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African-Native American Genealogy Forum

Re: By Blood Ancestors
In Response To: Re: By Blood Ancestors ()

Greetings David,

Reading this post for some reason bothers me. The argument you present so benignly belies the issues that have clouded the basic question of is the “descendant” of a “by blood” individual regardless of gender should be classified as “Native American.” In this case because I don’t believe the “Native American” community is a monolith and as Eli pointed out earlier in the week, the Five Tribes have a history that is unique to their tribe.

You make the point that if a person (male by blood) should die before the Dawes enrollment process and happens to be married to a freedwoman, than the children of both should receive a “racial” classification of freedmen as their mother.

One, this discounts cases similar to one published in “Voices of Indian Territory” concerning the children of Choctaw Morris Impson and his freedwoman wife Dora. Morris was alive and fought to have his children classified as “by blood” like himself. Their case is not an isolated incident and what it demonstrates (to me at least) is the level of racism practiced in the Choctaw tribe, but not exclusive to that nation, as we see it played out in the other’s as well to a greater or lesser degree.

You also state that because of BIA decisions, this practice of racial classification is allowed to continue. I would argue it is allowed to continued by both the BIA and the tribes. If in fact as you have argued on more than one occassion, the tribes have to power to decide who is a citizen, then one can only infer they have a certain responsibility in maintaining this practice.

Also lost in this explanation is the practice where many “white” women gave birth to children of “Indian” men, and their children were enrolled as “by blood.” Clearly the practice demonstrates the worst aspects of racism when a duplicitous practice is utilized to “legitimize” who is and who is not an Indian, be they Cherokee, Choctaw or whatever.

What seems to be implicit in this selection process is a disdain for those with “African” blood, but some how tolerated by both bodies who have the power to change such a system and more importantly change the racist attitudes towards individuals with “African” blood.

I’m pointing this out because the history of all the tribes is a complex one on some levels when it comes to the political construction of race. Yet when you break it down, this construction has been used to be divisive and allow a small clique within each tribe to control what is to be considered the “correct” and “true” history only to be refuted by the facts.

These children of Cherokee men and freedwomen in fact did possess Cherokee blood. You can repeat that for everyone of the five tribes, yet today you are correct, the BIA would not accept the fact these people have “Indian” blood solely because their ancestors “appear” on the freedmen roll. This only negates the truth, but it allows tribal leaders to walk around today, proclaiming their conmittment to their people only to deny that committment to ALL of the people historically, genealogically, connected to the various nations.

Here we are in the 21st Century and the issue is just as muddled as it was in the 19th! Yet the tribes are celebrating all their various accomplishments and “perceptions” of what their history is without taking a good hard look at the mess they have contributed too, so don't put it all on the BIA.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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