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.”…

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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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Congress votes to end blood quantum requirement, applies to five tribes

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-01-04 19:26Z by Steven

Congress votes to end blood quantum requirement, applies to five tribes

KFOR-TV
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2018-12-26

OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill ending a blood quantum requirement awaits President Donald Trump’s signature after it unanimously passed the U.S. House and Senate.

HR2606, also known as the Stigler Act Amendments of 2018, was authored by Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) and co-sponsored by Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02). The legislation amends a 1947 law and would remove the one-half degree Native American blood quantum restriction for holders of tribal allotment land.

The legislation specifically impacts citizens of five Oklahoma tribes: the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Choctaw and the Seminole nations

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The black Americans suing to reclaim their Native American identity

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2018-11-13 03:06Z by Steven

The black Americans suing to reclaim their Native American identity

The Guardian
2018-10-02

Caleb Gayle


Rhonda Grayson, with an image of her great-great grandfather Willie Cohee. Photograph: Brett Deering for the Guardian

Their ancestors were black slaves owned by Native Americans. Now they’re suing the Creek nation to fully restore their citizenship

Johnnie Mae Austin and her grandson, Damario Solomon-Simmons, can tell you everything about their ancestry. They can go back as far as 1810, the year Solomon-Simmons’ great-great-great-great-grandfather, Cow Tom, was born. With undeniable pride, they recount the man’s feats of bravery during the civil war, and his leadership within Oklahoma’s Creek population.

In fact, they are so determined to let the world know exactly who Cow Tom was that they’re suing the Creek nation to make sure his descendants aren’t forgotten.

Solomon-Simmons and his grandmother are black, but they argue they’re also Creek, and they’re fighting to reclaim their identity…

Red the entire article here.

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Yvonne Chouteau, Native American Ballerina, Dies at 86

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2016-02-11 03:34Z by Steven

Yvonne Chouteau, Native American Ballerina, Dies at 86

The New York Times
2016-01-29

Jack Anderson


Yvonne Chouteau, one of the five celebrated Oklahoma ballerinas with an American Indian background, in a 1963 photo. Credit Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

Yvonne Chouteau, a former principal dancer of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo who emerged as one of a celebrated group of dancers known as the American Indian ballerinas of Oklahoma, died on Sunday at her home in Oklahoma City. She was 86.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said Mary Margaret Holt, director of the School of Dance and dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma. Ms. Chouteau was a founder of the dance school, one of the leading institutions of its kind in the Southwest

…Part French and part ShawneeCherokee, Myra Yvonne Chouteau was born into a pioneering Southwestern family in Fort Worth on March 7, 1929, the only child of Corbett Edward Chouteau and the former Lucy Annette Taylor. The family soon moved to Vinita, Okla., and her father, who was known as C. E. Chouteau, became a prominent American Indian figure in the state.

Ms. Chouteau was a direct descendant of Maj. Jean Pierre Chouteau (1758-1849), who established Oklahoma’s oldest white settlement in 1796…

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Oklahoma cop gets life for sex crimes against the poor

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-22 03:00Z by Steven

Oklahoma cop gets life for sex crimes against the poor

USA Today
2016-01-21

Melanie Eversley, Breaking News Reporter


Former officer Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison after he was convicted in December of 18 counts, including first-degree rape.

A former Oklahoma City police officer was sentenced Thursday to spend the rest of his life in prison after his conviction for raping and sexually abusing women in a low-income neighborhood while on the beat.

District Judge Timothy Henderson agreed with an earlier court recommendation and sentenced Daniel Holtzclaw to 263 years in prison for the attacks on black women in a low-income neighborhood between 2013 and 2014. Holtclaw, 29, had been charged with 36 counts.

After a six-week trial, a jury on Dec. 10 found Holtzclaw guilty of 18 counts. The youngest victim was 17 at the time of her attack and testified that the incident took place on her mother’s front porch, according to The Oklahoman.

The judge denied a request for a new trial made by Scott Adams, Holtzclaw’s defense attorney, who maintained that Holtzclaw was denied a fair trial because the prosecution made deliberate violations and misrepresentations in discovery.

The case drew national attention because of the race of the victims. Holtzclaw is half-white and half-Asian…

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Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw found guilty of rape

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-12-13 02:01Z by Steven

Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw found guilty of rape

Cable News Network (CNN)
2015-12-10

Michael Martinez, Newsdesk Editor & Writer

Gigi Mann

(CNN) A jury found former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw guilty Thursday of some of the most serious charges against him, including sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy and rape.

Holtzclaw faced 36 counts. He was found guilty on 18.

The former officer cried openly in the courtroom and rocked in his chair as the verdict was being read. Jurors deliberated for more than 40 hours over four days.

The Oklahoma City Police Department welcomed the verdict. “We are satisfied with the jury’s decision and firmly believe justice was served,” it said.

Sentencing is set for next month.

His trial touched upon the explosive intersection of race, policing and justice in America.

Holtzclaw, whose father is white and mother Japanese, was accused of assaulting or raping 13 women, all black, while he was on the job. Court records identify his race as “Asian or Pacific Islander.”

The jury was all-white, composed of eight men and four women…

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G.O.P. Hopeful Finds Tribal Tie Cuts Both Ways

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-05-04 11:30Z by Steven

G.O.P. Hopeful Finds Tribal Tie Cuts Both Ways

The New York Times
2014-05-03

Jonathan Martin, National Political Correspondent

BARTLESVILLE, Okla.T. W. Shannon will be Oklahoma’s first black senator if he wins the Republican nomination and is elected this November, but the quiet campaign stirring here about Mr. Shannon’s racial loyalties is not aimed at the African-American branch of his family tree.

Mr. Shannon, whose first name is Tahrohon, is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, the most influential tribe in a state where Native Americans are not merely the inheritors of a poignant history but also collectively constitute the state’s largest nongovernment employer outside of Walmart.

Most of those jobs are connected to Oklahoma’s 110-and-counting casinos, which are becoming as familiar here as oil derricks. Yet the gambling revenue that has showered millions on some of the state’s Native Americans has also bred resentment over the tribes’ expanding footprint. Now, as Mr. Shannon vies to make history, he has become both the political beneficiary of the tribes’ newfound wealth and a target for complaints about Native American sovereignty and possible competing loyalties…

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Validity of Infant Race/Ethnicity from Birth Certificates in the Context of U.S. Demographic Change

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2014-04-17 21:45Z by Steven

Validity of Infant Race/Ethnicity from Birth Certificates in the Context of U.S. Demographic Change

Health Services Research
Volume 49, Issue 1 (February 2014)
pages 249–267
DOI: 10.1111/1475-6773.12083

Lisa Reyes Mason, Assistant Professor of Social Work
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Yunju Nam, Associate Professor of Social Work
State University of New York, Buffalo

Youngmi Kim, Assistant Professor of Social Work
Virginia Commonwealth University

Objective

To compare infant race/ethnicity based on birth certificates with parent report of infant race/ethnicity in a survey.

Data Sources

The 2007 Oklahoma birth certificates and SEED for Oklahoma Kids baseline survey.

Study Design

Using sensitivity scores and positive predictive values, we examined consistency of infant race/ethnicity across two data sources (N = 2,663).

Data Collection/Extraction Methods

We compared conventional measures of infant race/ethnicity from birth certificate and survey data. We also tested alternative measures that allow biracial classification, determined from parental information on the infant’s birth certificate or parental survey report.

Principal Findings

Sensitivity of conventional measures is highest for whites and African Americans and lowest for Hispanics; positive predictive value is highest for Hispanics and African Americans and lowest for American Indians. Alternative measures improve values among whites but yield mostly low values among minority and biracial groups.

Conclusions

Health disparities research should consider the source and validity of infant race/ethnicity data when creating sampling frames or designing studies that target infants by race/ethnicity. The common practice of assigning the maternal race/ethnicity as infant race/ethnicity should continue to be challenged.

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Intermarried-Whites in the Cherokee Nation Between the Years 1865 and 1887

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-04-09 23:19Z by Steven

Intermarried-Whites in the Cherokee Nation Between the Years 1865 and 1887

Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 6, Number 3 (September, 1928)
pages 299-326

A. H. Murchison
Muskogee, Oklahoma

The Cherokee Indians in all their various treaties with the United States, numbering about twenty, obtained provisions whereby the United States was to exclude intruding white persons from their territory. We find, however, as far back as 1819 in their written laws1 where the Cherokees made provision to take care of and authorize intermarriage. Data concerning the Cherokee Indians concerns Oklahoma and, as a number of the laws under which they lived in Indian Territory were formerly passed in the states of Tennessee and Georgia, it would be interesting to follow their intermarriage laws from the first written in the East to those passed in the West up to about the year 1869.

Several of the old Cherokee Laws and Resolutions start with the words, “Whereas, a law has been in existence for many years, but not committed to writing, that if * * * etc.,” This wording is not prefixed to any of the intermarriage laws and it is reasonable to deduct that prior to 1819 there had been no law on the matter.

This first law passed at “New Town, Cherokee Nation, November 2, 1819” follows:

“RESOLVED BY THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE AND COUNSEL, That any white man who shall hereafter take a Cherokee woman to wife be required to marry her legally by a minister of the gospel or other authorized person, after procuring license from the National Clerk for that purpose, before he shall be entitled and admitted to the privileges of citizenship, and in order to avoid imposition on the part of any white man,

RESOLVED, That any white man who shall marry a Cherokee woman the property of the woman so marry, shall not be subject to the disposal of her

husband, contrary to her consent, and any white man so married and parting from his wife without just provocation, shall forfeit and pay to his wife such sum or sums, as may be adjudged to her by the National Committee and Council for said breach of marriage, and be deprived of citizenship, and it is also resolved, that it shall not be lawful for any white man to have more than one wife, and it is also recommended that all others should also have but one wife hereafter.  By order of the National Committee.

Jno Ross, Pres’t N. Com.
Approved—Path (his x mark) Killer
Chas R. Hicks,
A. McCoy, Clerk.”….

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