cultural source, Paris is sophisticated, and so on). General Sherman's name was Wlliam TECUMSEH Sherman and this is a good example.

    He was named after this guy:

    who was a noble and fierce Indian, but dead, and whose death signified an important end of Indian resistance in his area, so it became safe to romanticize him (or cannibalize his name, if you will).

  20. There was a special on PBS, not terribly long ago, about a black historian researching the family history of several famous blacks. In it, it was mentioned that blacks tend to use Native American ancestry to explain family features such as long, straight hair instead of the more likely Caucasian ancestry. Chris Rock, who was one of the celebrities remarked, "Yeah, I can see that. You'd rather say, 'Oh, my family were proud warriors,' instead of, 'Yeah, we got raped a lot.'"

  21. re: the extinction of "Status Indians" in Canada - it's not helped much by those who, for whatever reason (and there's not really much of a shortage of them - yay for shame and residential schools and enfranchisement and poverty and alcoholism and whatnot!), when they marry out, sweep the whole thing under the rug, and poof! The kids are now 100% Italian, just like dad!

    If Canadians started using DNA analysis, just about anyone who can't confirm that all 8 great grandparents were born out of the country is going to be coming up as part native. I don't know off-hand what the ratio of colonists vs. natives wiped out vs. natives left around to share DNA is in Canada compared to the US, but they say that when the fur traders came to Canada, they didn't bring any women with them...

    The Canadians I know personally that do not have status cards, but are part native, aren't claiming DNA analysis or great-great-grandparent princesses - the native family members are recent enough that they've actualy *met* them. But nobody claims a tribe, because if they *were* members, they'd likely have status. Just "Probably (whatever), because of (location), they didn't like to talk about it."

    So we all become "white" anyways.

  22. psychoceramics:
    they say that when the fur traders came to Canada, they didn't bring any women with them...

    Which is one of the reasons why we now have the Métis Nation in Canada - not just some white people with "obscure" native backgrounds:


    But nobody claims a tribe, because if they *were* members, they'd likely have status.

    Not necessarily - The Canadian government has systematically made it extremely bureaucratic and difficult for claiming First Nation status, because if you can claim people aren't "Indian" then you don't have to deal with them on a nation to nation basis, which includes upholding existing treaty rights.

    Whole generations have been denied status because of it - even if they identify 100 percent with First Nations culture.

  23. Many wannabe Native Americans are in it for the prostitution of Native religion. There's cash in that, much cash. You just start calling yourself by an obviously made-up Indian name and charge hundreds for weekend seminars. Everyone who attends the seminar then becomes a "shaman" and can spread similar crap information to anyone else who wants to "be a shaman," etc.

    This site, with responses to Lakota outrage about such prostitution, provides an enlightening look into the mindset of wannabes:


    There are many sites that list--and they're long lists--religious exploiters.

    This is a good site on realities vs pretendians in general:


    I'm sort of surprised that only one-third of white people have African DNA. I'd think it would be all of us. As an adoptee I'm interested in knowing more about my ancestry, but nothing I found would render me somehow "not white."

  24. cdwriteme,
    Here's my story with a white woman who claimed ancestry.

    I was talking to friends to about pressing my hair and why I have to. I'll never forget how this (very pale white) girl opens her mouth and says" I know how you feel. As a 1/256th black woman, I got through the same thing."

    Even after writing that entire thing out, I'm still shocked she opened her mouth and said it all with a straight face.

  25. Lita Harrington,

    Was that a typo? Did someone actually say "I'm 256th"?

    If it isn't a typo....two words....Good LOrd!!!

    That's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. It's like, "yeah, I know about Italian cuisine, I ate Chef Boyardee when I was a kid"....der

  26. If you think about it, there are some logical reasons why the occasional Native American ancestor shows up in white family trees, whereas black ancestors are virtually unknown: the Native ancestors, in many more cases, actually had documented relationships, but most of the interbreeding between blacks and whites, prior to the last couple of generations, was a secret affair that went undocumented.

    If you're going back and researching your family tree, talking to older relatives, looking at birth registries and family correspondence, you're not going to find a lot of documentation for the fact that Great-Great-Great-grandpa Joe sired a mixed-race child by his favorite slave Mary, but you will find evidence of Cherokee grandmothers because those relationships were public and documented. It's a simple fact - whites and Native Americans did marry or live together as common-law spouses, whites and blacks mostly didn't. And in slave-owning society, I'd guess that most of the black/white mixed-race children were sold and raised as black, splitting away from the white branches of the family.

    What this means is that I (white person here) might have a lot of black relatives, but not necessarily black ancestors. Then again, I might, but they're all under the radar.

    I don't say that out of shame in my hypothetical black genes - I'd be as proud of a black ancestor as I am of the English, Dutch, German, and Cherokee (BINGO!) ancestors that I know about. (My wife, who has predominantly Khoikhoi but also some English and Scottish ancestors that we know of, would probably get a kick out of it.) But the fact is, if I have any black ancestors, they haven't shown up in the geneological research that various members of my family have done, whereas we do know that one of my great-grandmothers was Cherokee.

    So, am I proud to have a Cherokee great-grandmother? Sure I am, but I'm just as proud to have ancestors who came to America in the Mayflower fleet, a couple who fought in the Revolution, and one Puritan great-great-great-great-great-something-grandmother who was publicly chastised several times for being outspoken and willful (translation - she didn't take no crap from her husband!). These are all parts of my family's history. They don't really mean much. It doesn't make me Cherokee, it doesn't make me exotic or better than anyone else. You couldn't tell from looking at me that I'm not "100% Standard White Guy". (In fact I'm Jewish, but that's a whole 'nother story that we won't get into). I certainly don't go around telling people "I think you should know I'm part Native American". But it's a cool thing to know about one's family, and it is a little special.

    And, in a lot of cases, I think that's all it is - people like to feel special, and having Native American ancestors gives them that little kick. My mother-in-law got the same pleasure from telling me there was a Scot in their family somewhere - she said this had to be where our new baby (who looks so white it's unreal) got her reddish hair from. And as cdwriteme's story shows, white people who can claim black ancestry are often just as happy about it, even if that blood has been so diluted it borders on the mythical "One Drop".

    Obviously, this wasn't always the case. And just as obviously, there are a lot of people who use mythical Native American ancestry to make ridiculous claims without bearing any of the burdens real Native Americans have to deal with. The same goes for the "1/256th-black" woman who thinks she knows how cdwriteme feels, and others like her. But sometimes, a remote Native American ancestor is simply a minor detail of a person's background, and one that I don't think they should automatically be mocked for being proud of. I mean, would it be better if all whites were ashamed of their non-white ancestry?

  27. Sorry, I see it was Lita Harrington who had the surreal conversation with the 1/256th-black woman, not cdwriteme.

  28. The prevalent belief in my white family is that my great-great-great-grandmother was Cherokee. (So, if this story is true, I'm 1/32 Cherokee.) It's never seemed entirely implausible to me, since that side of the family lived in Tennessee and Kentucky and then moved to Oklahoma in the early 20th c., but the fact that it's the most common story of all white families makes it seem a lot less credible. I keep waiting for the cousin interested in genealogy to look into this, but so far nothing. I remember someone who asked about my mother's background telling her a few years ago that she should really try to prove it because if she is 1/16 Cherokee there would be "all kinds of money from the tribe" available to her, to which my polite mother just shook her head and said that she didn't identify as Cherokee and had never been seen (or discriminated against) as Cherokee in her life, so to sweep in as an upper-middle-class white woman and demand money seemed a bit ridiculous. The interlocutor kept insisting that "there's good money to be had from the tribe" and "well, if you ever need money, that's your ace in the hole" until someone intervened and changed the subject. Argh.

    As honeybrown1976 pointed out, this myth of family heredity often involves a "Cherokee princess" (though in my case there are no claims of royalty), but indeed I have never, ever heard a variation of the story that involves the mythical semi-known Cherokee (or other Native American) being male. I mean, I know plenty of bi- and multiracial people who have specific, actual, verifiable relatives who are Native American males, but when it's a part of this vague, indeterminate, exotic heritage (some small fraction, sometimes a specific relation--i.e., great-grandmother--, never an actual name), the non-white relative is always female. I assume this has to do with long-standing and well-known fears of white women being raped/contaminated by men of color, so that the dominant cultural narrative reads having a Cherokee great-great-grandfather as being identical to having a white great-great-grandmother who was either a slut or a victim of rape. (You've seen The Searchers, right?) [Of course, if the Cherokee great-great-grandmother was a rape victim, our dominant cultural narratives are not too interested in dwelling on that...]

  29. Well, now this feels awkward.

    While the "Cherokee Princess" phenomenon is an irritating and tasteless display of both privilege and historical ignorance (princess, really?), it is also frustrating that many people have reached the point of assuming that anyone who isn't readily identifiable as Indian, but who mentions native ancestry, is participating in that phenomenon.

    My family fits the description that psychoceramics gave to a T. They came to Canada from France in the 1630s and worked as fir trappers in Michigan and Ontario. Often they had "mixed marriages" with non-Catholic women, about whom we know nothing, since their lack of Catholicism means they effectively don't exist in the document record. At some point in the 1790s they ended up settling for good on the Michigan side of the border. The story gets fuzzy after 1860, where there was enlistment in the union army, and a marriage to a woman who was definitely Indian, moves into and out of Oklahoma and Nebraska, and the birth of my Grandfather's dad. Based on some records obtained by a cousin we think that they were on a reservation for a short period of time.

    We don't really know where they ended up, but my grandpa's dad was a businessman in Kansas, and married a white Lutheran. My grandpa and his brothers were always told that they were so tan because their family was "from the south of France, which is almost like Italy".

    All this began to surface in the 90s, when my grandpa's oldest brother's wife decided to do some genealogy for him, so that he could find out about his french ancestors. He was not happy with the results, and plays down anything that happened in "the new world". His son (who currently lives in Europe) has gotten more into the research, and has looked into the stuff that happened between 1860 and 1930 (when my grandpa was born) most extensively.

    I really want to research this more myself, if for no other reason then because it flips over the common narrative of native american ancestry. My early native ancestors (those undocumented non-catholic women) were part of a tribe that frequently collaborated with the French against other Indians. Capitalism and assimilation got my grandpa's family out of government documentation and into mainstream society within a generation. They aren't noble victims, but complicated enablers, which makes the story more grey (less black and white).

    The idea of Indian ancestry has always appealed to me because it would provide an easy category for me to slip into. My dad is Hispanic, and well... you've heard most of my moms background. Pocahontas came out when I was a kid and from that point on people have been asking me if I was some kind of Native American. I used to wish that the genealogy project my great-uncle and 2nd cousin did would find more, so that I could have an easy answer for people who wanted to know WHAT I was.

  30. http://stuffblackpeoplehate.com/2008/08/22/cherokees/

  31. My Mother is half native american snd half italian. I admit it makes for cute looking babies. But I spent most of my youth and modern day being mistaken for hispanic.
    Actualy between that and my fathers heratage, I have 3 sibblings who look very racialy diffrent from each other.

  32. As a Metis man, I think it's important to draw a distinction between caucasian-looking Metis and people who don't really identify as Metis but rather just say it occasionally.

    For membership/citizenship in the Metis federation I'm a part of, DNA tests are not sufficient. There are three criteria, and all need to be met. Like PegsPirate said, it's very bureaucratic here in Canada. (Pegs, are you from Manitoba?)

    1. provable native ancestry (through geneological records)

    2. self-identification as Metis

    3. someone else within the community accepting you as Metis. (Most people have someone they know vouch for them)

  33. well, i think this is a sort of useless thing to talk about. Although it is funny because it seems to be true.

    First, in the area where i live, Cherokee is the largest nation. Growing up i have heard many claims of indian blood, but who was i to ever judge?

    Second, my dads family is cherokee and some sioux lakota. his fam is also a lot of scottish/irish decent as well. Growing up, my grandmother always told me this, and i was proud. (although i never heard of the princess thing before)

    We joke in my family that we are "Cherohonkees" I am mild toned in skin, wavy dark hair and dark eyes, and some freckles, i look mostly white. i am white, i consider myself a european american. (my mom is of 3rd generation italian decent, she has light skin and brown hair) but when people ask what i am, i say im all of those things. i dont think im special, but native americans are awesome, and i am glad i have a distant connection to ones so different looking than me. My dad has russety skin, black hair and dark blue eyes, but i look nothing like him. he calls himself white but also notes his ancestry too.

    sure, i could let everyone here on this blog control what i call myself, allow them to put me in a box stamped white, or off-white. but i am me, and the same goes for all of you. my grandmother was passionate about letting all of us know our roots, how could i ever betray that? i carry a strong interest in all things indian because its just who i am, and i feel connected to it the most out of the four things i am made of.

    and i do care about indian issues like alcoholism, mistreatment and poverty, but theres issues in italian and irish culture, but im not an activist for any of my cultures.

    spiritually, my beliefs are more centered on native american beliefs. most of the people in my fam with indian decent are christians or agnostic, so a lot of the beliefs i had to discover on my own.

    yes, i see blonde haired blue eyed people saying thier indian, yes i see kids as black as night claim cherokee or apache heritage, but thats just what being an american is all about. i embrace them just the same, because they embrace me, and a connection is shared. dont be hatin. we are all the same anyways, red, yellow, orange, black or white.

    (race is not actually real anyway, when european slave holders needed a good excuse to continue enslaving africans, they invented the race excuse, "they are a different color than us, so they must be lesser" its true, things back then were based on country and tribe, not skin color or nose shape)

    it makes me sad that people are so quick to sew scarlet letters on eachother. i know many native american people who show no passion for thier people, and many non native people who do, be it wolf tee shirts, turqouise jewelry or dream catchers.

  34. When I was a kid my grandmother told me that my grandfather had been part Cherokee. I accepted this uncritically, both because he looked the part, and because, once I got a bit older, it appealed to my desire for some heritage to be proud of: ie, not all oppressor, as some other commenters noted above. (And my family really were oppressors: Confederate slave owners.)

    It did not occur to me right away that if this story of our ancestry was true, it didn't necessarily mean that true love had triumphed over racial barriers in our family.

    I discovered as I got older that my great-uncle hotly denies my grandmother's story. Also, since this branch of the family is from the South, it's more likely I have a black great-great-grandparent, but less likely that the family would have recorded this honestly anywhere.

    Since all the people who would know are now dead, I suppose I could get my DNA tested, but that won't tell me what I want to know--who my great-great-grandparents were, how they lived, whether they loved each other. It's the loss of those personal histories that saddens me. I haven't ever formally identified as anything other than white, nor would I, but I'd love to know the true stories in my family's past.

  35. Linked this! My partner's made this claim a few times, and I remember hearing about that in my dad's family.

  36. I actually came across your blog while doing a random google search! Very interesting stuff you have here!

    To dive right in (and hopefully not be the stereotype), my mom's grandmother was full Native American. My mom's parents were both half Native American, making my mom half as well.

    My dad isn't totally sure of his mother's heritage, but I have come to believe that that puts me at 1/4 Native American. Yes, I know that's not a very large fraction. I have been told that my eyes look Native American, though I'm not sure how since I share the same eye color as 70% of the world. That could make me Hispafricasian for all I know, haha.

    I actually have a picture of my great-great-grandmother sitting in an rocking chair on a reservation. I think it's a very nice, simple picture of her. =)

    And I'm glad to say that I've never had the "Indian Princess" fantasy either. ;) I never even heard of that concept before! And even though Pocahontas was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up, I never even tried to compare myself to her, haha.

    I am very proud of all parts of my heritage (the ones I know of at least). Norwegian and Native American make up half of my ethnicity combined. I am also Irish, Dutch, English, and German. Though I don't have as many nations running coursing through my veins as other people claim to have, I like to dub myself a Euro-mutt. =)

  37. Xanarii--

    I'm white. I'm a girl. My mother did say that my paternal great-grandmother was the daughter of a chief. The story goes that she was adopted into the Scottish clan of McDonald. We have a picture of her, and she definitely looks native. I'll admit I have romanticized ideas about Native Americans and where my great-grandmother might have come from. My dad says she was from a tribe out near Utah. but we can't find any documentation for it. I'd like to know if she really was Native American. I'd like to know her story. I'm terribly interested in geneology. One of my uncles keeps the family book, so the tree of relatives back into the 1400s. branches of my family came in 1460 and in the 1600s. I'm related to a colonial mayor and a president. I think it's pretty cool to know the stories of people all along the line. I have a great-great-grandfather who was a sailor. he died in a hurricane in colonial times. Should I be ashamed to find all this family history cool? Should I not want to know my (possible) great-grandmother's Native American ancestry? Should I want to ignore her history? If I have any African American ancestry, I'd think it's just as cool. I have no idea if I do. I'd want to know all about their story too. I'd probably want to track their life and know everything I could find about them. Where they might have been slaves, what they did in the civil war, were they born into slavery or were they born in africa, were they born after that time, what have they done with their lives. I like to know the story of people. Should I be ashamed of that? Money would be nice, I'm not exactly well-off. But i'm more interested in knowing, and if I didn't have enough of a fraction to be included in a minority by law, I'd find my ancestors just as interesting. That's my history. Why shouldn't I want to know it? I know all about my maternal grandfather's german heritage and my maternal grandmother's swedish heritage. My paternal grandmother was scottish and my paternal grandfather is the one with the family book. It was his mother that was supposedly Native American. Yes, I like to identify with them. I'm white on my income tax. my family history is euro-wasp. my personal beliefs are nothing like any religion, but i'd love to know about true Native American religion. I love their art and pottery. Just like i love my Scottish kilt and their engineering ways. Does all of this make me a bad person? Am I an ignorant little white girl because I want to know my family history? Why is wanting to know that history and being proud of it, something people here think I should be ashamed of? That’s got me confused.

  38. Growing up, my mother has told me that her father's mother was a full blooded Native American, although I am white (including my mother). I am not believing this story until I see photos of my great grandmother.

  39. FLIP SIDE OF THE COIN: I have my GG Grandmothers emancipation records. My Grandfather passed himself off as white to get a job with American Airlines in the 1930s. He married white, so we grew up thinking we were white.

    Well, after doing our geneology, I find out about the big *cover up*. I don't look black.. .I look, uhm.. maybe Greek or Italian...Jewish perhaps? Dark hair, dark eyes, olive skin, but fair.

    As much as I try to embrace what little blackness I have in my DNA, it doesn't get taken seriously. I've studied all I can on slavery, culture, issues, etc... with a serious intention to honor my ancestors with an earest heart.

    So, I am roughly 1/8th black. Does that make me bi-racial? Does it count? I know many indian-wannabe's who would LOVE to have documentation to prove they are 1/8th Cherokee or tribe of their choice.

    Sadly, I get very little respect from the black community so far in regard to this. I take it seriously, and still want to honor my heritage. I am also Irish and Welsh. I give them just as much respect. But honestly, there is no room for me in black culture it appears because I LOOK white, and for the most part, I am.

    I remember a few years back when talk about giving those who can prove any slave ancestory the equivelent to *40 acres & a mule* was going on. When I brought it up to a black friend, she said said I'd make a lot of people mad if I tried to qualify. Why? Do I qualify for a minority grant? Doubt it.

    I love people of all races. I find every aspect of every heritage beautiful. I just want to be able to embrace mine.

    Thank you for your blog. I love it.


  40. I grew up hearing about the 'Indians' in my family. It wasn't until I was an adult that I actually took time to disprove everyone. I am fair skinned and have blue eyes, but I am one of the few in my family like this. My mother and all but one (there are 6) of her siblings have dark brown hair and brown or hazel eyes.
    I found out that I do indeed have Native American (Cherokee, but not a princess) blood in my family. We are listed on the Dawe's roll and I have petitioned and been awarded my Native American status.
    My family came from the East Cherokee Reservation.
    I do however get pissed when folks call me white. I have always felt this way, even before I knew about the Cherokee blood.
    I am not white. If you have to put a color on me I am a lovely cream or peach. Just like African-Americans aren't BLACK. That is a stupid prejudice that I hope people like you can someday get past. I have Africans in my family, as well as Brazilians and Palestinians.
    Don't judge me by the color of my skin, just as I wouldn't judge someone by the color of thiers.

  41. I think this is true, but some white families who have been in the U.S. for a few hundred years. It's a possibilty that they may have some Native American blood. Both sides of my family, which migrated to Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma, have been here since the 1600s, with the last immigrant crossing in the mid-1700s.
    My grandmother has down extensive search and confirmed, which we already knew that some of the men in her family had participated in the Trail of Tears, resulting in the men marrying some Native American women.
    It doesn't make me a Native American, but it means I'm connected to the fabric of my country's history.

  42. On my mom's side of the family we allegedly have Sauk and/or African American ancestors. My aunt had old old family photos and she and my mom and their brother tried to pick out the non-white folks. They kept picking the women from the south of Ireland.

  43. Another thing I noticed with a lot of my white friends claiming they are Native American is that they try to discredit each others claims of being Indian. It’s like only they themselves can claim that heritage. I have one white friend who claims he is only native American. He has blond hair and pale white skin and somehow never makes any mention of his white heritage. Even his parents are just as white looking as him. I’m going to challenge him that if he is so Indian then claim it on job applications and such. I would love to see how that goes. I’m thinking real Indians must either be laughing their selves crazy at whites who claim this or just confused as anything. Someone mentioned earlier that the political correctness has caused a lot of this and in some cases I would agree. I feel as a white person we are made to feel ashamed of our past history and that somehow we are the cause of this messed up world. It might not be preached that way point blank on the news and in public schools but its message is clear in a non evasive manner. I guess you could say that they elude to it.

  44. Challenging someones claim to be a certain heritage is a pretty slippery slope to travel. Yes, the "I'm 1/64th Cherokee... My great, great so-and-so was a princess... etc." syndrome is rampant and objectifying. And also many true Indians have to deal with challenges to their heritage time and again by people (usually white) who think they know more about who is a "real" Indian than Indians. For more on this read the chapter on anthropologist in Vine Deloria Jr.'s "Custer Died for Your Sins", as well as pretty much any autobiography by a Native American, or Google "you don't look Indian" for many, many accounts of this from the mouths of Native people. You could also check out the Dianne Burns poem on this site here:


  45. This is a difficult subject, I can't speak for the Whites that claim Native American heritage.........I am genetically 43.75% Native American (Choctaw & Enrolled), 37.75%African (origin unknown) and 18.75%White(Italian & Irish).....genetically I am more Native American than anything else....My father is almost a fullblood Native....(genetically) but he is a Native by appearance....and heritage.......my mother....is of African American and white decent....and she appears to be clearly racially mixed....Now to my appearance......I have light brown/reddish skin.....a roman/shaped nose....medium lips......slanted/tight eyes......and curly/straightesh hair........now I am clearly racially mixed........but you know what people always assume is that I'm 1/2Black and 1/2White (only).which is wrong (granted I don't expect them to know my exact racial makeup)......but, they label me, they state oh, your just Black (they apply that old "one drop" rule).....I don't have a problem identifying with my African heritage.....but it's just annoying when other's refuse to aknowledge my Native American heritage....especially other Natives...(fullbloods and mostly mixed bloods that have white decent) there is a lot of racist within the Native American communities against anyone with Black heritage.....(the racism is not only against Whites).......they look down on Blacks and that's wrong....

  46. Great posting. I'm linking to it in my blog.

    For those who actually have a Cherokee great-grandmother (or whatever), I'd say take pride in all your ancestors. But don't use your tiny fraction of Indian blood to claim you're an Indian too. That only leads to the problem Macon described: non-Indians taking resources from Indians who need them.

    This is a big issue among Native actors these days. Reversing the gains of recent years, a lot of major Native roles are going to wannabes who claim they're part Indian.

    Jessica Simpson was one who used the "I'm an Indian" excuse recently to defend her comments.

    Here's someone who said determining who's an Indian is a waste of time. Naturally, I disagreed.

    For more on this perennial subject, see Defining Who's an Indian.

  47. telling people that they aren't Native enough is just as stupid as telling a child they aren't black or white enough.

    Not everyone who registers as a Native American is looking for a handout. Also, you have to be a pretty high percentage of Native American to receive the free education and other benefits. Someone who is 1/256th Native American won't receive the benefits.

    Also, there is such a thing as a pale Native American. Try not to peg someone's ancestry based on looks unless you are an expert at genealogy and recessive traits.

    We in my family have pictures of my ancestors who were born and raised on the Cherokee Nation East (when there was such a thing) and not all of them are the same shade of tan or brown or whatever you want to call it.

    Everyone should embrace all of their ancestors. If only the highest percentage was recognized, a lot of races would have died out by now.

  48. As an African American woman with a Cuban mother, I find it interesting and comical how so many blonde hair blue eyed whites claim Native American ancestry. Now from my understanding genetics play a big part in our skin color and our eye and hair color. Basic genetics teaches us there are dominant genes and recessive genes. People of color have the dominant gene, ie Africans, Native Americans, some Latin’s, and Asians etc. People without color i.e. Europeans - Germans, English etc have the recessive genes. Not saying one is better than the other, just stating a fact that people of color have the dominant gene. If a person of color has the dominant gene and an Anglo who has the recessive gene procreated, the off spring will be a child of color 98.9% of the time. Generally darker hair and eye color and color to their skin. A few examples would be Barak Obama or Halle Berry. Both claim African American ancestry and rightfully so. When Asians procreate with an Anglos, the children have very Asian features, darker hair etc. Example: Jon & Kate plus 8. I suspect that when Anglo's procreate with any person of color the dominant gene takes over. So here is my question, how or why do blonde hair whites try so hard to convince others that their grandmothers are Native Americans when they obviously have very Anglo complexions? They will still claim white as a race when it comes to privileges in America (convenience) but still wanting to convince people of color they have something in common. As if they understand the struggles of people of color.

  49. I dont agree with your blog at all,not everyone is out there for the money and most certanly if i had black in my family history i would claim it . i have been told since i was little that i have native blood and i have my mother as proof. but i think it is cool because i can say cristopher columbus did what ? i dont fucking think so ..... you cant discover somthing that already is inhabited by other people!!! this country , dont get me wrong i do love my country but this country was built on bull shit killing and raping and then we put in some lame ass story about how the natives did it so it was ok for everyone els .... i claim my heritage because i love my long black soft hair and my almost black "dark brown eyes" . and i can only imagin in my worst nightmares what my ancesters must have gone threw! "same would go for black people as well" so like i said in the begining if i had black in my blood yes i would claim it.

  50. So people want to know were their family came from? Whats the problem with that? Everyone should be proud of the long road that lead to oneself.
    We are everyone kind of mixed in the modern society.

    I have been doing some research in my own heartige and found lots of interesting stuff about what people did and were they came from. Sami, Russian, Tater (dont know the english word), Norwegian, and probably a lot more that has disapeared in the ages.

    Now I am trying to study more on my mothers side of the family were her grandad was adopted from America as a kid, little 5 year old yellowish skin with long black hair. Do anyone know were one can find papers for overseas adoptions from America to Norway? One should think that such serious transportation distance of a kid would be writhen down on paper somewere...

    Jes I do look like "white", but the fackt is that everyone that has the same skintone do not look like the same person, and... there is noone in the world that has the same type of skin, bonestruckture and so on than yourself! Personaly I like my high sheckbones.

    And for people that dont like for example "white" people that say that they are partly "black" . Did you know that "black" people can have have blue eyes and blond hair? And did you know that white people can have brown eyes and black hair? AND did you know that there is no person that is white or black? If you meet such a person you sould get them to a doctor...looking like a pice of paper or the night sky is not human.

  51. Im white I just like sexy FB menz. >>>If you THINK youre a Native American, theres an easy Test:

    Find a full length mirror, take your pants off, turn around, is your ass white? Then youre white. Is it brown? Congratulations, your an NDN!
    Mizz August~

  52. You people are so pathetic. Its always the exact same nonsense with both races in America. Blacks and whites have some serious issues. You are all trying to prove your better when in all actuality you just cancel each other out time and time again. I am of middle eastern and Mediterranean and I have never come across such a group of racists. You may think that the word racist does not apply to you because of history but, know that i dont live in 1960, 1906, 1860, 1806...its 2009 and you all have issues. If you want to claim that its only "white people" who say things you had better start listening to yourselves. You sound JUST like them!!! Congrats you have become just like the racist ignorant folks who lived in the 1700's and thought they were so much better than everyone else. Your part of the problem NOT the solution and many times over i have seen the "race card" brought out by people just like you against EVERY other race in America except your selves which is not only very telling but, very sad. I lived in the middle most of my life and I had never seen a black African person anywhere who was not a tourist from another country and I lived in Egypt. Now dont get me wrong I watched t.v. but, Africans in Africa and African Americans are two totally different breeds. In America I listen to "stories" about my own race all the time and its mostly myths that come from Black Americans that are the most astounding in nature. You see in the East we are many shades and that also goes for eye color and hair color too. Indigenous arab people no matter their races tend to carry all 3 root race bloodlines in their DNA. We are born this way. So it means some of us can have kids who either a bit darker or a bit lighter and hair color and eyes color can vary. My mother for example is pretty dark skinned with dark brown eyes and very curly brown hair. I however, was born with hazel eyes and pale skin and when I say pale I mean pale...I also have very dark red hair...yet my father looked almost just my mom with slightly lighter hair and green eyes. technically most people think I am an America admixture and many ASSUME I am America Indian which I am not...but, I was not born here. It is insulting when any race tries to lay claim to another when they are NOT related. If we were to really break down racism in America I am afraid there would not be a country left. Perhaps that is what many of you bloggers would like but, let me tell you something about my generation...we are going to leave you in the past. You have destroyed how we think for far too long. Take a walk through any high school and look at the damage your constant race speech no matter what color you are has done to the youth in this country. Lets just say that I for one feel very sorry for most of you when you become senior citizens. My generation does not care about your pasts.

  53. Stuff white people do and have exported to other races:

    Compiling blog posts and comments about genetics, trying to impress others. Oh how we're all impressed...

    I know for a fact that I am part Cherokee. 1/16th is a close approximation. Could be even more but i'll never know. But who cares? I just enjoy my appearance. I've got almond shaped eyes, folds on my eyelids, high cheek bones, and other structural characteristics common among native americans, but what good are they to me being mostly white? That's just it, the only good thing about it is that I'm just mixed enough to not have the same face/body as anyone else. And I enjoy those features and I don't legally need to be a native to have people always ask me about what I am because I look different. And I disagree with White people not claiming African ancestry. My father before he passed always speculated that we had African American blood on his side of the family. It would be interesting to find out if that is true because it is mostly likely that the Native American I get from his side is from the same person that contributed African ancestry.

  54. While Your insights are appreciated, your conclusions are inappropriate. you should consider that, like myself, there are many descendants of prosperous Colonial families who, being "forward" thinkers, or simply attracted to a Native American woman, etc. married and fathered children, and the family continued as it had been- arriving at a point in which, because of cultural stigmas, Indian heritage was denied, and thus eradicated from verbal history. My 4th and 5th great grandmothers were 100% native American, however, we are considered "white", that is a result of history, and makes me no less the descendant of native Americans, and therefor a native American- delineation of percentages is foolish.

  55. I find it interesting that so many White people like to claim American Indian ancestry whenever people start talking about race but never so much as hint at it any other time.

    I also find it interesting that these same White people who have so many American Indians living in their family tree don't even consider the likelihood of Black people passing for White being there as well.

    You'd think more people would be claiming Black ancestry to get their "I can't be racist!" credentials.

  56. I find it interesting that so many White people like to claim American Indian ancestry whenever people start talking about race but never so much as hint at it any other time.

    Clearly you don't live in the midwest. That's basic conversation here. "Oh, I'm half this and a quarter that.. oh, and my grandmother's mother on my dad's side was half this..."

    Everyone talks about their ancestry. Myself included. To me, it's just interesting conversation. I'm always curious to know where people's ancestors come from.

  57. architectom writes: "My 4th and 5th great grandmothers were 100% native American, however, we are considered "white", that is a result of history, and makes me no less the descendant of native Americans, and therefor a native American- delineation of percentages is foolish."

    Ok.. so my 3rd Great Grandmother was African-American. Her son married African-American, but my Great-Grandmother passed herself off as white, and married white.

    As much as I would like to relate to culture and history, I am not black enough to be black. One hundred years ago, I wouldn't have been white enough to be white.

    Do you live in the US? At what point will we call ourselves "American", like the those from Engand call themselve "English"? One hundred years from now, those doing their geneology will certainly look at you and I as American... descending from different races. You are not Native American and I am not Black.

  58. Ancestory IS cool. Most Americans are a sort of *stew* of different races combined. Most black people are not 100% black.

    I think it's fine to embrace whoever you are, however you got here. But the point of this thread being that it's ridiculous to claim your *Indian, black, etc..* because your 1/32 of such race.

    This is the truth: one of my family names is OGLE. It can be directly traced back to 1412, to The Duke Of Ogle. That does not make me English Aristocracy. It means I am a mutt. :-)

    Can we not celebrate all that we are?

  59. I find, it interesting that in American Indian/Native American communities.....many do reject Blacks in particular....now I'm speaking about someone that has even the smallest "hint" of African blood...let's say...even 25% but, might be 75% Native American, I have noticed that most accept this....even the one's that are mixed.....it's just strange......but most will accept a Person that is 75% white and 25% Native.....as a Native..........it comes from that old mentality of the "one drop rule" if you are even 1% Black......you are considered Black...(now of course that's unrealistic...) comments anyone...

  60. I found this blog very interesting. I've known kids for years who claim to have Native American ancestry (the Cherokee rumor is quite popular) but few have hard evidence.

    No matter what ancestry I have, I still strive to have an open, positive view of all cultures and people, and I am sympathetic to how most groups are completely pidgeon-holed, such as African Americans and now Hispanics.

    I've debated even creating a band based on a sympathetic and compassionate view of Hispanics and everyone else, because it no longer matters who is stealing benefits from whom, most of us whites are hypocrites anyways as proven in this blog.

    I know I have Native blood in me, because when my mother was in the hospital the doctors who took blood samples approached my dad and said "you know she is part Shoshone, right?"

    We've known that for years, and my mother's side is also proven to be related to William Clark from the Expedition...which raises many questions I would one day like to solve, as it is possible Clark and Sacagawea had a child.

    But I don't search for these things with too great enthusiasm....I feel that in doing so would only shame me as I am very much all white and look more Northern German than Native American, no one would ever guess at all.

    And I will not shame myself by searching for this heritage for profit, as it would make me no better than a crazed white man slaughtering Natives, or as a Native traitor who outs his own brothers to the white man.

    My pride for this blood is within me, and forever shall be. It would be nice to know my family history....but I will not taint my ancestry by selling it out.

    My dad suggested I try for benefits, but I haven't the percentage of blood for it, and even if I did, no man is greater than another, and why should I enjoy benefits simply because my people suffered? If I did not suffer with them, I would accept no benefits.

    And even today, reservations are rather terrible. More attention must be drawn to them...and if I find a way to help, I will. Not as a man with Native blood, nor as a white man, but simply as a human being.

    We are all meant to take care of each other as people.

    Compassion is what is most important. Judge not.

    I love you all.

    - Pete

  61. I found this blog very interesting. I've known kids for years who claim to have Native American ancestry (the Cherokee rumor is quite popular) but few have hard evidence.

    No matter what ancestry I have, I still strive to have an open, positive view of all cultures and people, and I am sympathetic to how most groups are completely pidgeon-holed, such as African Americans and now Hispanics.

    I've debated even creating a band based on a sympathetic and compassionate view of Hispanics and everyone else, because it no longer matters who is stealing benefits from whom, most of us whites are hypocrites anyways as proven in this blog.

    I know I have Native blood in me, because when my mother was in the hospital the doctors who took blood samples approached my dad and said "you know she is part Shoshone, right?"

    We've known that for years, and my mother's side is also proven to be related to William Clark from the Expedition...which raises many questions I would one day like to solve, as it is possible Clark and Sacagawea had a child.

    But I don't search for these things with too great enthusiasm....I feel that in doing so would only shame me as I am very much all white and look more Northern German than Native American, no one would ever guess at all.

    And I will not shame myself by searching for this heritage for profit, as it would make me no better than a crazed white man slaughtering Natives, or as a Native traitor who outs his own brothers to the white man.

    My pride for this blood is within me, and forever shall be. It would be nice to know my family history....but I will not taint my ancestry by selling it out.

    My dad suggested I try for benefits, but I haven't the percentage of blood for it, and even if I did, no man is greater than another, and why should I enjoy benefits simply because my people suffered? If I did not suffer with them, I would accept no benefits.

    And even today, reservations are rather terrible. More attention must be drawn to them...and if I find a way to help, I will. Not as a man with Native blood, nor as a white man, but simply as a human being.

    We are all meant to take care of each other as people.

    Compassion is what is most important. Judge not.

    I love you all.

    - Pete

  62. My mother's family had a legend about Mohawk blood, and my father's had one about Abenaki blood. I was very skeptical about the legend on my mother's side, less so about the legend on my father's side because my grandmother confirmed it and had very Native-American features. I had a DNA test done a couple years ago, which showed I have 3% (1/32) native DNA. My mother also had the test, and to my surprise came up with the same percentage, meaning that my father must also have 3% (1/32) Abenaki blood. Sometimes the family legends turn out to be true.

  63. Enlightened White GuyNovember 11, 2009 at 10:42 AM

    Ward Churchill, who claimed Native American ancestry, was proven to be nothing but 100% Waaaht.(That's how Cartman pronounces it) He has been an object of ridicule for some time.
    I think the main and most profound problem with all of these Aryans claiming Native genes, is that now many people do not know what a Native looks like. When they see one they say--are you Chinese? And then they see Daniel Day Lewis and say--now there is a Native American.
    My kid had been confused because of all of the blonde haired kids in school who claim Native status. Even the teacher in her class used a little anglo boy to be an example of an American Indian survivor of genocide. She actually thought Natives can be blonde, red haired, brown haired; basically anything but black haired. When I finally pointed one out to her (a 100% Native American author on the Daily Show) she was utterly surprised, even disheartened at the reality.
    So that is one big reason they should cut that crap out, because many of these talc-chalk-maggot skin people claim more than an eighth, but even 50% or more.

  64. I dont believe any white person who claims to be Native American or anything else in there ancestry to be white or Caucasion You can only be white if you have all european ancestors !

  65. I am a mixed teen. My fathers side is White and black. My mothers side is Native american or Blackfoot. I ohnestly dont put it out there like that all th time. But if whites despised natives so mutch back then, Then why now are they trying to claim a race that they probably know that they are far from. I would like to say that CHEROKEE is not the onlty tribe out there. Some Natives take it personaly when you try to claim something you are not. My grand mother who in fact is still living Does not like whites. Sorry. At first I thought her reasons were stupid but they are not. They came here took our land put us into slavery. I know about my tribes istory because it was passed on in stories from generations to generations. I am proud to be Native American. Those who are not lieing should be too.

  66. First of all, why do all the people commenting who claim Native ancestry have to immediately provide us with a detailed description of their appearance: "I KNOW I am part Cherokee and it shows! I have high cheekbones, almond shaped eyes, and I tan!"... seriously? Is that your hard evidence? Newsflash: people from all over the globe, including EUROPE, can have those characteristics. Or what about this gem...
    "I know I have Native blood in me, because when my mother was in the hospital the doctors who took blood samples approached my dad and said 'you know she is part Shoshone, right?'"
    ...WOW so now DNA samples taken at a hospital can determine what TRIBE a person descends from? That's interesting, I'll have to request this phenomenal genetic analysis on my next trip to Kaiser...

    Enlightened White Guy is right- SO many people claim indigenous ancestry these days that many people don't have a clue what full-blooded Native Americans look like. These days, everyone's an Indian! Do you have straight, dark hair? You’re an Indian! High cheekbones? You’re an Indian! Some slightly “exotic” feature that doesn’t seem to “add up” with your English/German/Dutch heritage? You’re an Indian! All you have to do is claim it and voilá... you're a Cherokee (or Blackfoot, or Shoshone, or...)! It's like magic! *rolls eyes* It seems the masses have certainly bought into Hollywood’s warped vision of who and what Native Americans are...

    Mixed Teen also made a good point. We all learned in history class how racist and exclusive white society was... yet we're simultaneously supposed to believe these white people were non-stop mixing with Native Americans... right. Interracial marriages used to be incredibly taboo, if not illegal. White society was elitist and had dreadfully unpleasant and bigoted views of Native Americans (and other non-white people). Native Americans were wiped out and forcibly removed. I'm not making this up. This is history. So tell me... when did all this mixing occur? White-Native relationships certainly existed, but to assume they were the norm, and that we all descend from them, is absurd.

  67. I want to know when did all the mixing occur. The vast majority claiming Native Ancestry had European immigrant ancestry (most likely stemming from the Ellis Island era). So, when did all of this mixing occur?

    The lies never add up.

  68. The same way lots of the mixing between blacks and white occured: slavery and rape. But also because the children of this mixing would "pass" and be integrated into white society, making mixing easier. And some really did come about from legit relationships.

    A friend of mine is full-blooded Native American and has dark brown skin. She and the other dark-skinned participants at tribal evens often face confusion from the lighter skinned, mixed members because people have forgotten what their tribes originally looked like.

  69. I'm aware that some full-blood Native Americans take it very personal when someone tries to claim native status especially when it involves g-g-g grandparents. They're sick of their cultures being disrespected, appropriated and commericalized for a buck.

    It's funny that Mexicans and significant portion of the Southern Hemisphere have partial native blood and they are deemed Illegals here but a Daniel Day Lewis-looking dude is (only) Native.

  70. >> " I want to know when did all the mixing occur. The vast majority claiming Native Ancestry had European immigrant ancestry (most likely stemming from the Ellis Island era). So, when did all of this mixing occur?"

    Well, white people my age who claim to have "some" Native American ancestry usually put the percentage at 1/8 or 1/16. So that puts it back at a great or great*2 grandparent. I am 25. Average 20 years a generation (I am totally making this number up, but it sounds like a nice average), and you are looking at the first quarter of the 20th century.

    Now, given the other elements of these people's common claims, the best I can figure is that somewhere between 1900-1925, a Cherokee (...it's usually Cherokee, amiright) person born in the U.S. and a first-generation Irish-American had A HELL OF A LOT OF KIDS.

    About a third of whom married someone who was half-Jewish.

    And none of whom married anyone whose ancestors owned slaves.

  71. I don't know why I get so emotional about this topic. It's probably because I'm a "white" person who's enrolled in the Cherokee Nation. My Tsalagi ancestors did a lot of intermarrying, practically from the time the first Scottish traders arrived. Some of the darker skinned ones would start marrying white people, and then their light skinned children would marry a darker skinned Cherokee. Back and forth. Darker, lighter, darker, lighter. That's been going on for generations. Does that mean they got less and more and then less Cherokee? LOL.

    I was talking to a Latino lady yesterday. She totally looks Latino through and through, but her last child came out with blond hair and blue eyes. People always assume that she's just a babysitter and can't fathom that her daughter isn't fully white. I don't even want to think about the nasty accusations people are going to fling at that little blond girl when she grows up and wants to learn more about her Latino heritage.

    It was the same with my grandmother. For whatever reason, she came out looking white. She was forced to move out of Oklahoma during the Great Depression to find work. There were no Cherokee speakers where she ended up, and she forgot most of the language and stories. Does that mean that she's not Cherokee? And so my mom isn't either? And neither am I?

    Blood quantum is not the only way to define who or what a person is. What happened to Indian blood being passed down through the mother? Are even Native people choosing to believe the European idea of blood quantum now?

    Not every white or black looking person who is trying to connect with their Indian heritage is looking to take advantage. Many of us are learning the language, volunteering, donating, and some of us even plan to work to serve the Cherokee community. Does that mean we are neglecting all that European or African ancestry? Not necessarily. Maybe we're focusing our efforts on a culture that was nearly wiped out and want to do what we we can to pass it on for future generations.

    How come nobody bats an eye when I buy a loaf of French bread but suddenly I'm a wannabe if I want to make frybread? Why is it OK for me to go to a Christian church, but if I want to go to a stomp dance, I'm trying to exploit Cherokee culture? I'm enrolled in the tribe, for God's sake.

    Should I just not tell my children about their Cherokee ancestry? Or if they ask, "Mom, I heard our ancestors were Cherokee. Does that make me Cherokee?," should I say, "No, honey. You're white. We stopped being Cherokee when Grandma was born." ?? Or maybe I should tell them, "Marry a nice Cherokee man or woman and then our family will be Cherokee again." Oops, we got too white. Time to start marrying darker skinned Cherokees so we will be accepted by the whites and the full-bloods! Or maybe I should take a similar approach to some of the comments here say, "Gosh, why are you such a wannabe? Can't you just accept that you are white? Stop trying to be exotic!"

    ...does anyone else see why this kind of emphasis on blood quantum and skin color is damaging???

    The reason so many Cherokee people you meet look white and start talking about a great great grandmother is because many of us (not all of us, of course) began intermarrying with whites around that time. Please, do a little research before you start judging.

    As far as I can tell, there are three kinds of people who are being lumped into the same group. 1. People who look non-Indian but who have Indian ancestry. 2. People who are non-Indian but appreciate and respect Indian culture. 3. People who are non-Indian and are out to profit in either status or money from associating with Indian culture.

    These are three types of people with very different motivations. We may all look the same, but please do not judge a book by its cover.

  72. blue lake,

    If this aspect doesn't point at you, why get "bothered"? Yes, after a while you are white, especially if you have no problem taking part in the white privilege that comes with looking the part.

    In addition, how does one look Latino? It's an ethnicity, not a race.

  73. my grandmother is 1/2 creek lived in northern georgia in the mountins. due to diff. battles with euros. other native tribes the cherokes took the deminishing tribe into their own so many creeks are now called cherokee.CHEROKEE'S were one of the largest tibes and were known for taking in indians from other tribes..my father's family is the same my father'S mother was also 1/2 cherokee and decendents of the trail of tears.

    These are all things told to me by family and not on paper..the other parts of us are african and scottish but you know what?, we are black in america.. *SMILING*

  74. My father is FULL cherokee and YES a real one from north carolina and my mother is half Wampanoag 25%German % 25% british. I know who i am and i know where all my poeple come from. One thing i find soo funny is when white poeple claim that there greatgreatgreatgreatgrandmother was full cherokee but they dont no where from and they dont no what her name was! When whites say stuff like that it hurts me, like Why would you say cherokee why not some other tribe NO has to be cherokee , ever since i was little i have heard OH i am part cherokee too Now i just say yeah you and the rest of the world!

    Someone is born into a family and they have a darker skin tone OMG they are part native LOL

    My mother is half native and she is white skinned with some frekles,reddish brown hair, sharp nose from the german side, dark blue eyes from the british side, her face shape looks like the rest of the wampanoag side and her body type.

    My father is Full cherokee chopper skin, black hair, hazel eyes, straight nose, big mouth, taller muscular body

    All together i am 75% native I have black hair, chopper skin but it is on the lighter side, blue eyes some freckles on my nose, square face, big mouth, lean muscular body. I have been told by whites That I dont look very native?? But when they have a kid that can tan there must be indian in them?????

  75. Now first of all i'm full blooded native american [rosebud sioux tribe] and second i don't get why so many white people wanna be native instead of white?. Also where im from south dakota, alot and i mean alot of white folks here don't like us. At first you think maybe because their prejudice but then again when black people move here all these white folks accept them in there community. It's weird because especially in rapid city there's alot of hate crimes against native americans but when it comes to the black folks in rapid the white people treat them as if they were just like them. Now im 23 years old, but i my self witnessed alot of racism from white people here and it's sad the way they view us. I remember back in the late 90's they started to find dead indian men in rapid creek, but the police didn't really care to find the killers. From what was told that a group of racist white men were doing these killings, Also some of the restaurants in rapid city don't really care to serve natives. Now i can tell you alot of stories of racism my folks and others experienced in the state alone. Just recently i went to a doctor's appointment in rapid, and when i got seen the doctor [a woman] treated me like i was the lowest form of person in the world, i mean i couldn't believe how she showed her ignorance. But then again like i said this is south dakota. Well I gotta go but i'll tell more later good day people.

  76. Thanks for stopping by and sharing that with us, Warren. I've heard that this kind of racism is especially bad in South Dakota (and in North Dakota).

    Do you have any idea why that is?

    And do you know of any active resistance going on against it?

    Now i can tell you alot of stories of racism my folks and others experienced in the state alone.

    I very much welcome more of those stories here, if you're willing.

  77. My family is white, but my great grandmother is Indian. She is called a Cherokee, but that is not the tribe she hails form. Virginia does not recognize any tribes in the area. They classify them as all Cherokee, so they don’t have to cough up any land. Local tribes have been battling the state for years to recognize them as their own tribe.

    From a history standpoint a lot of whites and black families do have Indian blood in them. Remember that the majority of whites that first came to this country where Indentured servants. Black and White slaves did run away and marry Indians. Not to mention that some tribes had good relations with Europeans and actually fought along side them against their rival tribes.

    I consider myself white since I really never knew my great grandmother and have no real connections with that family. Though when I look at her photo, I notice I do share some of her features. Her nose seems to be a predominate thing on my moms side of the family now.

    I can verify mine because I’m only going back a generation or two. Some families have a lot of rumors but do not know for sure.

  78. black people also do this, as evidenced by some of the comments here. it's unfortunate, and i am sick of it...especially since other people of color aren't ever willing to include my own in any sort of dialogue, community function, et cetera; the only time people of color bring up indians is to trivialize our "blood" (black people claiming "indian blood"). let's be honest: most non-native people are completely ignorant when it comes to our mere existance, let alone our history. i've always expected it from white people, but after these past few years of living in a city in northern california i now know there won't be much coalition building for me with other non-native people.
    also, it's funny how people always talk about "indian blood" when speaking of their possible native grandMOTHER (hahaha) or rendered-practically-non-existant native ancestry. as if we have rainbows shooting through our veins. and to those people commenting on here posting about how you supposedly "look native" with your "high cheekbones" and "almond shaped eyes"...i know for a fact that with any one of you, if the two of us were walking down the street in gallup (new mexico) and a drunk non-native guy came up to us looking for trouble? ...they'd go after me, the native woman. that's non-native privilege in action! (not only that, you make yourselves out to be complete jackasses with your romanticized ideas of how native people all look a certain way - no other race of people has to deal with this!)

    woodchunk "indians" ought to get over themselves. none of their imagined "native features", rumored relatives or claims of descendency mean jack to those of us with an actual tribal affiliation, familial ties and lived experience of our cultures.

  79. black people also do this, as evidenced by some of the comments here. it's unfortunate, and i am sick of it...

    You know damn well it doesn't mean the same thing as it does when White people do it.

    especially since other people of color aren't ever willing to include my own in any sort of dialogue, community function, et cetera;

    Black people not going out of our way to make our lives an issues a public service is not the same as excluding non-Black people. Why do Black people have to be the ones doing work for everyone else?

    the only time people of color bring up indians is to trivialize our "blood" (black people claiming "indian blood").

    Are you saying you are not a person of color? If so, this whole diatribe is pretty racist.

    that's non-native privilege in action!


    (not only that, you make yourselves out to be complete jackasses with your romanticized ideas of how native people all look a certain way - no other race of people has to deal with this!)

    So lots of famous White people are NOT injecting themselves with lard and silicone to get plump butts and big lips?

    For someone who identifies as Native American, you have a very White way of looking at things.

  80. Re: black people claiming native blood.
    Personally, I know from shoddy family history that I have some native american ancestry. As a multiracial individual, I used to include that in my list of ethnicities (when I was a teenager). But I stopped doing that for a number of reasons. For one thing, I could never track down specifics of which tribe, and for another, there is no lasting cultural impact on me personally of that heritage. But I do think that it's common (and certainly true in my case), that all of the family history on my black side is harder to track because of slavery. So, no, I don't know what tribe my great-great-grandmother was a part of, but I also don't know what countries my African ancestors came from (whereas I know the exact small Sicilian town my mother's family came from in 1892). I find family history interesting, in the sense that our ancestors all have stories of their own, that came together to build ours. One of the threads in my past was a native american story, and I would like to know more about that, even if I don't claim that as part of my racial identity.

    I do think that Americans, on the whole, are ignorant of Native history (apart from the white view of it) and current issues. I think part of that is the extent to which our "great" country was successful at decimating the native population. So, on top of the usual american ignorance of the stories of people of color, native americans have smaller numbers and thus less political power, quieter advocacy, and in many areas of the country, such a small presence that people don't know native american individuals personally. I think the numbers are something like 1.5% of the population. That doesn't excuse our collective ignorance, but I do think it partly explains it.

  81. @RVCBard:
    What you wrote is disgusting. Who is racist and has a "white way of looking at things"? That'd be you. You do not know me, nor do you know how I was raised. So keep YOUR white/occupier-informed perceptions (two can play at that game) and bizarre ideas of how Indians react to certain topics to yourself, alright? I realize that you were probably brought up to believe we are all docile people and only get upset when whites are racist, but we also deal with this coming from others - and it upsets us just as much! You're not Native, so you wouldn't take notice at how often black and Asian people misappropriate from our cultures or "claim" Native identity. You are in no position to quantify the hurt or anger any of us feels over this, or tell me that oh, "it's different" when white people do it.

    "Are you saying you are not a person of color? If so, this whole diatribe is pretty racist."
    You might want to brush up on your reading comprehension. I am a person of color and I never said that I wasn't, I was talking about NON-NATIVE people of color when I typed that - meaning people who do not belong to my community but who also aren't white.

    I am not going to hold your hand and explain the how and why your response is so fucked up. Maybe you should think about why a Native person is upset about people trivializing Native "blood". (As if we have rainbows shooting through our veins...)

    My guess is, you will not take the time to figure out why this upsets me. You don't have to, you probably do not have to worry about anyone more marginalized than those in the communities you know, what you are familiar with. It's telling that you got so defensive, though. I guess non-Native people would rather we tow the line when it comes to appropriation, though. You're used to our silence.

    Oh, and by the way? I am not someone who "identifies as 'Native American'" - I most definitely AM. It'd probably kill you to know that we are not all dead, washed out, or descendents, though. Good luck with that.

  82. My story is similar to some here, with some twists. My husband is full Navajo, and I've known him since we were kids. When I told him that I had Blackfoot and Cherokee blood in me, he was pretty unbelieving because he'd heard all that hearsay stuff before. But we do have a nearly complete family tree, we know the name of my Blackfoot great-great grandmother, and we even have a photo of her sitting beside her husband. The Cherokee roots are further back, and instead of the story being about a native woman, the Cherokee blood is actually from a native man. My native roots don't show in me at all, hardly show in my mother, and can be decently seen in my mother's father (skin tone, texture, nose, eyes).

    The wounds go so deep for them. My husband won't even tell me how to say "I love you" in Navajo because he feels it is too sacred. He also feels he is not native in the spiritual way, so even he feels uncomfortable with such sacred knowledge. He was not raised with his traditional Navajo beliefs, he considers himself Christian, and he is quite colonized in more ways than I am.

    We are expecting our first child and I am concerned about how race issues with play out then. Though my husband considers me white, he is happy about the fact that I do have some native heritage and therefore his children will be more than "half-breeds," as the awful term goes. I don't care about blood so much as what you feel in your heart because the care about blood percentages is to deny the fluidity of all human origin. Race is mostly a social construct used to organize people into neat boxes that aren't so neat. If you don't believe me, go to a Race Exhibit, if your Science Museum has one. Ours had snapshots of just people's hands and you had to guess their race just based on that. It was impossible, trust me.

  83. I think everyone here has SOME valid point.......Native Americans/American Indians have felt culturally abused.....Many want to protect their way of life and preserve their lineages. And others don't care....each person as an individual has their own choice. American Indians have been romanticized and demonized. As well as other Cultures. One thing I think we should all keep in mind is the word Culture (which does not mean Race) it however is generally associated with certain races/Ethnicities....now another thing to keep in mind many many groups will share the same type of "Phenotypes"...similar skin tones, hair texture....etc....etc....now those cannot always clearly be distinguished.....my point being....that unless you are excepted within a Cultural Society then you are by Societies Standards generally not looked at as part of that Cultural Group. Now of course members of Multiple Ethnicities....can tend to look more like one group than the other...outward appearance unfortunatley is how Human's group or associate with other Humans. It's part of the animal kingdom and that whole "mating/matching" bit.....That's why we tend to say if a person (for example) is 1/2 Caucasian and 1/2 Sub-Saharan African (decent)...the dominant phenotype (if it happens to be) the African feature...society will tend to see that individual as a "Black" person.....does it make it right (my opinion perhaps not) but if that person self identifies as a mixed person....(so be it).....is it foolish of that person to say they are Caucasian (my opinion, it's a bit foolish) since according to societies standards, that individual will not be seen as such....at most they will acknowledge that they are of Mixed Ethnicities. So, my message is simple: lets learn to get along....so, we can "get on" within our lives.

  84. You are correct in a way. And in a way you are totally off base. I am half white and half Indian. But I don't associate myself with either. Human beings disgust me. My father was Indian, but I look like my white mother and caught hell for it. Indian kids would try to beat me up (because they’re so fucking open minded) and when black or white kids saw my father they called me a little bastard because I didn’t look like him. You’re blog drips with all the self righteous crap white people put out now days while those same individuals you seem to support laugh at you behind your back for how easy it is to manipulate you. I have friends from all over the world (have lived in many countries in the world), served in War, have two Japanese kid and now a Sri Lankan wife, partly raised by Japanese people. I have come to the conclusion that people are the same: they are all small minded idiots who are racists. White people do not hold a monopoly on racism by any means. When I lived in Japan as a boy I was in the hospital so much Mama Takanaka wanted to take me back to the states for my own protection. I was shy back then but that doesn’t matter. Kids are mean. Oddly enough even black people would go at it. I had a boss and everything was cool until he met my father. He ask if he was Mexican (I’m from Texas, if someone looks dark and he was very dark, they think Mexican), I said Indian. After that he couldn’t stop calling me “chief” or “breed”. That’s why I didn’t talk about it.

    So, yes sometimes you’re right people are mistaken about their heritage. But everybody is. I had a French guy claim he was descendent from Napoleon (could be, but I bet a lot of people claim this). I knew a black guy claim Cleopatra as his “mama ancestor”. I said I guess you’re Greek then. He said, No, Black. My Great Grandmother who was half Indian (on my mother side) and didn’t tell us swore up and down we were “Gypsy”. Come to find out we have an Egyptian ancestor from the 1600’s. So yes things can get mess up. Have you ever wondered why white people try to run away from their skin? Because everyone has demonized them; yes “white people” have done bad things. But read history. So has everyone. My Great grandmother was Absarkee or Crow and she told us horror stories of what her people did to others. Through my mother’s gemological ramblings we found we were descendant from a slave: not an African, an Irishman. (Little footnote: there were more Irish then Africans sold in the 1600’s, a fact the English do their damndest to keep out of the history books). And, of course my Jewish ancestor. You have to count my mother’s father, he was Bohemian. Why? The eastern and central Europeans were some of the longest enslaved peoples known to man, they built empires on their backs: Greece, Rome, Carthage, Persia, even Egypt.
    My whole point is everyone’s an asshole. Mankind plays this game of let’s see how much pain and suffering we can cause one upsmanship. That’s why I don’t like people. And if you associate yourself with any race, you’re the asshole.

  85. David,

    I'd be interested to hear how you think this applies to what you're saying (mostly because I think it does apply to what you're saying).

  86. I'll sum it up for you: I'm a memeber of the "HUMAN RACE" so......I guess I'm the biggest "ASSHOLE" there is.....???

  87. Dear Readers,

    Blogs are a biased form of communication that merely state one person's opinion. The "blogger" may or may not mix in facts about the issue, but more than likely the "blogger" has little to no education on whatever topic they're discussing. With this in mind please take everything you read on the internet LIGHTLY and make your own judgements and assesments based on the lives around you and PEER REVIEWED BOOKS.

    Dear Blogger,

    I can't help but be offended by this entire blog. MOSTLY because I am "mostly" white, 20% Seminole - look it up smarty, and an unknown percentage of African American. YES I said it African American. My great great great grandfather had several African American mistresses and my African American hating redneck relatives have NOT kept it a secret.

    So that puts a damper in a lot of what you had to say. I hope that the statements you're making in this blog are not SOOOOOOOOOO one sided that you're too naive to realize that part of the reason white people don't like black people is because black people are often questioning, blogging and insulting whites and VICE VERSA of course.

    I can only assume that you are African American so I will TRY to be delicate about what I'm going to say. SIMPLE TRUTH: No one has to wonder why white people are not proud to proclaim African American blood. It's NO MYSTERY! Not saying it's RIGHT... but it's certainly not questionable.

    I think what you should really be blogging about is NOT WHY can't we all get along and love eachother, but maybe direction on how to do so. Make this world a better place, not add to the drama.

    With that being said, I LOVE ALL races. I've had black boyfriends, white boyfriends, mexican boyfriends, my best friend is Nigerian. We minimize the HATE by not talking about the hate. Talk about love. Talk about how GREAT the other races are. Now about what's wrong with them. The power of our tongues or fingers for that matter is more than you could ever imagine.

    Don't expect white people to like you when you SO cleary do not like them.

  88. It's true that "white women" make comment but let me tell you this as well, all my black female friends claim Indian ancestors, there was a show on this subject once about how so many black people claim it and it seems believable due to the look of their ancestors but it's really white heritage they are mixed with, which actually is more likely, there really wasn't as much intermingleing of black and native american, and contrary to what many people think Indians were more likely to own slaves than shelter runaways, only a few tribes did that, I generally say to all of my friends white or black "if you are going to say it, prove it". And I do agree that if anyone claims it they should then know their heritage. Similar to how many americans say "I'm Irish or I'm Italian" man, they do not speak Gaelic or Italian, they know little or nothing of that heritage but they call themselves that over american. We are all pretty much americans and we ought to forget about the notion of race anyway, science clearly states that it it is a myth and does not exist.

  89. Many people claim a lot of false things. Whether intentionally or on purpose. People seem to want this mystical connection to the Natve community like it adds a royal pedigree to thier lineage. Anyway, and race might be considered obsolete by some but there is no denying Ethinicities.

  90. My dad's side of the family has lived in San Augustine, Texas since the early 1800's. This is an area that some Cherokees moved to as they were forced out of other areas of the south by Europeans. My dad was Irish, English, French, Dutch, German, and Cherokee (documented by my cousin who has her PhD in History and is a published Texan historian). I claim Cherokee ancestry as I do the others because it's part of my family's history--so does my daughter who is half Chinese. We are both products of the American experience. Some "great grandma" stories are true.

  91. " would finding some Native American or black blood really make a person who was raised white, looks white, and gets taken and treated as white, any more "black" or "Indian"?"

    -Consider, especially when you're discussing grant money and other "privileges" that today, Native children are NOT receiving grant money/etc BECAUSE they are native, but as reparations for what was done to their people and ancestors.

    Consider two scenarios:
    Someone who is perhaps 30% Native of some kind (like my husband, who is approx 30% pawnee) and has a close relationship with his grandfather who is pawnee and still active tribally but was raised by his otherwise appearring and culturally white relatives is NOT entitled to this...

    But what of a Native (100% of some tribe) child that is raised by adoptive white parents? This child is eligible, and does have some sort of societal claim to nativeness despite not having any "connection" to roots.

  92. What I didn't see addressed in the comments is the backlash against people who are ligitimately mixed white/Native American. I've had people refuse to believe that my father is 1/2 Native American because I have light eyes and hair and distinctly Celtic facial features, and toss me in with the people who are making up bogus native ancestors for "cool points".
    Also, I find it really upsetting that these people almost always want to maintain all the perks of being white. As I implied earlier, I can clean up on some white privilage in short-term interactions (ie, I don't get followed around stores by clerks who think I'll steal stuff), but I don't exactly have the option of ditching my Kalinago ancestry when it gets awkward, which happens with surprising frequency. So it peeves me no end when people swoop in with a bogus identity, claim the "nifty" parts of being Native American, and then bail when the going gets tough.

  93. Some of the claims are probably true but alot surely is pure delusion, suddenly claiming to be indian cos family stories tell of a great aunt twice removed that had dark hair and went a bit brown in the sun.

    What also makes me cringe are the websites many of these "cherokees" have with pictures of wolves and sexy illustrations of Indian ladies standing in some misty landscape and tribal wisdom and stories when they were not brought up as an indian yet are suddenly an authority. Then theres pictures on geneology sites of "full blooded cherokee" g g g grandmothers/grandfathers who look about as indian as my ass (bad example as my ass actually does look very indian).

    Plus the powwows with the fat bloated whiter than white whites dancing in their "authentic" tribal regalia, the many plastic shamans with their fake ceremonies and money making scams, celebrities claiming vague indian ancestry...list goes on... The cherokees especially need to tighten up their membership requirements, I'm not sure I would even let myself in.

    The way indian culture has been twisted, used and abused saddens me alot. I wonder if alot of them have ever met a real native American. I don't have beef with all white people with any native blood, just the wannabes and BS peddlers.

    I also wonder if its down to them wanting to distance themselves from the white man's crimes against blacks and indians, even if subconsciously. Although saying that I've met quite a few of this breed who are still really racist towards others, namely blacks and mexicans, which i find really weird. Its just as likely though that this distant relative if they existed was black and not indian but that doesn't seem as romantic or appealing to them.

    I'm 1/4 native American, 1/2 central American (I guess alot of that will count as more native American, just more south) and 1/4 European.

  94. Well, I'm a white person who claims to be of Native American heritage and it's ACTUALLY true. My great grandfather (WE HAVE A PICTURE OF HIM AND HIS FAMILY ON OUR WALL)was full blooded Choctaw. His mother was full blooded Choctaw and my grandmother remembers his whole family being full blooded. I, however, unlike the many idiots who run about claiming they're "INDIAN" am only about 12.5% Choctaw because my mother is 25% and my grandmother is 50%. I hate people who claim they're of Native American decent and don't even have proof- I can't help but laugh at those kinds of people.

  95. So....what if you are white and really, actually do have a real, actual Cherokee grandmother?

    The reason she is Cherokee, in my case, is because I am from Chattanooga which was the Cherokee (Tsalagi) nation capital. The Trail of Tears started there.

    We have photos of Mary and her sisters. They all "look Indian." They had many of the non-romantic traits of modern Indians (diabetes, alcoholism, obesity) and none of the romantic traits.

    I look white and identify as white. What's wrong with claiming my grandmother, viewed in the proper perspective? A white person with a Cherokee grandmother. For real.

  96. IMHO, Native Americans should try not to be offended when they hear about a white (or black) person who says they have a great-grandmother or whatever who is Indian. They are just being honest. And much of the time, they are probably right -- there was and is a lot of intermarriage between Native Americans and whites. They're not taking anything away from you. They're not claiming some specialness. If they're proud of it, that is because they have respect for Native Americans.
    Even if someone is only 1% Native or whatever, this may seem like nothing to you, but hundreds of years ago there were hundreds or thousands of Indians alive who were their direct ancestor. People have respect for their ancestors, and that is not a bad thing.

    Personally, I too have a family history that we are part Native American. I have a only little evidence that it's true, and I believe it. But I would probably never mention that to a Native American, since I don't want to offend people or give the impression that I think I'm just as Indian as them or whatever.

    I think there are two big reasons you don't hear about people being part African-American. First, mostly this would have happened in the South, so in the rest of the country it may not be so common. Second, people have been so racist that the fact that a family is part black was probably hushed up 100 years ago. Actually, I know that at least some people who "passed for White" never told anybody that they were part Black. So a lot of people 100 years ago or so probably had kids who were 1/8 or 1/16 black and one of the parents had no idea.

  97. JJ, please think again about what you're really doing when you tell Native Americans how you think they should feel about these things.

    Remember also that intentions matter less than effects.

    Please read this post and its comments as well. You're overlooking something crucial about common white fantasies of indigenous people.

  98. JJ said, "IMHO, Native Americans should try not to be offended when they hear about a white (or black) person who says they have a great-grandmother or whatever who is Indian. They are just being honest. And much of the time, they are probably right -- there was and is a lot of intermarriage between Native Americans and whites. They're not taking anything away from you. They're not claiming some specialness. If they're proud of it, that is because they have respect for Native Americans."

    Gee...derail much?

    But he's not finished: "Even if someone is only 1% Native or whatever, this may seem like nothing to you, but hundreds of years ago there were hundreds or thousands of Indians alive who were their direct ancestor."

    And their measly 1% means absolutely sweet dick to a Native American. It doesn't "do" anything for them or for the Native Americans going through the struggle. When they cling to that lousy 1% (most likely brought about by rape, which lots of whites casually skip over, because it's preferable to think marriages during a time of extermination and dislocation were perfectly blissful), yes, they are in fact insulting Native Americans. I won't pretend to speak for that group, but I can say I see where they're coming from.

    And this, "People have respect for their ancestors, and that is not a bad thing."

    Until they find out said ancestors were Negro, and again, probably raped (but since Negroes aren't the awesome minority du jour, they're being raped is even more live-withable).

    Let's not forget this part, "Personally, I too have a family history that we are part Native American. I have a only little evidence that it's true, and I believe it."

    Of course you're eager to believe it, even with "only little evidence." Pretendian much? (Which I love, by the way!)

    Man, you just proved Macon's original point, like, a thousand times over.

  99. I find it quite odd. In that same breath as noted by comments here, people mention they're mostly white. It's obvious there's value in whiteness or they wouldn't identify as white at all. It's offensive to slip in and out of whiteness for whatever reason suits their purposes.

  100. i have some knowledge of my heritage. my father's side is very straightforward-irish and german, off the boat, i'm 3rd gen. my mother's side is not so simple. her mother's family, sure-french and lithuanian, again, i'm 3rd gen from the boat. my mother's FATHER...now that's a murky tree. i know there's irish-and scottish. i'm told there's some choctaw, but i'm certainly not any substantial percentage. i would imagine some black ancestry there, too-we're talking about louisiana. the other sides got off the boats and stayed, new york and boston respectively. i can be pretty sure there was some KKK involvement in the lousiana side, though. my grandfather was ...traditionally southern white. he, george washington wallace, and his younger brother jefferson davis wallace were likely racist assholes. not really the branch i'm proudest of, if you get my drift. i guess i do identify as white, european descent-recent european, not mayflower. though, i guess as irish, we have some lesser ancestry. i guess claiming especially a cherokee princess would be quite offensive.

  101. I agree. It's usually those that aspire and use the white male as a role model.

  102. My grandmother is full cherokee, making me a quarter cherokee.

    I have dark hair and eyes and some people say I have indian features...but not many. Essentially I have caucasian features.

    So I guess I am some where between a Pretendian and a authentic one =)

    I usually do not say that I am part cherokee because honestly while I am proud of my hertitage...I am not exactly culturally in touch with it about the only cherokee thing I can do is make noodles ..which is really an american thing. I am happy to be a sort of cherokee .

    It however irritates me somewhat when people with blue eyes or red/blonde hair claim that they are part native...oh and the inevitable "princess relation".

    ..Just my thoughts =)

  103. Note: for all of this, I'm thinking of WP who don't actually identify as Native, but just claim ancestry (usually some tiny fraction) when it's convenient, "exotic" or "special."
    Another reason I think white Americans prefer to claim Native ancestry over black ancestry is that it skips over the rape thing (they think). That white slaveowners and their white employees were constantly raping/coercing black slave women is pretty well known and inescapable, whereas for some reason,* the fact that white men were doing the same to Native women is less ingrained. Instead, there's this idea that all NW/WM relations were romantic. In every sense of the word.*

    Thus, I think that, these WP feel they can claim Native ancestry without the taint of "my (mostly white) ancestors were racist rapists." In their minds, fractional Native ancestry is generated by [insert your own swept-away-with-love romance-novel-cover visual here*] by default. To clarify by example: when a BP mentions a white ancestor, there's discomfort all around: the assumption is rape, or at least coercion through circumstance (and in fact, that's often correct; it is in my case). Nobody thinks "against-all-odds romance."

    As to why the ancestor in question is always a woman, I assume that's patriarchy— viewed through a historical lens that is both white AND patriarchal. BlueRidge hinted at this. Long story short, I think they think someone claiming a male Native ancestor should "look Native," because per patriarchy, women follow men on marriage. Their Native GGrandma claims are "believable" because the assumption is that a NW marrying a WM would have assimilated to white society > their kids would've married WP > their descendants would look white. If a Native man married a white woman, she'd've been compelled to assimilate to Native society >> their descendants should look Native! And getting back to the rape thing, of course the overriding assumption is that their ancestors were married. [As if that precludes rape/coercion.] Their white ancestors were DEFINITELY NOT concubinin'!!!

    *heavy sigh*

    *I'm confident the "reason" is the popular-beyond-all-proportion, completely distorted Pocahontas story— which is "romanced-up" at every opportunity (and has become a trope that is very compelling to WP, in part, I assume, because it rewrites the icky reality). Truth is, Pocahontas never had a romantic relationship with John Smith. Yet their nonexistent romance is usually the focus of the story. (And while she did eventually marry a white man, for the record: nobody actually knows how she felt about her marriage or her husband. Which is a little odd if they were swept-away in love...)

  104. "In a recent study, Gonçalves et al. 2007 reported Sub-Saharan and Amerindian mtDna lineages at a frequency of 3.1% (respectively 0.90% and 2.2%) in White Americans of European descent."
    Genet Mol Res. 2007 May 9;6(2):256-61.


  105. This actually happens all the time and to a greater extent among white ethnicity's claimed by Americans. I've been told countless times by genealogists that the numbers reported couldn't be less accurate, yet those are the ones you hear cited when the government is reporting the biggest ancestry groups.

    For example around 2-3 times the amount of English people came to the States as Irish people, yet Irish is the second highest reported ancestry in America. Did those English people disappear? no they were just never claimed, as having an English ancestor was associated with rich land owning oppressors. But throw in an Irish relative somewhere down the line and you have some rebellious beer swilling underdog in your blood too.

    A lot of it comes down to the fact that the majority of people aren't even close to knowing their full ancestries so they feel a little leeway to make up for a socially boring or unattractive ancestry with something considered exciting or romantic. This is where the Cherokee thing comes in.

    As I've been told before, unless the numbers of people reporting English ancestry suddenly starts to skyrocket, self reported ancestry is no more use than a popularity contest when it comes to facts.

  106. Hello everyone, i'd like to express my opinion now if i may and i hope i don't offend anyone, these are soley my views on this subject.

    I will first start off by explaining my geneolgy which consists of; Irish, Scottish, English and French-Metis ancestory. I am a brown haired, green eyed female ..human. My Grandfather was raised as a French speaking Catholic and his family denied being Native, because natives were considered to be degenerates of some sort. My grandfather took offense to anyone calling him (because he obviously was) a native, even to me as a three year old child when i made(what would now be considered a racial slur)a comment about his skin tone ..or something and remarked on him being.. an Indian. I remember being pulled aside and scorned not to call him an Indian by my (Irish) grandmother. In Later years my Mother did a genology check and found out she was a half-breed Indian or French-Metis...I mean an Indian Princess I guess she never wondered why her ancestors all descended from Canada till then. Anyways, my point is.. i thought i'd share my background of which it has been documented and taught to me..but when people ask me what I am I say Canadian. If they ask me what color I am, I say I am white, and ask..can't you see that? If they ask me where my family comes from I'll let them know but to me..I am white..when i tan im a little tanner, if im burnt im red..if I was choking..i'd turn purple and (I assume) someone would help me. If i wasn't choking and purple..no one would come near me. That guys brown, that girls yellow but it don't matter cause as long as I know all their blood is red and my bloods red..It don't matter. Like that other person said..Race is a man-made distinction. Cats and dogs dont care about what color the other dogs and cats are. They might care about the size but not the color. We're all the same species and trying to figure out this guys place or that guys place..is just ridiculous really in terms of using it for a topic to (like that other guy said) "mock" people. It's good to be proud of where you come from and to know it..but don't judge people by where they come from or what they look like because in reality..you take any man, women..black, white, or purple and they get into a horrific accident..burn but live. Now u can't tell if they are white, black ..man or women.. the only way u can really tell who they are is to know them. We all look the same on the inside and if someone dont look the same on the inside...call x-files. thanx and peace!☮

  107. Okay, Miss Bliss here just did a LOT of SWPD, and if someone doesn't say something...seriously...my head is going to explode....

  108. Jack B, consider this chart. A large proportion of people didn't understand the question on the Census, and just said "American."


    Most of those people seem to be in the South:


    Most whites in the South are descended mainly from English settlers (along with Scotch-Irish and Irish), so if they'd understood the question most of them would have probably said English. If in the first link above, you add English and American, then it is the largest ancestry.

    Another problem with the census question is that they didn't say, "Check all that apply," even though most people have ancestry from more than one country. So people just picked whatever one came to the top of their head, or the one they were most sure about. Most people don't know much about their ancestry, but if their last name is Lautenschlager or whatever, they know they're at least part German.

    The scientific study cited a couple posts above shows that about 1% of white Americans have African mtdna, and about 2% have Native American mtdna. Mtdna is from your mother's mother's mother's mother, going all the way back. So if your father's mother's mother's mother was Native American or African-American, your mtdna test won't show that. Or if your mother's mother's father's mother is Indian or black, the mtdna won't show that either. Because of this, the actual percentage of white people with Native American DNA is probably several times that 2% -- I'd guess it's something like 10% or 20%. The actual percentage of whites with some African Ancestry must also be a lot higher than the 1% in the study -- maybe 10% or more.

    The reason it always seems to be a grandmother, as opposed to a grandfather, is that it was more common for a white man to have children with (or rape) an Indian woman, than it was the other way around. This is true in other countries too. In Brazil, a large proportion of the population has Indian or African mtdna, but hardly any have Indian or African Y chromosomes (which is from the father's father's father).

    Funny, there is actually a U.S. Supreme Court case from 1906 about whites who intermarried with Cherokees before 1875.


    And the last names of present enrolled members of the Cherokee Nation tend to be English, Irish and Scottish, indicating intermarriage with those groups.


    It's not always Cherokee, though -- my ancestor is from a different tribe (Chippewa). Several of the commenters here have also mentioned ancestry from tribes other than Cherokee. But since Cherokees are the largest tribe in the U.S., and since they lived near the areas of early heavy colonial settlement (in the Southeast U.S.), it makes sense that Cherokee would be most common. Of course, in some cases it is probably a family myth -- one website suggests (without citing any evidence) that "Cherokee princess" was what people often called an ancestor who was part African-American.

    http://www.native-languages.org/princess.htm (see #5)

  109. Uhm, what was Bliss' point? Coz most readers here already know that human beings are just that, human beings and that we're (supposed to be) equal regardless of color. So I take it that that isn't what she was trying to tell us (I mean, why tell us something we already know, unless she doesn't know that we already know that). In that case, was she trying to say that racism doesn't exist? (/sarcasm)

  110. @ Kipper

    Great comment, but remember which folks you're speaking to here. They don't want to hear that "rape" nonsense. You're ruining their Dances With Wolves moment with all this "truth" crazy-talk. Didn't you see Avatar? If Sally Smith chooses to be Sally Chatters-like-Douche and join the-conveniently-don't-have-to-do-shit part of the fight for "her" people, then it's her Constitutional right, goddamn it!

  111. just tellin a story i thought. it seems everyone wants to be different and don't say you haven't cause you wouldnt be here. i have met a lot of people who were..native..100% and wanted to be half..and claimed to be white..as you guys put it. black people wanting to be white (micheal jackson) whites wanting to be black (eminem) and i guess..white people wanting to be native (jim morrison). why cant we just love who we are as people..not as our race or mixed race. i know i can't eliminate racism anymore than i can eliminate rainbows, ignorance and murder. but think about freeing your minds from the burdens of what used to be and let it go..be proud of your culture or cultures, and dont let idiots label you for thier own personal elations. Life is about acheiving self realizations and enlightment. to just live and do what you can for ALL people no matter the race..if you're so human you should be able to grasp that. if you are not part of the solutions then your part of the problems.. thanks its been good. by the way, i know i came from the "gooder" english class..have your way with that if that is what makes you feel better about yourself.. while i go spread my dirty optimism somewhere else. ps your head won't explode if you keep missing...

  112. @Bliss

    Say, if you're interested... I know of an amazing commune in souther Humbolt county that you might dig. None of the beautiful humans there will ever utter the words "white" and "privledge" in the same breath either. I think you'd fit right in there, you feel me? Peace, love, and denial, man!

  113. okay. so yes i can understand were you guys are coming from sometimes about people claiming to claim that they come from native descent or whatever. but i'm 16 , a girl, and white. but i'm definately native american. i'm related to Tecumseh. and i'm white because i'm also european. and i don't claim to be native american because i can, or because it makes me sound "exotic" or what have you, i claim it because its true. and you guys are saying that "white people claim to be native american yet they don't take part of the community, they don't try to identify themselves with their struggles" but i'm a lot of other things too. i can't take part of 7 other countries and try to identify with the struggles of those countries because i was born in america. okay?

  114. Thanks, Macon -- I see what you're saying. But I also think there's something else worth thinking about. The implicit message I get from some people on this thread is that people with small amounts of Native American ancestry should not believe that they have this ancestry, should never mention it to anybody, and should be ashamed and guilty that they ever believed it, because it's inherently racist and offensive to "claim" to have a small amount of Native American ancestry.

    I think this is going too far. It's saying they know the truth about white people "claiming" Native American blood: these "pretendians" are incorrect, and they must think (or want to think) they're part Indian because of some deep racist tendencies. This is the same kind of omniscient, stereotyped judgmentalism that one sees in racism. Sure, white people with some Native American blood should be reflective, and very careful about what they say and think about their ancestry, to avoid fetishizing or romanticizing Native Americans or offending others. This thinking process may result in some cases in the person deciding that they probably really aren't part Native American, or that they should never mention it to others. But I don't think it's fair to make a general rule that these people should deny their heritage and stay silent about it. And I don't think it's fair to call all these (mixed-race) people names (racial slurs?), like "pretendian."

  115. Moi, I hear you. It's a fact that white folks (including probably some of my ancestors) were raping and enslaving (not to mention killing) non-whites -- and I have to face that part of my ancestry may be a result of those kinds of actions. And it's regrettable that more white people with small amounts of Native American blood aren't involved in the concrete struggles of Native American communities. Personally, I really do plan to contribute as best I can to these struggles, though I haven't yet figured out how I should do that, given my particular profession, talents, time, location, financial resources, etc. I also would like to do what I can to contribute to the struggles of African-Americans, since not only is it the right thing to do, but I'm sure my ancestors have been benefiting from and perpetrating racism against African-Americans for hundreds of years.

    I agree that claiming Native American ancestry can be offensive and/or racist in some circumstances. For example, if there's somebody who goes around bragging to everybody about their small amount of Indian blood, and acting like it's a big deal, sure that's offensive, because it's fetishizing an ethnic group. I've never met someone like this, but I'm sure they exist (maybe that's who should be called "pretendians," along with the white people claiming to be following Native American religion when some white guru takes their money to bring them to a sweat lodge). I've even heard of someone with a little Indian ancestry filling out a college application form or something and checking both the white and Native American boxes. Now that's just despicable, because they're trying to get the benefits of affirmative action without ever having been disadvantaged by their non-white ancestry. It should be a crime.

    But that's not what I'm talking about. Most people with a small amount of Native American ancestry are not like that. It mainly comes up in situations like this: someone's talking about ancestry or genealogy and they ask somebody: so what's your ancestry. And they say, Mainly English and French and Irish, and a little Native American. And that's pretty much the only time it comes up. They're not victimizing or oppressing anybody -- just being honest. They're not asking for acceptance or approval from Native Americans. They're not claiming to somehow be supporting Native American struggles -- most people would have no idea how to do this anyway. Now maybe I'm wrong about most whites with small amounts of Indian blood -- but that's my impression.

    Moi, a "little" evidence doesn't mean it's not good or persuasive. When your grandparents tell you something about your family history, and you have evidence to back up what they said, it can be reasonable to believe it. If I had the same amount of evidence that I was part Norwegian or Albanian or yes, African-American, I would believe it too. And I would mention it if I someone asked me about my ancestry.

  116. I find it sad how people make these claims of Native ''Indian'' heritage but are unable to speak their particular native language or practice the culture at all.

    I am Black and First Nations Cree, born in a Canadian city but moved back to my mother's community or what city folks call a ''reservation''. I was fortunate to learn and speak our language (Cree) and actively participate in keeping the culture alive. Though many of us in my community live a modern lifestyle we still practice the hunting and gathering way of life. I hunt and fish seasonaly throughout the year ...even though I am mostly a vegan and try to the best of my abilities to be be a vegan - but due to my extreme northern location it doesn't always work itself out that way. Yes I know that last sentence sounded like a bundle of contradictions and I am rambling now. Ah well, I have yet to meet anyone whose situation is similar to mine.

  117. Listen American Indian is an ethnicity. If Simone is 100% American (no matter what tribe) and they grew up with no connection to their heritage it does not change their freakin ethnicity. All these statements about how Someone speaks the language etc etc make no logical sense. That doe not make you native. Hell, I could learn French it does not make me French.

  118. JJ,

    Breaking my promise to myself for a moment here to address some of your points because they illustrate exactly what's wrong with this behavior.

    First of all, the vast majority of the time when White people bring up non-White ancestry, at least around me, the following tends to be true as well:

    1. It's always either vaguely American Indian (perhaps "narrowed down" to Cherokee or Lakota Sioux) or vaguely Asian (Chinese or Japanese, of course).

    2. Never - and I mean never - do they also claim Black ancestry.

    3. It always comes up when talking about race and racism.

    4. Never - and I mean never - do they also claim that a non-White person may have an equal or more valid claim to Native American ancestry.

    5. Almost without fail this is used as a means to silence Black people when we critique Whiteness. It's either, "I'm part Indian so I can't be racist" or "I'm part Indian, and you don't hear me complaining."

    So, White people may like to believe they innocently "just happen" to bring it up, yet in my experience, it's anything but.

  119. RVCBard, I'm sorry people have treated you that way -- that's really awful. It's totally absurd for whites with some Indian blood to say they can't be racist. And for them to say you don't hear me complaining -- that's just so wrong. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  120. @ choctawnation
    I never said that people who can't speak their native language therfore cannot claim their native heritage. That is not what I said at all. I was only trying to make a point about what is I found sad - it was not only a genocide that occured here, it was a mass Cultural Genocide among the Native Peoples of North America.

    For example, my mother, she was torn from her family as a young child and forced into Indian Residential school in Canada and the first thing rule they learned was to forget about their language - to strip them of their identity and ''civilize'' them in english only, it was even forbidden to speak their mother tongue with eachother. That is the first thing they try to take away from them and it was only in secret the children spoke Cree with eachother. So it cannot be denied ...the language and the connection to their past is powerful thing.

    Also, the First Nations Crees of Quebec, Canada realize this importance - to lose our language would mean we lose our culture. Our elders do not speak english so how do they pass on their knowledge to younger generations? It's in our native language. Though I am not speaking for other Native peoples particulary in the states because it seems to me that alot of tribes have lost their mother tongue. That is why I would like to learn more about other tribes down south.

  121. My wife is light skinned however many people mistake her for part Asian or Native American. Even still, I never gave much thought about it until one day when a contractor working on our house said, "It's cool that you married a native American." I thought it was an odd statement (especially out of the blue like that) however he then revealed his wife was Native American and produced a photo that looked an awful lot like my own wife.

    From that point on we sort of assumed it was a possibility that she did have some heritage, especially since many members of her family shared those same distinct features. However the topic really never came up again until we gave birth to our first child.

    As it happens, our daughter has fairly distinct asian eyes and darker skin - so much so that an attending nurse initially thought the baby was, in fact, Asian. Needless to say, when I sent out photos to family and friends they were more than a little confused.

    So now I'm curious about my wife's heritage - if only to share it with my child. However her family denies any such ancestry so I wouldn't even know how to go about researching it.

  122. Just curious Anthony, what is your wife's Ethnicity? You could simply do a DNA test and find out her Ethnic back ground, it only cost about $150 on through ancestory.com I believe. Won't tell you Tribe (Nations) but it will at least let you know what her background is......

  123. As a Melungeon, I'm a little-saddened by this post and by most of the comments so far. I think it's great that more black and white people are open to the possibility that they have native ancestry.

    The reason that the Cherokee are always mentioned, is because the Cherokee intermarried frequently with whites, developed a plantation system, owned slaves, converted to Protestantism, etc., thus blending somewhat into white society before the removal. It makes sense that white people would have Cherokee ancestry. I would wager that at least 10% of white southerners would have some kind of Tsalagi ancestry. And that's just the Tsalagi. There's no telling how many white people have Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek blood out there.

    As a Melungeon, I'm happy to have African, European, and Indian ancestry. I'm also fine with the fact that I, like some Melungeons, have white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. My grandfather was a Cherokee citizen, and my mother's father was mulatto, and here I am, fair as Leif Erikson. It shouldn't matter what others think about my identity or their unsustainable identity politics perspective.

    If you are white and have Native blood, it could be that you had a Melungeon or other ancestor who was able to pass as white in the court system. My great-great grandfather did it (he was mainly concerned with hiding the black element of his bloodline though- white people were less hostile to the Tsalagi at the time).It is possible. Don't get discouraged by these hateful comments and seek out your roots anyway. There are plenty of mixed-race/anglo-mestizo groups out there. Don't let the race-baiting identity politics of loudmouths get in the way of your self-understanding. Fact is, the blurring of racial identities is only going to get more extreme in the coming decades. Minority aggression, paired with white condescension and guilt, can only function for so long when people are mixing.

  124. Very well said!! I TOO am Melungeon and embrace the concept that I have not only African bloodlines, but European & Middle Eastern in addition to it.

    I do think the Cherokee Indian Princess bit is over-used by people who are probably just wanting to have something to *identify* with since all our ancestory is so diluted to begin with. America IS a melting pot!
    Very few of us who were raised as Caucasian are of just one original descent. Unless your Jewish, Amish/Menonnonite by birth, African, or Italian...(you get the picture), it's hard to identify. It's natural to WANT to identify.

    Interesting thoughts, and I'm grateful to see another Melungeon adding to the colorful mix!

  125. I don't "claim it" because they're so distant, and their genes now so thin in me, but I have both recent African and Ojibowe ancesters about 8 and 5 generations back respectively. The African via a sailor who jumped ship on one of the Scottish isles just before the American revolution, and the Amer-Indian from a 1/4 Ojibowe bride in the same line. Like I said, I don't walk around "claiming" it, but I do claim to be a brother to all men and women with, I hope, some justification.

  126. Pearlsnaps: LOVE THE NAME.

    I guess the question is; How much is enough to claim or even talk about??

    I am probably less than a quarter mixed black/melungeon (it's debatable because we aren't sure who passed themselves off and who was really white)

    Let me say this, and not to be unkind; A few years ago, there was a movement from African-Americans to get their *forty acres and a mule*... as most freed slaves never did.
    Do you think that a caucasian person with a proven slave history would qualify?

    I have my GGG Grandmother Emancipation on record....

    Just food for thought, not being ugly:-)

  127. WhiteNCherokee4LifeMarch 14, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    My mother is about 3/4 cherokee and 1/4 Jewish while my father is about 3/4 Welsh and 1/4 Native American (do not know what tribe). I do not consider myself Native American but I do consider myself white for my father being more white. I am darker than most white people you see and have the high cheek bones and Native American eyes. I have always had people think I am Latino or Italian but my mother has always identified herself as Cherokee Indian. I do have a sense of pain for what some of my ancestors did to my other ancestors and it does sadden me but I am not one bit ashamed of being WHITE AND NATIVE AMERICAN. I have no proof of Native American ancestors except pictures which clearly show my mom's father was Cherokee and dark skinned and most of my family on both sides come from the Appalachian Moutains in North Carolina and South Carolina and had nothing to deal with Rolls or Census taking. I wish the best for both races and I hope you understand why I am proud because I accept no finacial benefits for it because I feel it would be wrong for me too because I am not FULLY NATIVE AMERICAN. By the way not everyone claiming to have "Indian Princesses" and being white are wrong they just may have the princess story wrong. I know that my family has no chiefs or kings in it but I can understand why people would be pissed about people claiming heritage they do not have. Peace be with you all and take care.

  128. Mrs. Hunt, is an african american with proven white ancestry able to benefit from white privilege? No. It would be pretty insulting to flip flop from white to black when benefits are at stake. Knowing you have your grandmother's emancipation record is enough to claim.

  129. okay. so I guess i don't understand why everyone has their panties in a bunch. I mean really. To those who think it's wrong for whites to claim some Native American blood, thats just rude. Some of us like me, are just trying to find out about our ancestors and family history. you can't just lump all white people together. we're all different. and yes, some people may be completely obnoxious about claiming Native American Blood, but Some people really do have that blood, not always a lot but a little. and why does everybody get all offended anyway? I'm Irish, but i can't share the struggles as my ancestors because i wasn't born yet, I'm Swedish, Norwegian, and Austrian, but i can't identify with the struggles of WWI or WWII because i wasn't born yet. Seriously people? why can someone claim to be Irish and not get yelled at but can't claim they're Native American? And Yes, i'm a 16 year old girl who is white/caucasian european descendant. But I also have Native Blood From when my family came over in the early 1600's. and by the way, i'm Native American on both sides but you can't tell because the majority of my heritage is european. I know for sure that i'm Shawnee because yes, my great-something grandfather WAS Tecumseh. so please Get over yourselves for feeling offended by 'claims' . okay ? thank you.

  130. Nia, if the privilidge is based on slavery, (which it would be) then I would qualify and can prove it. Noone should take offense to that.

    It's reverse racism. It's like saying your blacker than I am.

    Does a Native American have to be 100% Native to qualify for Government Benefits? No, not at all. So explain the difference between Government benefits to Native Americans and Government Benefits to African Americans?

  131. Please note:

    Amanda America Dixon

    Quote: The higher court stated that the "rights of each race are controlled and governed by the same enactments or principles of law"—in other words, whatever rights and privileges belonged to a bastard white child belonged to a mixed-race child as well.

    So, just to show you historically it has been done.

  132. Kelly,

    I don't know about every tribe, but many require 50% Native ancestry. So yea, you kinda do have to have a certain percentage. Just like some scholarships for underrepresented students specify "person of color" as "having at least 1 Black/Asian/Native/Hispanic parent".

  133. I agree Jasmine. :-)
    I was basically responding to Nia who suggested to benefit from my heritage is insulting. My original post was not really about benefits, and was never intended to insult.
    It was about *where is the line? But why would anyone take offense? There are tribes that require as little as 1/16th to aquire a tribal card??? It was a hypothetical situation? Would we all be less offended if I only requested 1/4th the benefit?

    Again, my point is not to insult. I have grandchildren that are half black and half caucasion. They face race delimma's all the time that are mostly internal. Kind of like not being *black enough*.

    Also I'd like to point out to the individual who mentioned white people NEVER claim their black heritage; that some of us certainly do. I've never been ashamed of it and unlike the indian princess myth, I also don't go around trying to pass myslef off as black. BUT- for the sake of conversation and food for thought... when do you just call yourself an American Mutt and when do you claim it? Please try to see the intent as inquisitive- never inflammatory.

  134. I thought this may be helpful in the conversation:

    For Oklahoma, as an example, it certainly can be minute in blood quantum. Or, you may have to be as much as 1/4.

    See sites below.

    Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma http://www.cherokee.org/
    No minimum blood quantum requirement
    Direct descendant of a person listed on the Dawes Rolls

    Eastern Band of Cherokee (North Carolina) http://www.cherokee-nc.com/
    1/16 minimum blood quantum requirement
    Direct descendant of a person listed on the Baker Roll

    United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee (Oklahoma) http://www.keetoowahcherokee.org/
    1/4 minimum blood quantum requirement
    Direct descendant of a person listed on the Dawes Rolls

  135. Really, only persons that could have had a majoirty of mixture, is black people, like come on white person, you're not native, and there is nothing interesting about you, you're just white.

  136. Well, that was about the most immature comment I've heard on this subjuect. Just goes to show you that anyone of any color can be racist. It's not limited to white vrs. black ... What takes genuine maturity is to love people regardless of their color. To be *color-blind*. Isn't that the beauty of this discussion? Of course people are responsible for their own choices.

  137. @rvcbard

    Do you have a response to m.'s fierce defense of his statement about the mistreatment of native americans?

  138. What's with the comments picking on RVCBard, concordia (also macon)? They seem really aggressive.

  139. Karen L, I only see one comment by Concordia, and I didn't read it as "aggressive" because it merely asks a question.

    But now that you mention it: Concordia, why are you asking RVCBard to respond to another commenter? Your question does read as passive-aggressive, because it implies that you have something to say. Instead of trying to guide a conversation others are having, please just say what you have to say.

  140. I am not sure if it's a Southern thing or not, but as an Alabamian, it's a pretty common joke than most people who claim Native American heritage are actually trying to explain away some black heritage hidden in their woodpile (although people will get furious if you mention this, as though you are deliberately trying to deprive them). This has led to a small irony on my part, as I have always been told that I was "part Indian" and assumed my family was using the "part black" code--only to confirm fifteen years later that the "part Indian" was actually true.

  141. Kelly, you mentioned earlier that you have so little blackness that you are "probably" only 25% black and identify as white but have your black grandma's emancipation record. You're not sure of the exact admixture yet you have yourself that it's very little. Sounds like passing to me. If you dont identify as black any time except when the topic arises, then dont do it just to claim benefits. That's not "reverse racism" (which doesn't exist anyway, ha!) that's white entitlement.

  142. Nia, first- how can you say that reverse racism doesn't exhist? You just proved it does.

    I'm probably about 25%. I'm not trying to *pass* I'm trying to relate and address the issue and hold my heritage up proudly, as it should be. You know I *could* just ignore it and pretend it isn't a part of who I am. But then I wouldn't have all this rich history to reflect on and pass on to my grandchildren. I would just be another caucasion in denial.

    It's obvious to me that there is nothing I can say that will please you Nia. Your mind is made up and it's easier to condesend to me because I'm not as black as others... not black enough. Yet I'd get raked over the coals if anyone found out I had a black heritage and DIDN'T acknowledge it.

    I can see my grandson deals with this too. Within the black culture there is a term *High Yellow*. Does that ring a bell? That's what they call my grandson behind closed doors. Racism is alive and well.

    I don't want to get into a pissing contest with those who have more african authenticity than me. The pissing contest IS the core of racism.

    The point of bringing this up is to analyze when and how is it approptriate to discuss your heritage? The 1/32nd Cherokee Indian Princess...is that enough to actually claim? Is 1 quarter of anything enough to be proud of?

    And the considerations for any government reimburcement was for conversation sake only. Since my Grandfather passed himself off as white- he was able to get a job with American Airlines in the 30's. He worked his way up to Captain and was probably their first black Pilot. Our family was able to better themselves as a result. This will remain a secret though... no need to go 'round rufflin' feathers, right? I mean, who would even care? Certainly not the black community...not coming from a semi-white girl. Right? Or would they?

  143. You guys on this blog seem really miserable.Why would you spend your valuable time, resources and energy baggin on white people? Seems like a waste of time.

    My ancestry is Anglo Saxon, we came here from England in 1695. We never owned slaves, but we did intermarry Native American women. I have the pictures and DNA to prove it.

    I actually am proud of it. My reason is this. It makes me more American. Instead of coming here in 1695, some of my family have been here for thousand os years already.

    I am disgusted by the SOME of actions of white people over the last few hundred years here in this country. European immigrants felt entitled to land belonging to Indians because they saw Indians as less than human and savages. However, I am even more disgusted in the actions of our government in how it mistreated, killed and lied to people of color over and over and over again.

    Not ALL white people are bad. A lot of us are God fearing Christians who know that God hates racism. And, a lot of us are genuinely proud of our American heritage, no matter what you say.

  144. @Big Pink Bunny
    Well, when you say something to the effect of "I had some Native American ancestors way back when" but list Anglo as your primary identity, it really relegates any Native ancestry to a mere footnote as opposed to actual Natives whose Native identity makes up the whole page. Even more, when a mostly white person tries to play off longevity in the Americas by bringing up that little footnote, it sounds like vulnerability on the part of that person. They hate to have their claim to this country contested because of their mostly Anglo heritage but conveniently bring up American Indian ancestry (that little footnote again) at just the right time. Kudos, to you, Miss. Kudos. But since it matters so much, would my bringing up my own double heritage (mother's K'iche Mayan from Guatemala and father's Huanca/Quechua from Peru) make any difference? I guess that'd make me more American than thee since my bloodline expands two continents and is much more reflective of the pre-historic saga of American Indians throughout the Western Hemisphere (the occupying two continents over the course of several thousand years, ya know). Man, this Lakota woman who works for the Standing Rock Rez remarks of all the loons who call claiming Sitting Bull as family or some other notable Lakota figure. Where were all these folks when Indians had it hard?

  145. As a Bermudian who is one eighth Pequot,one sixteenth white and one sixteenth east indian, I find it interesting that so many whites claim native ancestry. In all actuality, many natives were shipped to places like Bermuda or other islands where they ended up intermingling with the local population. Just my two cents worth.

  146. Kelly - I'm not denying your heritage, you're doing that. You know you have african ancestry but identify as white until conversation arises (which is probably next to never).Blackness is an identity, not a percentage. You're not trying to pass but you clearly are for white privilege..like your grandfather did. Why else would it be a secret? About high yellow: that isn't racism, it's colorism

  147. Nia, first, thank you for your positive attitude.:-) I really do see what you mean, which validates the point of this entire conversation.

    So help me out, and keep in mind- I was raised to believe I am caucasian. When I found out I was black (partial or otherwise) I DID try to claim this as a race. However, I was met with extreme opposition from both whites and blacks.

    Whites immediately began discecting my blackness into *degrees* and percentages to validate that it's just a quarter...thus they can all relax (I am assuming)

    Now, you and discussed the 1.4th thing- I am CERTAIN I am at least 1/4th not white. *smile* I am not convinced it's all African. I suspect it's mixed possibly with something middle-eastern. Nothing but a DNA test would prove this. It's my hunch.

    Now on to the black community: I don't look black and the instant arguement is: Well, I had a white grandmother, Am I White?? Something along those lines.

    Advise me please. What do I fill out on the Census. How do I fit in on either side? Give me your opinion on how someone in my shoes should carry themselves? Am i a proud black woman? Well, I'd like to be but can't seem to do it right.
    Am I a proud white woman? Well, can' be that either.

    *sigh... I see your point, can you see mine? Where to go, how to go about it is the question.

    And- I AM considering bringing my grandfathers race up to American Airlines. They have a museum here. I think maybe they ought to know? What do you think?

    Again, thank you for you kind tone.


  148. @Kelly:

    Why is it Nia's responsibility to figure YOU out?

  149. So silly, this back and forth nonsense about who and what is this and that ...breaking it down in percentages and what eye and hair colour they have.

    I made an interesting comment up there and was totally ignored haha I was actually trying to reach out and see if there were others with a similar or shared experience. I guess not. I keep getting comments updates hoping someone will say 'Hey we're in the same boat!' :P
    But nooo, people are more stuck on bickering about God-knows-what.

    The End.

  150. I think this conversation has been very interesting. I would like to point out that I disagree with some of the statements made... and agree with many others. I do think that one thing we need to grow away from is calling people "white." "White" people do have history, heritage, culture, and completely diverse geneaology, too. Mostly because "white" isn't a nationality, origin, or designation. It's a broad and generic grouping that almost everyone what doesn't have tint in their skin, gets grouped into. I personally find it offensive. Needless to say, I'm sensitive because my family isn't "white" but we sure look like every other Euro-based person in the US. We are certainly of a shared Euro stock... but we also are part am. indian (and no, not cherokee! haha) among many different groups in Europe... which by the way do not all look "white." I think that the designation of "white" is inherently racist, negative, unhealthy, and narrow. Just like "black" but maybe even more so, as black has become less a derogatory term and white has so many negative connotations. The other day a friend of mine (from Lebanon) was talking about "white" people... and I realized how angry it makes me to hear it... especially as she's white too!!!! But I've found that my friends from India now classify themselves as "Asian" instead of "white" - when "White" theoretically was supposed to be "Caucasian"... which includes India. But now, "white" has become the term of choice and it's a very racist and biased term.

    Am I even making sense here? (don't want to talk in circles)

    I just think that we should start using more accurate terminology and totally drop the "race" issue anyway- as really there is zero genetic difference between humans (with the exceptions of colouring, etc...).. we are not separate species! :)

    And we definitely need to stop assuming things about people's heritage. In the US, this obsession with "where did I come from" is very unique, but it's also ambiguous as due to racism, bigotry, prejudicial laws, etc so many people have no idea where they really come from. People with "irish" last names aren't really Irish, "Black" people aren't really all black and may not even be from Africa, and white people aren't really all "white" in a biased sense. Many may be Russian with Mongolian heritage which makes them Asian not Caucasian... etc! It's just so much more complex thanw e allow it to be. And now that we have the freedom to classify ourselves the way we want to... these designations will definitely change.

    Watch the census results this year and see if there aren't more "blacks" "indians" etc simply due to self-classification and a relative minimization of stigma... with the exception of Latino/Hispanic I will bet the numbers will increase.

    Now we seem to biased against Latino/Hispanics.... I wonder where we will be in 100 years?!?!?

  151. Wow. Another harsh, ridiculous comment?

    Frankly, it's noone *responsibility* to figure me out.

    I've done an accuarate job at detailing my history, which has taken years.. I've unearthed many secrets that had been long buried..
    And I've done my best to deal with Caucasians who don't want to hear about it, and Blacks who roll their eyes and minimalize the importance that it has to me. Perhaps it's just insecurity on either side?

    Let me point out that I am not looking for validation from anyone. I know what I know and it is what it is. My race is both mixed and human. That's all that really matters, but I would think the POINT of this entire blog, not just this line, is to allow people of all colors to enteract coherently.

    If I look for anything, it's an angle I hadn't previously considered. Others ought to consider this as an option as well.
    It's an opportunity for growth... if your willing to?

  152. I have Indian blood and am a white person. My cousin and Aunt look as if they walked off a reservation. My best friend is 1/2 cherokee and 1/2 white. I have known many 1/2 breeds as friends in my day.

    A great many white people have indian blood in them from North American indian tribes.

    None of us believe the La Raza racist ideology of Mexicans (e.g. a citizen of Mexico as Mexican is not a race) nor Mexican-Americans (e.g. Americans deriving from Mexico) should be claiming they have a racist right to North America because they have SOME ameri-indian (as well as European and African) blood from tribes far south of our border that warred into antiquity with North American tribes.

  153. "These are the white searchers (sometimes called "pretendians") who hope to fill up a certain emptiness in their bleached-out, whitened identity, but want little part of actual, ongoing Native American struggles. Many of them will never go to a reservation to experience the results of white genocidal practices, even if they do find Native American blood in their DNA. They're rarely willing to fight for treaty rights, nor help with such contemporary problems as compulsory sterilization or substance abuse. Indeed, they're rarely willing to even acknowledge these problems, or do much of anything else that goes beyond vague, sentimental ideas of supposedly authentic Indian-ness."

    Having seen this much long before the post and comment section, reading the comment section itself makes me believe I can break this damn table if I hit my head against it any further.

  154. I'm a "black Native American". Half black half Northern Arapaho from Wyoming-basically enough native american to get reparations,favors etc. I have a certification of Tribal blood and yet there is a division betweeen us in Wyoming---Between the black Native Americans and The White Native Americans. I feel that this problem itself is the white man's fault...through the perpetuation of the myths that white people are the only ones who could possibly be mixed with Native American, I am somehow less than them. The white man continues to rape the culture of the Native American through there claims of native american ancestry and have gone so far as to delude "white" Native American's into thinking they're better than their "black" Native American brothers and sisters.

  155. As an African American woman with faint "non-African" features, likely due to rape that occurred during slavery, I found this whole conversation to be quite amusing. Since I have pictures of fair skinned ancestors with straight hair and tales of Native American heritage, should I go around and proudly proclaim my white or Native American ancestry? According to the way that I have been raised and experienced my life in the US, I identify culturally with being an African American. I think that my great-great-great grandmother would roll over in her grave if I went around bragging about my white ancestry.

  156. some intresting points, but not all "whites" are that delusional about their lineage. My Comache great-grandmother led a miserable life once she was married to a white man. She bore him 9 children, was not allowed to teach her language or traditions to them and was basically a slave to him and was beaten by him. Another great-grandmother was Creole - she suffered a similar fate at the hands of a white man. My great-grandmothers were fiercely protective of their children, raised them well and both out-lived the SOB's they were married to. My pride has little to do with the "exotic" races in me. I come from a long line of strong women - they are what i'm proud of.

  157. @a 'white' woman

    Thank you for that. I commonly hear that story about (up to pre-mid1900s?) Native women were often treated as such but white folk claiming Native blood for whatever self-serving benefit seem to forget, gloss over, ignore that.

  158. i see that this is old, but i just stumbled upon it and had to add my two cents. i know for a fact that my mothers great grandmother was native american. it wasn't a fable. she spent time with the woman, obviously. although i wasn't raised to identify with any tribe or such, it has always been evident that there is some form of native american in my genes (strangers have asked me even). if you look at the pictures of my grandfather and such you can see it even more. do i throw this in every conversation? no. not because i am ashamed, actually i am quite proud of my heritage, but because it is pretty much irrelevant. i should say that i also have irish-scotts decent on my fathers side. and as far as romanticizing anything, i probably do that one more, though i can see none of it in my features. i love old folk-lore stories of ireland and scotland. and as far as mystical family members, we have always been told that we have a black ancestor that was shunned and became a millionaire?! there is no documentation about that! lol. so to say that white people only seek native american heritage and shun their african american roots is a gross characterization. as a matter of fact, i would say that through modern pop culture, it is considered "cool" to have some african blood lines.

    next, i want to address my children and husband. My husband has a black father and white mother. his father's grandmother was full cherokee and married a black man of unknown heritage (to me anyway). since their father was raised by his white mother he has always identified himself as white. however, the world sees him as only black. now flip one more generation, to my children, and you have children being raised by a father who is black, so they associate themselves with that, but the world only sees them as white with nice complexions. as a matter of fact, when i have mentioned to some people who have suggested i use more sun block on them, that they are part black, the reaction is always the same. "but you know you can even tell though." the voice is like it is a pity that they have that and good that you can't tell it, so don't bring it up! so i can definitely see where that argument has some ground. this makes me very angry. because i want to raise my children to be proud of who they are and of all that makes them who they are. and on the flip side, should they be made to feel like they can't identify themselves as members of the african american "race" simply because they aren't immediately recognized as such? because i assure they struggle with this. i have one daughter who is darker complected than her brothers and sisters. she wishes desperately to be lighter and thinks the darkening of her skin around her knees and knuckles is bad. then i have a son who is has a lighter complexion even than myself and blonde hair and blue eyes. he has recently told me that he hates being white and wishes he were black like daddy! this is mostly just a desire to be like mom or dad, and is something i am sure will be overcome as they reach more mature ages (they are very young, 6+4.) but just interesting to think about. also, my husband has a brother who is lighter complected and same parents. he was recently given a sign up sheet for the kkk. they were recruiting at a local parking lot and told him join and fight to protect the pure blood lines! lol. this just goes to show that even as close as 1/2 african american, the features themselves vary. and you can not tell simply by looking. i think it should be more up to the individual to decide what they identify more as in these situations. had my husband been raised with his fathers family he would probably relate more to that. i look forward to the day when he can just be a MAN. when we look at heritage simply to understand our past. not as a deciding factor in WHO we are. when we can define ourselves more by who we are than what color our skin is. because, frankly, i find it all much too confusing.

  159. OMG another person claiming, "I have some Indian in me. My great great great grandmother is Indian. Oh they are Cherokee. Cherokee Princess. I'm part Indian. etc." You need to study up on how the Indian Bloodline works and you need to be DOCUMENTED before you start telling people you are such. It's very disrespecting to other Native Americans who did grow up in their third world who did live in their reservations and experience the hardship of being Natives. You never know the next time to go and tell someone you are of Indian Blood. You might just be telling a Full Blooded Indian who did come from their reservation. So if your half this or a quarter that, it doesn't matter. Were they actually registered members of their tribe. And were your parents registered and yourself? No documents. Don't claim to be it because you most likely are not. And the Indian princess, well that term was used by men who were given prostitutes by that tribe as payment for something. Those men would refer to them as their indian princess. We all know Cherokees and all tribes did not have Indian princesses! Pocahontas was just the chief's daughter, she wasn't a princess. That was the white man's way of describing the chiefs daughter to the Europeans to make it look mystical.

  160. what everyone wants to be a wannabee native american. the real native americans are registered members of their tribe. have a tribal number, ihs number or a chapter number. And grew up on the reservation and live the traditional ways. And you shouldn't say my grandmother is native or i'm part indian. You need to say what you are. I'm part Navajo, my great grandmother was Navajo, etc. But when you start to question someone who claims to be native they have no clue what tribe they belong to. So what does that tell you.

  161. white people always claim to have a great great grandmother who was a cherokee princess. Yeah right! just because their white male ancestor married or had a child with a native american girl. He would take her under his wing (1820) and say, " ok I'm cherokee now." Wait how does that work. It's the girl who is cherokee and your children will be 1/2 cherokee, and when those kids have kids they will be 1/4 and then it's pretty much washed out after 1/8. But everyone just have to say i'm 1/8, 1/16, 1/32. And how do you become an Adopted Cherokee member. Do Pueblos, or Utes adopt an outsider to be part of their tribe.

  162. One thing in doing my family's genealogical research that I discovered, is that in the Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia area if you have a "mythological Cherokee greatgrandmother" you might actually be descended from the triracial groups called Melungions.

    Also, I find it distasteful to paint every person with pale skin who says they are part Native as a pretender. Certainly there are pretenders. But the Cherokees were a large group and intermarriage was legal and did happen a lot.

    Can I prove my Native ancestry? Not yet. But if I ever can(or not) you can be certain that I will not be doing it for the money or fame, but for the personal satisfaction of being able to point at the family mythology and say "It was( or was not) a myth.

    Concerning people's personal mythologies, Joseph Campbell had a lot to say about it(The Power of Myth for one). Might want to check out some of his works before you go disparaging people's myths.

  163. Fine, if people want to claim their heritage. What is annoying is when people from other countries come here and assume that some 'white' person represents someone from the native community. True we have different skin tones , facial features etc. But some people out there actually think we are extinct. Also remember we are not one pan movement group. Meaning each nation has it's own religion, language and cultural beliefs. 500 nations still exist in north America. With plenty of "fullbloods". So if your mixed fine good for you, but don't try and pass yourself off as a fullbllood. That's just silly.

  164. Oh man, I couldn't leave this alone. Macon, I don't know if this would belong under this topic or the other "fetishizing Native people" one but ah well.
    Making the rounds on Native cultural appropriation I came upon a thread on a MystickWicks thread about the appropriation and incorporation of various Indigenous beliefs into an eclectic path.


    The only saving grace is that there are a few non-Indians who agree that such taking of aspects of other cultures (particularly those currently dispossessed and occupied) is wrong. Then you have the ones (non-Indians of course) arguing for the right to get their mitts on any and all authentic "Native spirituality". Two examples of white privilege I noticed where exhibited by sacredsin and TuathaSidhe. The former apparently believes Native folks have it all good and there is nothing bad happening to any at all because she can't "find the abuse". Sheltered lives tend to color a person's perspective so. Then there's the latter and here is where I think the result of thin-bloods and people of Native "descent" is most evident. Following her train of thought (and the lulzy indignation that follows) anyone can be raised outside the rez, be of a paler complexion, and have almost little contact with Native relatives yet still claim a link to that Apache grandma. LOL One would think she would've known about Apache culture if she HAD MAINTAINED a link with her Grandma (when she was alive) and perhaps the Apache Nation. I guess Indians weren't important then until she realized she could take customs to garnish her white self.

  165. I just want to say that I am one of the "white girls" claiming Cherokee backround. Although mine is legit. My paternal grandmothers family is Cherokee. Never really researched it much. I do have alot of pictures and jewelry that my ancestors have made. I actually burn in the sun and have blonde hair green eyes. Explain that. not one person in this day in age can claim to be 100% anything. We all got a little mixture one way or another

  166. My grandmother always said that one of her grandmothers was Indian. That's from India, mind you. :P

  167. That last comment is totally not relevant to this post, but thanks for sharing. Lol

  168. @ the White woman claim - well, I'm a white woman, so let me just say that there's only 2 possible groups of people that could make the claim - white women and white men - and women are generally more intuitive and in touch with their bodies and the earth, and likely other energies that are constantly flowing. I feel a deep sadness in my heart and in this land for what has passed, what is no longer here, and I deeply desire to be connected to the history of my land, where i live (arkansas), and to know how to use the plants, the rivers, to know the natural, sustainable uses of our beautiful land. so maybe the people who make these claims, while being ignorant of their white privilege and other relevant racial issues, are also attempting to express a connection they may have with the energy of this land, a desire to know more, and to be connected. not just "exotic", or "from somewhere cool". maybe it is partially superficial. but there may be some potential for those individuals to go deeper, to learn something, to discover something we can all respect.

  169. Lydia J,

    That may all be well and good, but they needn't romanticize and stereotype and basically steal from Native Americans as they do all of that. Because that's, you know, racist.

  170. personally, i am full lakota, and i live in a white society for fiancial prospects. And every white person i met, blonde hair, blue eyes all say their great grandma or great great gma was indian and its always black foot or choctaw or cherokee and these people have lived in the same town with no new comers so they are kinda imbred this area was once iroqouis truft so where does the cherokee and blackfoot come in? even the enrolled cherokees are white. they accept 1/32 of a person. that is like 10 drops of indian. that is over 5 generations removed. and i watched this video written by a black scientist for black people that native americans did not protect africans, they raped them and sold them back, so the woman made up stories which was easier to say they were with an indian than being raped by one. also the black man said, 1 in 20 blacks have any significant amount of indian blood of about 1/4percentage and that's it. thats like no indian. i know the sioux tribes wouldn't want them. mohawks tribes in canada are kicking out all the "white" indians and the "black" indians and are banned from the res. that is an idea that now many rez are considering. i believe you are what you are mostly and look the most, people make up shit and exaggeret their characteristics. I had a friend, and her mother had to tell me she was a native american princess "blackfoot" now, we are located in central ny and this woman's daughter, a little bit more normal told me after her mother is schizophernic and they are full ukrainians. why can't anyone just be happy they are ukrainian or german or english or egyptian, etc. us native americans want to keep our dentities, that's all that we have left everything else was taken away from us, including our large gene pool. so just leave us alone and go back to ur continents.

  171. @alinginol
    I understand your point, about anyone that claims American Indian Blood and only has a small % in their blood....etc.....etc. However if someone is 1/4th of anything that means that at least one parent is 1/2 of whatever that is of course. Now appearances, I agree one will be classified as what society deems them to look like. Now I've met many American Indians that appear to be "Mexican" (I quote the word because this is not the PC version)....however they are not. So, I cannot agree 100% with your example. Now, there seems to be a double standard, that is anyone mixed with white and "another" ethnicity is usually deemed that "other" race...for example if a person is even mixed with "one drop" of "sub-saharan african" blood they are only looked at as "Black"......many American Indians as well as many other Ethnicities have that same belief. Now for instance what if an individual is 3/4ths native and 1/4th black....meaning one parent was 1/2 black......does that mean they deny their black heritage or that they aren't considered American Indian?......Just curious?

  172. Being 1/4 Hispanic, 1/4 Cherokee and 1/2 Caucasian, I always shake my head and laugh when some teenage white girl tells me she is Native American or "half Indian". I ask them to elaborate and I soon discover that this "half Indian" heritage they speak of, is really just some silly, teenage romantic trying to sound exotic. It always turns out she barely qualifies as Native American. I always found out it's her grandmother's grandmother who may have been half. Because we all know being 1/64, 1/32 or 1/16 makes you fullblooded Indian! :D

  173. I have traced my genealogy back many generations on several lines; on paper, most of my heritage seems to be Western European: German, Swedish, and English. But my father's father is obviously not purely Western European, as he has naturally ruddy skin that was also passed on to my father. Both of my grandfather's parents identified as "white" on census records, which is either false in one way or other...or one parent is not the biological ancestor of my grandfather.

    Because of this mystery there was the rumor that there is Native American blood either from my great-grandfather or great-grandmother. As an adult, I feel there is a possibility one or both of them could have been Native American/American Indian, African (Haitian?), Mexican....For the interest of solving this family mystery, I will have DNA testing done when I can. Regardless of the results, I will embrace them.

    That being said, regardless of my heritage, I am going to school to study Native American law and language to do what I can to help preserve the people's lives and cultures and to advance their rights. Any group that has been neglected and abused like this, especially within the boundaries of my own nation, is cause for extreme concern and for action and justice.

    This article was an intriguing read.

  174. Some half breeds were shamed by the white man to deny their heritage. Such was my fathers case. He was born in 1927 sent to a home and then adopted by a white couple at the age of 10. However, I am proud to be part native american and do not lay claims to what is owed to those that were ridiculed for their bloodline .

  175. Great post. Here is the circuitous way I found my way to your page. So I've noticed that not too infrequently some people claim to have some Native American ancestry (mainly Whites and Blacks do this). Then I started to notice that a number of celebrities claim to have Native American Ancestry (e.g. Quentin Tarantino claims Cherokee and went so far as to cast Brad Pitt to play 'Aldo the Apache' in "Inglorious Basterds" -- Bradd Pitt of all people! The Whitest looking guy I've probably ever seen in my life. Recently I read that Taylor Lautner of 'Twilight' fame claims Native blood.)

    It really seems like a sick joke for Whites in America, after their forefathers nearly wiped out the native peoples of North America, to claim Native heritage. So not only do they get the money, power and respect that come with being the gatekeepers of an economic and social system designed for their benefit, but they also get to leach off of the real struggles and hard fought victories of native people.

    This bothered me. I needed answers. So I typed in 'Why do white people claim to be native american' into the Bing search box and this website showed up on the results page.

    I think the following passage on your post answers my question best:

    These are the white searchers (sometimes called "pretendians") who hope to fill up a certain emptiness in their bleached-out, whitened identity, but want little part of actual, ongoing Native American struggles. Many of them will never go to a reservation to experience the results of white genocidal practices, even if they do find Native American blood in their DNA. They're rarely willing to fight for treaty rights, nor help with such contemporary problems as compulsory sterilization or substance abuse. Indeed, they're rarely willing to even acknowledge these problems, or do much of anything else that goes beyond vague, sentimental ideas of supposedly authentic Indian-ness.

    If I understand correctly, what you're saying is the reason why White Americans with no seemingly direct link to Native ancestry claim Native ancestry anyways is because they have fallen for the notion of the romanticized and noble American Indian, a piece of fiction White culture has largely created.

    This empty fawning over Native culture reminds me too much of no-strings-attached sex. You get to bust a nut for the moment with no real responsibility once the act is over. It's like you get to enjoy the good parts of being in a committed relationship without being involved in the everyday struggles that come with being in a committed relationship.

    So I guess these celebrity faux Indians get to enjoy a perceived nobility and respect and empathy that come with being a member of a group of people who have endured through so many struggles while enjoying all the benefits that come with being White and famous and rich in America.


  176. If I had a dollar for every white person who told me they had Native American blood...

  177. What is really interesting though is that there are people who claim Native American ancestry (both white and black) because of the straight hair and high cheek bones. I read a study of this AA man who did a DNA test and he found out his ancestry was Han Chinese. I feel as if some people forget that there were more cultures in the US besides black/white/Native American. In fact, because of the anti-miscegenation placed between whites and Asians, many Asian men married black women. This was very common in places like Jamaica.

  178. I stumbled upon this article. Sort of pisses me off. I am of Irish (I actually have living relatives in Ireland), Welsh (I have living relatives in Wales too), and Native American ancestry. My grandfathers on both sides were Irish, Welsh, Native American mixed. My father's side was Irish, Welsh, and Cherokee. In our family album are pictures of all our ancestors, some very old which show my Great-Grandmother who was full-blooded Cherokee. On my mother's side my grandfather is Irish, Welsh, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole. Again there are photographs to prove this as well as supposed Indian role numbers and land returned to my family in Love County Oklahoma (which was built on illegally by developers who built a housing community there). My father's side is wonderfully recorded in a our family tree. Believe it or not I am a descendant of Daniel Boone as well and supposedly my family in Ireland is related to the William Wallace (however there are no records to verify this that I know of). My family names are as follows, Cassidy, Fergus, Griffin, and Jones. My native American ancestors that I know of were both wives to my Great-Grandfathers. My father's side was the union of a strong frontiersmen and devoted partner (they had around 14 kids I believe), and my mother's had a similar situation as well as a marriage that was the result of a former Irish Missionary who fell in love with a Native American woman. My family does not seek medical benefits. Although I do have 'native' blood I understand there are full-blooded tribesmen who need those benefits dearly. My mother had experience working at an Native American health clinic which helped our family better understand parts of our lineage. Looking at me I am told I look Russian. I've gone to parties and had Russians think I am Russian! Very little of us tan and there aren't very many features you could say were Native American. I think you should consider that many Europeans did in fact mingle with the Natives of this country and that in fact many people of today are the product of such unions. All in all I would consider myself to be pretty much what American colonist would have been. Now my girlfriend whom I look forward to marrying and having kids with is Thai-Filipino and our kids will inherit a rich background full of unique culture.

  179. I'm surprised that more people aren't interested in their ancestry simply for the sake of knowing the names of their ancestors and I'm depressed that most people seem to be in it for the money. Finding your ancestors shouldn't be about money. Finding your ancestors should be about family and history and just for the sake of knowing their names. I am paper-white, and I would not be surprised if I had black and/or native american and/or asian and/or alien ancestors, honestly. My family has lived in the United States long enough for anything to be possible, and there is a lot of family history that I just don't know.

  180. I am Native, i belong to the Isanti and nothing pisses me off more than when well meaning white people feel the need to bring up how "interesting" and "cool" it is that I'm an "indian" and that they're grandma was a Cherokee princess blah blah blah. Why is it they think we Natives find this interesting? Do they expect some commodore of some sort or acceptance into a tribe? I fail to understand what it is that is so bloody romanticized about my people.

  181. I always wondered....exactly how many Cherokee princesses ARE there really. Hmmmm. I am told we have Cherokee blood in the family but I don't know if my brother (the genealogist of the family) has confirmed the percentage. I was always told by my mother that our great grandfather was full blood Cherokee but then I was told many other things too. I must really find out the latest news on his discoveries of our family.

  182. One time in a college communications class, the instructor asked all of the students to state their ethnicity. Why is it that every other white student in class gave a list of European ethnicities and ended with Native American? How could about 13 white people (in the same class) happen to all be part native? The truth is, it is statistically impossible! The Native American population was both (a) relatively small, and (b) nearly decimated early in US history. It's ironic that Afro-Americans are more likely to have Native American ancestry than white Americans, but none of the black students in class declared to be "indian". Moreso, preliminary studies have shown that only about ~2% of white DNA is of native origin. The study, as stated above, also shows that whites have almost the same chance of having African ancestry (about 1/3 of whites have 2-20% African genes). The question is not "why do whites claim native ancestry more than african ancestry" but, "why are whites more likely to SEARCH for native ancestry and not african ancestry". I think all Americans know the answer to that question. Being African is still a stigma in the US. I am African American, and ironically, an autosomal DNA test shockingly revealed that I have 12% native american genes. However, I do not identify myself as a Native American woman; I think its partially because I view 1/8 native ancestry as relatively small and also perhaps because American culture (both most white and native cultures) has traditionally frowned upon people w/ African ancestry acknowledging such truths. Totally ironic, considering African-Americans are some of the most mixed people in the US. I believe hispanics are the only group that is more "mixed".

  183. I admit I am definitely confused. long ago I had been told that there was a native ancestor on my mother's side. I felt awkward about claiming a Metis identity but wanted to acknowledge it just as my European ancestory. Less than a month ago I found out who my biological father is and been told that he was Metis. I guess I should say I look ambiguous because many people ask where I am from and most guess either Italian or Mexican. Of which I am neither so I am tired of being labeled wrongly so why not just accept my own ethnicity instead of trying to adhere to what society thinks. Others say I look "exotic" for a Canadian, and the rest seem to believe I am Italian. I always wondered why but now it makes a little more sense why people have a hard time believing I am just white. Not everyone claims an identity for the hell of it or for financial gain but people should acknowledge the full extent of their ancestry and not feel ashamed either way. I would in no way claim I have anything culturally to do with my heritages since I had not been raised in an Aboriginal or European setting. Culturally and Nationally I am Canadian. The way I see it is no one can change their ethnic heritage so why deny any part of it? The only thing I don't understand is why anyone would be considered "faux" Indian if one actually has native heritage and is not looking for handouts, and not claiming a higher percentage than is true.

  184. What is most frustrating about Ethnicity is that society has had the trend of labeling people as to whatever it is they look like (or what they think they look like)..... I understand this (I'm guilty of doing it) but I think what is annoying is that certain people think it is exotic or cute to associate themselves with American Indians. (okay fine) but the fact is most as I can tell are very unsure of what their actual heritage (or Ethnic makeup is)......If your intrigued by the culture fine....but don't insult a whole group of people by diminishing who they are. It's called "being a culture vulture".

  185. I to am one of those blond hair , blue eyed Indians. My G Grandmother was full blooded. I am melongeon,Saponie . The family research confirms it. That was important for me to know. I am proud of this heritage. on the other hand I have two adopted Asian children, when they are ask what they are , they say American.
    No matter what the color or ancestry, isn't that what we are, of course not the Canadians.

  186. Those of us who really are "part Indian" rarely talk about it because we are trying to survive in a racist world. Personally I think its great that people want to honor their Native ancestors. Not hilarious as some would say. To laugh at others while they are on the path of honoring their ancestors is insulting.
    It is the ongoing racism against Native people and the attempt to minimilize our current existence that leads to the denigrating of those of various shades that wish to honor their heritage.

  187. Well, some of us didn't even know we had Native American ancestry until we started tracing our family tree. The internet has made it much easier to do that. I found out I have Narragansett ancestors. I didn't know this until I was 51 years old. It was a forgotten part of my family's history, which is sad.

    I agree with much of what Demi said...not all of us are looking to gain something by claiming Native ancestry. What I have gained is a knowledge of myself, my ancestors, and my family history. That, in itself, is enough for me.

  188. Both of my grandmothers were born on Cherokee Indian reservations before Oklahoma became a State. My paternal great grandmother was actually Choctaw and I have pictures of her with her hair in braids and in somewhat partial Native dress (like she was combining the two styles of dress, she was born in Arkansas and then moved on to the Cherokee Indian Reservation with her husband, who was Cherokee. (Not sure how that worked) My genealogy is clear and there is no doubt, I have documentation for all of it. I was raised to keep all of this to myself. My grandmothers were deeply embarrassed of their heritage. Recently I enrolled in a course in my University regarding Native American Literature. When the professor asked why people were in the class, I listened as the younger students explained they were creative writer majors or American History Majors, and then I said "Because I AM Native American". It was the first time I was able to actually say those words in public. The Professor got that "sure you are...." look on his face and I felt very disrespected. Do we all have to have long black hair in braids and quite possibly still wear feathers in our hair and have perpetual tans for people to not question us? I am not sure what people expect...I know who my people are and now I feel this sense of question and doubt that it could not possibly be true. While there are SOME physical characteristics of being Native American (yellow eyelids; green eyes) I feel now as if I have to defend who I am when I say it. I may never utter the words again.

  189. i dont have to find out where i came from. i know, i grew up around it. im ogalala sioux and northern cheyenne. i live on the northern cheyenne reservation and i love being around my family. it will forever be home to me, even when i move away and start college. i love fancey shawl dancing and jingle dress dancing(so does my little sisters). i love camping at powwows and watching my family dance. i love my native american heritage. my ancestry means alot to me because my great,great,great grandfather was a chief who led us back home after hiding from the soldiers.

  190. I stumbled upon this entry while doing a google search. Interesting topic, and especially interesting responses. I've read nearly 2/3 of the comments and would just like to get my 2 cents out there.
    I'm 29 years old. i'm fulled blooded native american and i look it. since reading these entries outward appearances seems vital in establishing your nativeness. (when i was 8 i was in a poster campaign for adopting native american children and was an extra in a movie called Last of the Dogmen). My mom is full navajo and my dad is a mixture of oklahoma tribes (cheyenne, kiowa, caddo)
    Being full native but only being registered half in a tribe such as the navajo, where navajos only marry other navajos, i understand how blood quantum can be so vital to who you are and what defines you. I don't agree with it. Growing up in oklahoma, i do come across blonde hair blue eyed natives, yes natives. I especially liked the comment about how being native has more to do with a state of being than what documented or undocumented blood runs through you.
    I went to Haskell, in Lawrence KS and made friends with a blond eye blue eyed "cherokee" who lived near the town i lived. Going to an all native school, i immediately felt the stares of the "full bloods". And knew i was immediately branded an "apple". to those who may not know what that is, basically red on the outside white in the middle. I couldn't believe the racism that ran rampant through Haskell and even still. People are people, i know we don't live in this perfect society where no one is judged by the color of their skin, but we don't and we do.
    As a native person, i'm proud of people who claim their native ancestry. And as a "full blooded" native person I DO NOT judge you. in the end we are people trying to find something special, something that makes us stand out, something we can lean on. And what better way to help us is our past.

  191. I also came across this website, lilaclilledmess, I love the move Last of the Dogmen, seen it about 50 times and will continue to watch it. Anyway, I don't claim cherokke blood by I do claim Taino blood which happens to be Native Indian of Puerto Rico, for those who didn't know. My grandfather would tell me stories, and my mom would always tell me we are Native Tainos. I'm trying to establish myself in the Taino regisry and as a member. As far as how we look, well I have the olive type skin with long black hair, and brown eyes, My third son is the only one that looks "Native" he looks like his grandmother. Everyone tries to claim, or try to belong to something to make them feel better. Its proving it that they have a problem. Hey, Native and proud. For all you other wanna be... thats it wanna be. If you want to claim Native blood what do you know about it what can you teach your children, When you fill out an application, license, FBI clearence do you fill out White, Black, Native Indian, what you fill out that is what you are. i tell my children you are Taino Native be proud and say it with PRIDE and love who you are.

  192. I am quite interested in Native American History. I am 1/4 Comanche Indian on my father's side (my grandmother was full). My father's real father left when he was younger, his last name was Gutierrez, from what I am told he was a mix, a meso indian. Hard to really track, does anyone else claim native ancestry with a hispanic last name?

  193. I guess I'm one of the wannabes. Well when the subject was brought up I used to mention the Native thing because that was what I was told growing up. I was only a kid and I didn't know that much about my family then except we descended from Ireland. Thankfully though some nice people in our family got together and did some extensive research on our family which dates back as far as the 1400s. I've read all of it. No Natives there. My dad still tells us about our "Indian princess great grand mother" and I can't help but stifle a giggle and flee from the room.

  194. it's been quite some time since anyone posted here....but can i just say how horrible a lot of the comments on here are.
    I am a fully white, English/Irish, man and i embrace Native American beliefs and culture in place of my own but i have not EVER claimed Native blood. I will admit that perhaps a lot of my views are based on a romanticized ideals from movies and books and yes, the bulk of ideals i hold come from Cherokee sources. Why? because that is the most well known one, it is arguably the most publicized tribe and so it only stands to reason that it is the one most people identify with.
    I do not believe what i believe to seem 'interesting' or have something to talk about, infact i don't bring it up unless someone asks me about it, which has only ever happened once or twice, i believe it because i look at the stories of where I came from, i looked at the oppressive history of Christianity and it's long string of racism and i decided it was wrong. Does that make me less entitled to believe something else?
    And i don't bring it up because whenever i used to, it was met with ridicule and hate, not from white people, but from native Americans.
    Nobody would bat an eyelid if i decided i wanted to be Buddhist, or if i wanted to fly to India and learn about Hindu spirituality, so why should it be different if i want to learn about NA culture and beliefs?
    I will agree, however, that those people that make wild ancestry claims with no intention of learning about those people, or their struggles, should not be met with open arms and friendly smiles, they should be reminded of what it truely means to be Native american, to identify with a culture and if they still have no care for the struggle and they only want the benefits (which, i know, a fair number of people) they should be turned away. But to impede upon a man's personal spiritual beliefs is nothing more than the same kind of ignorance that MY ancestors had when they first left for America.
    This is the 21st century, and people are starting to think differently. Don't judge people who want to identify with your culture, educate them. if you feel that they do not care for your struggles, teach them to care. Let's turn this around, if somebody came up to me and asked what it meant to identify with being British and hold British ideals then i wouldn't just turn someone away. Ok, so nobody has ever asked that of me because, lets face it, Britain is a bit shit, haha. But my point is, you should be PROUD that people want to identify with you, that people go out of their way to LIE about holding NA Ancestry. I know i would be proud, anyway.

  195. I have a great-grandmother who was a Huron. I also have parts of Iroquois and Mohican. I don't know much about the heritage. I do have some features. I have been told I look part Asian. Even when I lived in Asia for 3 1/2 years, I had people thinking I am part Asian.

  196. "Nobody would bat an eyelid if i decided i wanted to be Buddhist, or if i wanted to fly to India and learn about Hindu spirituality, so why should it be different if i want to learn about NA culture and beliefs?"

    Because Native Americans have asked white people not to practice their religions out of cultural context. (As far as I know, the Buddhists and Hindus of the world have not.)


    Yet we keep right on doing it, often in the name of "honoring" them and their ways. You say you know what you do is inaccurate--based on romanticized stereotpyes--but you keep right on doing it regardless of the "hatred" you experience.

    And of course you'd be proud to have some Native ancestry. That's kind of the point. Most people who claim this aren't lying outright, they're repeating family legend. It's pretty cool and romantic to be 1/32 Cherokee or whatever. What no white person wants to be is an actual Native American living in the US today. It's hard. People think they know who and what you are. Sometimes they beat you up. Sometimes they take your religions, pervert them out of all recognition, and get upset when they're asked not to do that.

    Some white people are accepted in Native communities, cultures, etc. They had to "earn it." They didn't decide they had a right to these things and demand to be educated. They were respectful and listened to what they were told.

    Really, why isn't "Because the Native Americans say so" a good enough answer for you? Why not respect that you have no right to their cultures? Why insist you be where accepted where you're not accepted?

  197. Our family had a story about one of our ancestors being Native American - my ancestors on that side were here in the late 1600s and worked their way from England to New England to Ohio. Along the way, one of them "married" an Indian woman. I would assume that she might have come from one of the Iroquois nations in NY State as he passed through that area. My cousin's dentist told her she had "Indian blood" because of her shovel shaped incisors. I had my DNA done for fun and medical reasons and was shocked to learn that my ancestry contained ethnic groups I would not have expected. My cousin's report backed this up. All those Romans in Great Britain left their marks, along with the Spanish sailors. The Indian blood was there, but not much. "Mestizo" it was called. I don't claim to be part of any tribe and if I was being romantic about Indians, would not choose to be Cherokee but probably Sioux. Why? I have no idea. People are ignorant, that's a fact, but most of the time they don't mean to be evil. They just don't think too deeply!

  198. If I knew how much Cherokee and Chippewa I had in me I would be content. I know I have some native american in me. Maybe not as much as my mom or my dad, but I know it's there. I can see it in them and in old family photos. I'm not another white person claiming that my family descended from natives simply because I wish it was so. And I hate when people assume so.


Please see the "commenting guidelines" before submitting a comment.

hit counter code