Re: Are You Cherokee? -- Lone Wolf Cherokee, IN
- Hi, Mark! It's nice to hear someone say they know
who they are and they're proud to be who they are.
I agree, that... a person should be able to claim not
only their heritage via DNA, but also through customs
passed down and other non-blood type history.
The problem is (as in my situation), if you don't have
"proof" of a certain culture's DNA ... then, I feel,
you're automatically "blown off," in terms of the part
of your DNA that's in question. At least, that's how I feel.
I do understand the necessity of knowing,
to some degree (and, to what degree is that?
How can that, possibly, FAIRLY, be measured?
Certainly, not by "white man's" standards???!),
your blood ties, to a certain ethnic group ...
but, what if that -in no way- can be proven
(without a shadow of a doubt)?
Then, what? Do people, like me, just go on living
our lives not knowing exactly WHO we really are?
Do we go on allowing narrow-minded and unfeeling
people to judge us based on our outward appearances
and the color of our skin (hair, eyes, etc.)?
I must admit... given my situation, I am totally confused.
As some of the members have mentioned... I, too, grew
up one way (believing I was "white" and only white),
then later heard stories of a Native American side to our family.
I am not one to ignore the truth, no matter how hard it
hits me... especially concerning issues such as "race."
I have always had this part of myself that knew I was "different"
growing up (aside from the fact that I was abandoned, at birth,
and later adopted), but never really got any solid answers.
It's aggrivating, to say the least!
I'm just curious as to how you go about finding out who you really
are... when everyone around you looks different ("whiter?") and
no one seems willing to tell you the truth. I'd like to know!
Thanks for your post. It really got me thinking.
"Mark Harrison" <Mark516@...> wrote:
Some of my family too walked the Trail of Tears,
as slaves and owners and others as old settlers
some went on to live a prosperous live as
Cherokee within IT, we not only lived
by the Cherokee customs we went on too
become farmers, teachers and councilmen.
We lived on the land the Creator gave
to us, be it in the East or West.
Today I know the history of where my people come
from today I know as I knew yesterday who I am.
I know that I am proud to be a Black Cherokee.
On Behalf Of lonniesdrm
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 14:23
Subject: Re: Are You Cherokee? -- Lone Wolf Cherokee, IN
Your words touched my heart! Your oral history is similar to mine.
However, my Tsalagi (Cherokee) ancestors escaped the Trail of Tears
by taking mountain trails and settling near Bear Creek in Virginia.
They are not on any of the rolls even though they were full bloods.
My grandfather once said that they left the village in NC because
they did not want to be sent to the west (the place of death).
They preferred to live out their lives as renegades.
The Cherokee Nation has violated their own tradition.
This being once you are Tsalagi you are always Tsalagi.
The Freedmen were an important part of building the Nation in
the West but now they are not good enough to enjoy the rewards?
Racism is still alive and well...
I feel proud to be the descendant of those who fought against
racism and held true to their culture and traditions.
Peace and Blessings.
All Cherokee, despite how much blood we have,
know that we are all related, and to gain anything
for our people we must unify, not continue to divide.
Call the Cherokee people wanting to
return to the white path, "Returning
Cherokee," "Disenfranchised Cherokee,"
or "Un-recognized Cherokees," but do
not call them "Wannabes'" or "Frauds."
Do not look down on them or talk
about them behind their backs.
Don't sneer, giggle or laugh at them.
Do not refuse to talk to them if they speak to you.
Give these Cherokee people the
same respect they are offering to you.
These Cherokee People coming back to the ways
of their heritage will not let anyone deny them from
being who they are, they should not apologize to
anyone on the quantum of their blood, or the color
of their skin, hair or eyes and let no one deny
them that pride and privilege of being a Cherokee.
"The Creator gave no man the power to
say who any other man can or cannot be".
It should also be recognized that these
undocumented Cherokee may also be the
descendants of the Cherokee people who
fought against the White man, the Cherokee
people who refused to be placed in reservations.
The Cherokee people who hid out in the hills
from the White man and kept themselves "free."
These Cherokee felt that they had held to
their belief of freedom and did not give in
or sell out to the White mans government.
These were the Cherokee who felt that they were
the true Cherokee, the true warriors for our freedom.
These people went through a lot to keep hidden
from the white man and to be safe from removal.
They had to change their names and
take on the names of non Indians.
They kept no records so
that they could not be traced.
All family history was by word of mouth.
Soon, not even verbal history was
spoken under fear of imprisonment.
So are ancestors had to hide their pride.
It became so bad that soon no one spoke
of their heritage and unfortunately, some
younger family members were not told of
their heritage just so they would be kept safe.
Our ancestors gave up a lot just to be free.
During and after the removal of
the people, times became very hard.
So the government devised yet another way
to assist in the extermination of the Indians.
The government offered those Indian people
their own plots of land and also gave them
up to $5000.00 in cash so that they
could live and farm their own lands.
They even offered them slaves.
But this was not without a catch.
To do this the government required these
families to denounce their Indian heritage
and to never speak of it again.
The government wanted these Indians
to live as Whites and because times were
so hard for these people, many accepted.
In any of the cases mentioned, they would
have never thought that one day we would
return to our heritage and find that we couldn't
trace our families because of the secrets.
Today, because of that, some of
their descendants cannot find
a history of their family.
Cannot prove, by the white man's government
standards, that they are Cherokee.
Our ancestors never thought that we'd
have to prove to anyone who we were.
Does anyone have the right to put these people
down because their ancestors were the warriors who
fought against being a prisoner of the White man?
No! Actually it should be quite the opposite.
We are our own worst enemies.
As long as we continue to separate ourselves,
and not acknowledge our other Cherokee
people, we will never be united.
Until we are united we have not become
ONE people and we will continue to lose
the strength that we should have as one people.
Until this can happen, we will never
fulfill what the Creator has taught us.
Standup, be proud of who you are.
Tell everyone that you are a Cherokee
Indian and damn proud to be.
Make sure you fill out job applications
stating who you are a Native American.
Join a disenfranchised Cherokee
band or organization in your state.
Make a promise to learn the Cherokee
traditions, stories and the language and
each day, choose a time to practice telling
these stories or speaking our language.
It is up to us to keep our heritage alive,
as one or as a whole, a family, a people.
The Cherokees have a very rich part of
America's history which continues
today, show your pride in that history.
Make your ancestors proud to know
you are proud to be their relations.
Do not allow anyone to take away your birthright.
Stand up and be proud of who
you are ... you will not stand alone!
CHIEF SMITH'S CONTRADICTORY WORDS.
In a official news release dated September 22nd.,
2000, Principal Chief Chad Smith of the Western
Cherokee Nation publicly acknowledged the
existence of undocumented Cherokees,
BUT in the same breath, denied
their "rights to recognition".
Appearing in the Cherokee Nation's web site
in September, 2000, Chief Smith stated,
"There are people with undeniable Cherokee
heritage who don't meet enrollment requirements.
That doesn't mean they can't claim their ancestry."
"Through anomalies caused by Ethnicidal
policies of the United States Government,
the traditional Cherokee Nation has
been fragmented." said Chief Smith ...
We are all one people separated by geography... "
The Lone Wolf Band of Cherokee Indians