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(Article) " We are Still Here"

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  • multiracialbookclub
    (Article) We are Still Here Africa-Native Americans: We are Still Here is based on an exhibit, curated by Ms. Eve Winddancer .
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2005
      (Article) " We are Still Here"

      "Africa-Native Americans: We are Still Here" is
      based on an exhibit, curated by Ms. Eve Winddancer .


      [[“Many people believe racial and ethnic groups in
      North America have always lived as separately ...
      However, segregation was neither practical nor preferable when
      people who were not native to this continent began arriving here.
      Europeans needed Indians as guides,
      trade partners and military allies.
      They needed Africans to tend their
      crops and to build an infrastructure.

      Later, as the new American government began to thrive, laws were
      drafted to protect the land and property the colonists had acquired.
      These laws strengthened the powers of slave owners, limited the
      rights of free Africans and barred most Indian rights altogether.
      Today, “black”, "white" and "red" Americans
      still feel the aftershock of those laws.
      In order to enforce the new laws, Indians and
      Africans had to be distinguished from Europeans.
      Government census takers began visiting Indian communities
      east of the Mississippi River in the late 1700s and continued
      their task of identifying, categorizing, and counting
      individuals and "tribes" well into the 20th century.
      In the earlier days of this process, Native American communities that
      were found to be harboring escaped African slaves were threatened
      with loss of their tribal status, thereby nullifying their treaties
      with the U.S. government and relinquishing all claims to their land.

      Wild Eagle, Narragansett/Wanpanoag
      Despite the restrictions imposed by the U.S. government,
      Indians and Africans still managed to form close bonds.
      Some Native American communities ignored the laws
      and continued to aid fleeing African slaves.
      Some free Africans aided displaced Indians.
      Sometimes the two groups came together in "prayer towns"
      –-- European communities that welcomed and protected
      converts to Christianity, regardless of race...
      Some Native Americans listed themselves as "Negro"
      or "mixed" in order to retain ownership of their land.

      Some Native Americans refused to sign the census rolls during
      the 18th and 19th centuries, some refused to register with
      the Bureau of Indian Affairs or to allow themselves to be
      "removed" to "Indian Territory" in Oklahoma during the 1800s.
      As a result, many of their descendants grew up in
      urban environments instead of on reservations.
      This isn't the image of Native American experience
      most people carry in their heads but, in this
      part of the country, it is quite prevalent...

      Our lives reflect the same diversity as
      any other cultural group in America.
      We are wealthy, middle class and impoverished.
      We are educated and ignorant.
      We are employed and unemployed.
      We are Americans.

      Hollywood has taught us to associate the facial features ...
      with red skin and sweeping Southwestern vistas, yet the
      people have skin tones that range from coffee to cream ...

      They are of African descent but they are also Blackfoot, Canarsie,
      Caribe, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Lenape, Matinecock,
      Mohawk, Munsee, Ramapo, Shinnecock, Seminole, Unkechaug, Taino. ..

      Some of them speak indigenous languages ... and
      all are extremely proud of their mixed heritage.
      They embody the intertwining of two of America's
      most stalwart and dynamic ethnic communities.

      DID YOU KNOW ???

      The first slaves in the "New World" were Indians.
      However, colonists found them difficult to contain --
      they knew the surrounding countryside and those who had
      not been captured often organized successful rescue efforts.
      For a time, slave merchants continued to raid Native American
      communities along the central and southern shores of the
      Eastern Seaboard and to encourage local warriors to barter
      captives they would otherwise kill for European trade goods.
      The women and children the merchants acquired were sold
      alongside Africans to buyers in the north while the
      men were shipped to plantations in the Caribbean.”

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