A mixed-race woman’s long quest to prove her Native American ancestry

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2019-01-05 20:47Z by Steven

A mixed-race woman’s long quest to prove her Native American ancestry

The Washington Post
2019-01-04

Neely Tucker, Contributing reporter


Darnella Davis, center, with her siblings and their parents, John and Mary, in 1955. Mary was Muscogee Creek, and John said he had Cherokee blood; a grandfather received a land allotment for Native Americans. But Darnella’s Indian heritage was later disputed. (University of New Mexico Press; courtesy of Lafayette West)

When Darnella Davis was a shy, “sandy-colored and sandy-haired” teenager growing up in Detroit in the 1960s, she knew she was “part Indian.” It wasn’t entirely clear what that meant. In that era of Motown, the civil rights movement and the devastating 1967 riot/rebellion that wrecked that city, she knew that her Oklahoma-based family was not culturally kin to the black neighbors who’d fled sharecropping and the Deep South. As a standout arts student at the city’s premier (and racially mixed) high school, Cass Tech, she knew she wasn’t white, either.

Her dad talked of growing up as a Cherokee kid; people sometimes called her Muscogee Creek mom “Pocahontas,” and the family drove 19 hours to their ancestral spot in northeast Oklahoma every summer and school holiday. Her grandfather, Crugee Adams, had once grown rich there, drawing on the mineral rights of his land allotment for Native Americans dating back to the late 19th century.

So imagine her surprise when she applied for a post-graduate scholarship in Boston reserved for Native Americans and was told, both by the state of Massachusetts and the Cherokee Nation, that she wasn’t Indian, either. The resulting, decades-long experience of white and Native American bureaucrats telling her what percentage of Indian blood she must possess to qualify as a certified member of the tribe proved to be the background for “Untangling a Red, White, and Black Heritage: A Personal History of the Allotment Era.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Untangling a Red, White, and Black Heritage: A Personal History of the Allotment Era

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2019-01-05 20:32Z by Steven

Untangling a Red, White, and Black Heritage: A Personal History of the Allotment Era

University of New Mexico Press
November 2018
312 pages
21 figs
6×9 in.
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8263-5979-7
E-book ISBN: 978-0-8263-5980-3

Darnella Davis
Washington, D.C.

Examining the legacy of racial mixing in Indian Territory through the land and lives of two families, one of Cherokee Freedman descent and one of Muscogee Creek heritage, Darnella Davis’s memoir writes a new chapter in the history of racial mixing on the frontier. It is the only book-length account of the intersections between the three races in Indian Territory and Oklahoma written from the perspective of a tribal person and a freedman.

The histories of these families, along with the starkly different federal policies that molded their destinies, offer a powerful corrective to the historical narrative. From the Allotment Period to the present, their claims of racial identity and land in Oklahoma reveal inequalities that still fester more than one hundred years later. Davis offers a provocative opportunity to unpack our current racial discourse and ask ourselves, “Who are ‘we’ really?”

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Japanese Mom, Non-Japanese Kid

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2018-12-03 02:43Z by Steven

Japanese Mom, Non-Japanese Kid

Hapa Japan
2018-11-29

Fredrick Cloyd


Featured Image by Edward M. Haugh

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about a mixed-Japanese child either born and/or raised outside of Japan, is the personal-cultural aspects of the relationship between the Japanese parent and the child, who grows up to be an adult. Since my ethnographic focus for my book, as well as my life experiences with Amerasians are with my mother and her friends and their families, and Japanese mothers in general, this will be my focus here, rather than families with Japanese fathers.

One aspect of the Japanese mother-American child relationship growing up in the United States, is the fact of loneliness…

Read the entire article here.

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A Family Tree With Roots Deep In Slavery

Posted in Autobiography, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2018-12-03 01:03Z by Steven

A Family Tree With Roots Deep In Slavery

Code Switch: Race and identity, remixed
National Public Radio
2018-11-21

Nabil Ayers

All families have histories.
Man_Half-tube/Getty Images

“Well hello there Nabil!

“I welcome your letter.

“So in the little bit of information you shared with me, I am intrigued.

“I have worked for a number of years, 26 in fact, on my genealogy. It has been a passion and at times an obsession.”

In her initial email to me, Karen surprised me with her excitement and candor — neither of which I was expecting from the woman whom I had gently accused of being the descendant of the man who owned my ancestors…

…My mother, who is white, chose to have me and raise me on her own. My father is black, but because he has never been part of my life, I’ve never held a strong black identity or felt I belonged to any single race. I grew up in very diverse and liberal surroundings where, if anyone asked, I was racially mixed, and that was fine.

I’m often asked the question, “What are you?” Or the less invasive, but still pointed, “Where are you from?” I’ve always described myself as “half black and half white.” It’s a phrase I still use for simplicity…

Read the entire article here.

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Peace Weavers: Uniting the Salish Coast through Cross-Cultural Marriages

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2018-11-18 22:59Z by Steven

Peace Weavers: Uniting the Salish Coast through Cross-Cultural Marriages

Washington State University Press
2017
290 pages
Illustrations / maps / notes / bibliography / index
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87422-346-0

Candace Wellman

Peace-weaving marriages between Salish families and pioneer men played a crucial role in mid-1800s regional settlement. Author Candace Wellman illuminates this hidden history and shatters stereotypes surrounding these relationships. The four exceptional women she profiles left a lasting legacy in their Puget Sound communities.

Strategic cross-cultural marriages between Coast and Interior Salish families and pioneer men played a crucial role in mid-1800s regional settlement and spared Puget Sound’s upper corner from tragic conflicts. Accounts of the husbands exist in a variety of records, but the native wives’ contributions remained unacknowledged. Combining primary and secondary sources, genealogy, and family memories, author Candace Wellman illuminates this hidden history and shatters stereotypes surrounding these relationships. The four women she profiles exhibited exceptional endurance, strength, and adaptability. They ran successful farms and businesses and acted as cultural interpreters and mediators. Although each story is unique, collectively they and other intermarried individuals helped found Puget Sound communities and left a lasting legacy. They were peace weavers.

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Blood & Belonging

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Poetry, United States on 2018-11-13 04:15Z by Steven

Blood & Belonging

Amazon Digital Services
2018-11-09
156 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1730892684

Sirinda Pairin

Blood & Belonging by [Pairin, Sirinda]

Siri Pairin’s poems explore the challenges and triumphs of biracial identity. With an honest and minimalist style, she writes about themes such as duality, belonging, love, home, space, culture, identity, race, ethnicity, heritage, and representation.

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Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2018-10-15 02:29Z by Steven

Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption

University of Nebraska Press
October 2018
352 pages
12 photographs
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0746-3
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1088-3
eBook (EPUB) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1086-9

Susan Devan Harness, Member
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

Bitterroot

In Bitterroot Susan Devan Harness traces her journey to understand the complexities and struggles of being an American Indian child adopted by a white couple and living in the rural American West. When Harness was fifteen years old, she questioned her adoptive father about her “real” parents. He replied that they had died in a car accident not long after she was born—except they hadn’t, as Harness would learn in a conversation with a social worker a few years later.

Harness’s search for answers revolved around her need to ascertain why she was the target of racist remarks and why she seemed always to be on the outside looking in. New questions followed her through college and into her twenties when she started her own family. Meeting her biological family in her early thirties generated even more questions. In her forties Harness decided to get serious about finding answers when, conducting oral histories, she talked with other transracial adoptees. In her fifties she realized that the concept of “home” she had attributed to the reservation existed only in her imagination.

Making sense of her family, the American Indian history of assimilation, and the very real—but culturally constructed—concept of race helped Harness answer the often puzzling questions of stereotypes, a sense of nonbelonging, the meaning of family, and the importance of forgiveness and self-acceptance. In the process Bitterroot also provides a deep and rich context in which to experience life.

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Sharon H. Chang does a deep dive of her new memoir “Hapa Tales and Other Lies” with fellow Seattle writer Anne Liu Kellor

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2018-10-12 14:16Z by Steven

Sharon H. Chang does a deep dive of her new memoir “Hapa Tales and Other Lies” with fellow Seattle writer Anne Liu Kellor

International Examiner
Seattle, Washington
2018-10-08

Anne Liu Kellor

Sharon H. Chang recently released a memoir called Hapa Tales and Other Lies: A Mixed Race Memoir about the Hawai’i I Never Knew. The book is an exploration of her Mixed Race Asian American identity through the lens of being a tourist in Hawai’i, a place with many Mixed Race Asians where Chang was indirectly told she could find a sense of racial belonging.

Different from the trips she took with her parents when she was a kid, Chang’s adult exploration of spaces like Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center tell her a more complicated history of Hawai’i and the indigenous culture – colonization, marginalization of Native Hawaiians, exploitation and appropriation. She spends significant time challenging the use of the term “hapa,” a word that originally referred to mixed Hawaiian natives, but that many Mixed Race Asians now use without any awareness of the word’s origins.

Seattle-based writer Anne Liu Kellor interviewed Chang about this exploration as they shared similar perspectives of being Mixed Race, Asian American women and mothers.

International Examiner: In Hapa Tales and Other Lies, you write that this book is a “chapter of your identity story” and “part of a larger, necessary story about the loneliness and challenge of self-defining that Mixed Race people generally face.” When did you start becoming more reflective about your Mixed Race identity, and how has this process of “self-defining” changed for you over time?

SHC: I started becoming more reflective about being Mixed Race when I met my husband (who is also Mixed) at the turn of the century. My husband had been recently politicized and the 2000 Census had just taken place where people could self-select more than one race box for the first time. When we met, he was in the process of reflecting deeply on where to step into the race conversation as a now recognized biracial person. I had never heard anyone talk about being Mixed Race like that, ever, and I was completely drawn in.

When my husband and I grew up no one talked about being biracial, multiracial, or mixed-race. That language didn’t really exist on a large scale. People like us were “half” this, “quarter” that, or you were expected to just “pick a side.” I began to see such concepts as harmfully self-divisive and wondered how things could be different. But what spurred me to go even deeper and actually begin writing on Mixed Race was the birth of my son in 2009…

Read the entire interview here.

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Album review: ‘Picture in Black and White’

Posted in Autobiography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2018-10-08 03:16Z by Steven

Album review: ‘Picture in Black and White’

Rochester CITY Newspaper
Rochester, New York
2018-09-24

Ron Netsky

Concept albums are common in rock, but rare in the jazz realm. Tessa Souter’sPicture in Black and White“—set for release on October 5—breaks that mold. Souter, a Rochester favorite after multiple jazz festival appearances, has created an exquisite musical exploration of her identity. At the age 28, she discovered that her birth father was black and her roots reached from Africa to the Caribbean, from Celtic Britain to Andalusian Spain. Musical strains from all of these places permeate the album….

Read the entire review here.

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Picture in Black and White

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2018-10-08 01:08Z by Steven

Picture in Black and White

NOA Records
2018-10-05

Tessa Souter

  1. Kothbiro
  2. Contemplation (Ancestors)
  3. A Taste of Honey
  4. Dancing girl/Where the Streets Have No Name
  5. Ana Maria’s Song (Ana Maria)
  6. Child of Love
  7. Picture in Black and White
  8. You Don’t Have To Believe
  9. Reynardine
  10. Siren Song
  11. Lonely Woman
  12. Nothing Will Be As It Was

with Yotam Silberstein (guitar), Yasushi Nakamura (bass), Keita Ogawa (percussion), Adam Platt (piano), Dana Leong (cello), Billy Drummond (cymbals and drums)

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