People of Mixed Ancestry in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake: Freedom, Bondage, and the Rise of Hypodescent Ideology

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2018-04-05 02:58Z by Steven

People of Mixed Ancestry in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake: Freedom, Bondage, and the Rise of Hypodescent Ideology

Journal of Social History
Published: 2017-10-17
DOI: 10.1093/jsh/shx113

A. B. Wilkinson, Assistant Professor of History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This article examines the origins of mixed-race ideologies and people of mixed African, European, and Native American ancestry—commonly identified as mulattoes—in the seventeenth-century English colonial Chesapeake and wider Atlantic world. Arguably, for the better part of the century, English colonial societies in the Chesapeake resembled Latin America and other Atlantic island colonies in allowing a relatively flexible social hierarchy, in which certain mixed-heritage people benefitted from their European lineage. Chesapeake authorities began to slowly set their provinces apart from their English colonial counterparts in the 1660s, when they enacted laws to deter intimate intermixture between Europeans and other ethnoracial groups and set policies that punished mixed-heritage children. Colonial officials attempted to use the legal system to restrict people of mixed ancestry, Africans, and Native Americans in bondage. These efforts supported the ideology of hypodescent, where children of mixed lineage are relegated more closely to the position of their socially inferior parentage. However, from the 1660s through the 1680s, these laws were unevenly enforced, and mixture increased with the growth of African slaves imported into the region. While many mulattoes were enslaved during this period, others were able to rely on their European heritage or racial whiteness. This allowed them to gain or maintain freedom for themselves and their families, before Virginia and Maryland institutionalized greater restrictions in the 1690s.

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Alaska’s Unique Civil Rights Struggle

Posted in History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Justice, United States on 2018-04-01 02:53Z by Steven

Alaska’s Unique Civil Rights Struggle

JSTOR Daily
2018-03-26

Matthew Wills


Native Alaskan woman and child, 1929.
via Wikimedia Commons

A generation before the Civil Rights movement gained national attention, the struggle against Jim Crow was being fought…in Alaska. And women were at the forefront of the struggle.

Modern Alaskans, writes historian Terrence M. Cole, are “surprised and shocked to learn that racial segregation and Jim Crow policies towards Alaska natives were standard practice throughout much of Alaska” until the mid-1940s. Stores, bars, and restaurants posted “No Natives Allowed.” Movie theaters had “For Natives Only” seating. (Nome’s theater’s balcony was segregated for natives, commonly called “Eskimos,” and designated “Nigger Heaven” by whites.) And, by law and custom, Alaskans attended segregated schools…

…In the midst of the legislative battle over the equal rights bill, Alberta Schenck, a seventeen-year old with a white father and a native mother, was arrested for sitting in the “whites only” section of Nome’s movie theater in March 1944. (This was eleven years before Rosa Parks’s famous refusal to sit in the back of a Montgomery bus.) The furor over the incident galvanized support for Gruening’s bill after an earlier version had been stopped by an 8-8 vote in the Alaska House. The unprecedented election of two Tlingit legislators in late 1944 helped as well…

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Why Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to take a DNA test to prove Native American ancestry was probably a smart move

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-03-16 01:05Z by Steven

Why Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to take a DNA test to prove Native American ancestry was probably a smart move

The Washington Post
2018-03-14

Tara Bahrampour

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) rejected a call this week by a Massachusetts newspaper to take a DNA test to prove her Native American heritage, saying it is a cherished piece of family lore and noting that she has never used it to get ahead.

She might also add that such a test may not prove anything — or at least it couldn’t establish the absence of Native American ancestry her critics might be hoping to find.

If Warren were to take one of the widely available commercial “spit tests” and DNA related to a Native American tribe showed up, she would have positive proof that her family stories are true.

But if no such DNA were evident, that would not mean she didn’t have Native American ancestry…

Read the entire article here.

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We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet: Letters to My Filipino-Athabascan Family

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Justice, United States on 2018-03-05 01:37Z by Steven

We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet: Letters to My Filipino-Athabascan Family

State University of New York Press
February 2018
200 pages
Paperback ISBN13: 978-1-4384-6952-2

E. J. R. David, Associate Professor of Psychology
University of Alaska, Anchorage

A father’s personal and intimate account of his Filipino and Alaska Native family’s experiences, and his search for how to help his children overcome the effects of historical and contemporary oppression.

In a series of letters to his mixed-race Koyukon Athabascan family, E. J. R. David shares his struggles, insecurities, and anxieties as a Filipino American immigrant man, husband, and father living in the lands dominated by his family’s colonizer. The result is We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet, a deeply personal and heartfelt exploration of the intersections and widespread social, psychological, and health implications of colonialism, immigration, racism, sexism, intergenerational trauma, and internalized oppression. Weaving together his lived realities, his family’s experiences, and empirical data, David reflects on a difficult journey, touching upon the importance of developing critical and painful consciousness, as well as the need for connectedness, strength, freedom, and love, in our personal and collective efforts to heal from the injuries of historical and contemporary oppression. The persecution of two marginalized communities is brought to the forefront in this book. Their histories underscore and reveal how historical and contemporary oppression has very real and tangible impacts on Peoples across time and generations.

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Bending Their Way Onward: Creek Indian Removal in Documents

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2018-03-05 01:20Z by Steven

Bending Their Way Onward: Creek Indian Removal in Documents

University of Nebraska Press
February 2018
834 pages
10 illustrations, 17 maps, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-9698-5

Christopher D. Haveman, Assistant Professor of History
University of West Alabama

Between 1827 and 1837 approximately twenty-three thousand Creek Indians were transported across the Mississippi River, exiting their homeland under extreme duress and complex pressures. During the physically and emotionally exhausting journey, hundreds of Creeks died, dozens were born, and almost no one escaped without emotional scars caused by leaving the land of their ancestors.

Bending Their Way Onward is an extensive collection of letters and journals describing the travels of the Creeks as they moved from Alabama to present-day Oklahoma. This volume includes documents related to the “voluntary” emigrations that took place beginning in 1827 as well as the official conductor journals and other materials documenting the forced removals of 1836 and the coerced relocations of 1836 and 1837.

This volume also provides a comprehensive list of muster rolls from the voluntary emigrations that show the names of Creek families and the number of slaves who moved west. The rolls include many prominent Indian countrymen (such as white men married to Creek women) and Creeks of mixed parentage. Additional biographical data for these Creek families is included whenever possible. Bending Their Way Onward is the most exhaustive collection to date of previously unpublished documents related to this pivotal historical event.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • List of Maps
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Part 1. The Voluntary Emigrations 1827-1836
    • 1. The First McIntosh Party, 1827-1828
    • 2. The Second McIntosh Party, 1828
    • 3. The Third Voluntary Emigrating Party, 1829
    • 4. Chilly McIntosh’s Emigrating Party, 1833
    • 5. The Fourth Voluntary Emigrating Party, 1834-35
    • 6. The Fifth Voluntary Emigrating Party, 1835-36
  • Part 2. The Forced Removals, 1836
    • 7. Removal of the First Detachment of Creek Prisoners, July 1836-August 1836
    • 8. Second Detachment of Creek Prisoners
  • Part 3. The Coerced Relocations, 1836-37
    • 9. Detachments 1-6
    • 10. Detachment 1
    • 11. Detachment 2
    • 12. Detachment 3
    • 13. Detachment 4
    • 14. Detachment 5
    • 15. Detachment 6
  • Part 4. The Refugee Removals, 1837
    • 16. The Removal of the Refugee Creeks in the Cherokee and Chickasaw Countries
    • Part 5. The Voluntary Self-Emigrations and Reunification Emigrations, 1831-77
    • 17. The Reunification Emigrations
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Looking at Indians, white Americans see themselves

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-02-11 03:45Z by Steven

Looking at Indians, white Americans see themselves

The Economist
2018-02-10

Thinking about natives in an era of nativism

IN EARLY 1924 the blue-bloods of Virginia found themselves with a problem. To criminalise interracial marriage, the state had drafted a law that classified anyone possessing even “one drop” of non-white blood as “coloured”. Awkwardly, that would include many of the so-called First Families of Virginia, because they traced their descent to a native American woman, Pocahontas, who had been abducted and married by a member of the Jamestown colony three centuries before. This ancestry had been considered far from shameful. It was a mark of American aristocracy, the real-life Pocahontas having been reinvented (she probably did not save the life of a colonist called John Smith) as an “American princess”. To fix matters, a clause known as the “Pocahontas exception” was added to the racist law, to exempt anyone with no more than one-sixteenth Indian blood.

This episode, documented in a new exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, on Indian myths and reality, helps explain a cultural puzzle. It has become clear that the pre-Columbian Americas were much more densely populated, by more sophisticated civilisations, than was previously thought. By one estimate North America, the more sparsely populated continent, had 18m people when Columbus sailed, more than England and France combined. Yet in the popular imagination it remains a vast wilderness, peopled by a few buffalo-hunters. The reason for this gigantic misunderstanding, suggest the Smithsonian’s curators, goes beyond bad schooling…

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Indian Slavery Once Thrived in New Mexico. Latinos Are Finding Family Ties to It.

Posted in Articles, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United States on 2018-01-29 19:22Z by Steven

Indian Slavery Once Thrived in New Mexico. Latinos Are Finding Family Ties to It.

The New York Times
2018-01-28

Simon Romero


St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Abiquiú, N.M., a village settled by former Indian slaves, or Genízaros, in the 18th century.
Credit Adria Malcolm for The New York Times

ALBUQUERQUE — Lenny Trujillo made a startling discovery when he began researching his descent from one of New Mexico’s pioneering Hispanic families: One of his ancestors was a slave.

“I didn’t know about New Mexico’s slave trade, so I was just stunned,” said Mr. Trujillo, 66, a retired postal worker who lives in Los Angeles. “Then I discovered how slavery was a defining feature of my family’s history.”

Mr. Trujillo is one of many Latinos who are finding ancestral connections to a flourishing slave trade on the blood-soaked frontier now known as the American Southwest. Their captive forebears were Native Americans — slaves frequently known as Genízaros (pronounced heh-NEE-sah-ros) who were sold to Hispanic families when the region was under Spanish control from the 16th to 19th centuries. Many Indian slaves remained in bondage when Mexico and later the United States governed New Mexico.

The revelations have prompted some painful personal reckonings over identity and heritage. But they have also fueled a larger, politically charged debate on what it means to be Hispanic and Native American…

…Many Hispanic families in New Mexico have long known that they had indigenous ancestry, even though some here still call themselves “Spanish” to emphasize their Iberian ties and to differentiate themselves from the state’s 23 federally recognized tribes, as well as from Mexican and other Latin American immigrants.

But genetic testing is offering a glimpse into a more complex story. The DNA of Hispanic people from New Mexico is often in the range of 30 to 40 percent Native American, according to Miguel A. Tórrez, 42, a research technologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and one of New Mexico’s most prominent genealogists.

…“I have Navajo, Chippewa, Greek and Spanish blood lines,” said Mr. Tórrez, who calls himself a mestizo, a term referring to mixed ancestry. “I can’t say I’m indigenous any more than I can say I’m Greek, but it’s both fascinating and disturbing to see how various cultures came together in New Mexico.”…

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Elizabeth Warren’s Native American problem goes beyond politics

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States on 2018-01-22 01:21Z by Steven

Elizabeth Warren’s Native American problem goes beyond politics

The Boston Globe
2018-01-19

Annie Linskey, Chief national correspondent


Keith Bedford/Globe Staff
Senator Elizabeth Warren says now, as she has from the first days of her public life, that she based her assertions about her heritage on her reasonable trust in what she was told about her ancestry as a child.

WASHINGTON — There’s a ghost haunting Elizabeth Warren as she ramps up for a possible 2020 presidential bid and a reelection campaign in Massachusetts this year: her enduring and undocumented claims of Native American ancestry.

Warren says now, as she has from the first days of her public life, that she based her assertions on family lore, on her reasonable trust in what she was told about her ancestry as a child.

“I know who I am,” she said in a recent interview with the Globe.

But that self-awareness may not be enough, as her political ambitions blossom. She’s taken flak from the right for years as a “fake Indian,” including taunts from President Trump, who derisively calls her “Pocahontas.’’ That clamor from the right will only grow with her increasing prominence…

…Warren’s family has ties to Oklahoma dating from the end of the 19th century — before it was a state. Oklahoma is now home to more than 35 federally recognized tribes, and it’s common for people there to claim Native American ancestry, often based on little more than family mythology. That’s partially because there is, for some, a certain mystique in popular culture associated with American Indian ties and many families liked to include those ties in their lore.

But claiming Native blood without evidence cuts to the very core of Native American identity because it usurps the rights American Indians have to define their own people and nations, according to native advocates.

“The problem with Elizabeth Warren is she is not the average wannabe,” said David Cornsilk, a Cherokee historian and genealogist. “She is an academic. She has a higher level of aptitude to examine these issues. And a higher responsibility to examine them, and accept the research that is done, or to counter it with alternative research.”…

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Who Can Call Themselves Métis?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2018-01-03 04:36Z by Steven

Who Can Call Themselves Métis?

The Walrus
2017-12-29

Chris Andersen, Dean of the Faculty of Native Studies
University of Alberta


iStock / selimaksan

With the latest census surge in the Métis population, it’s time to start talking about how we define the term

The Métis are an Indigenous people that originated in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century on the northern plains of what is now southern Manitoba. Centred historically in and around Red River (now Winnipeg) and intimately tied to the buffalo-hunting economy, the Métis became a powerful force by the middle of the nineteenth century, pushing back against the Hudson’s Bay Company’s claims to economic monopoly and later leading two armed resistances against the Canadian state. Despite this powerful historic presence and the fact that the 1982 Constitution Act enumerated the Métis, along with First Nations and Inuit, as one of three Aboriginal peoples in Canada, the term has, in recent years, largely fallen into racialized disrepute.

Today, many people understand “Métis” not as an Indigenous nation but as denoting people with a mixture of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ancestry. The Government of Canada has used the term in this manner in multiple policy contexts. Inconsistent usage of Métis has produced confusing and even contradictory results in the heart of some of Canada’s most powerful institutions, including the census. This has exacerbated an already-confusing state of affairs in the minds of the general public and many policy actors about who the Métis people are and the kinds of relationships with government to which we aspire…

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Why calling Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ is a slur against all mixed-race Americans

Posted in Arts, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2017-11-29 21:43Z by Steven

Why calling Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ is a slur against all mixed-race Americans

The Washington Post
2017-11-29

Martha S. Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland


Elizabeth Warren’s embrace of her mixed-race ancestry has become a political weapon in the hands of her opponents. (AP)

It’s part of the long history of erasing people of mixed heritage.

President Trump’s assault on Sen. Elizabeth Warren descended to a new low Monday. Calling the Massachusetts leader “Pocahontas” during a ceremony honoring Native American code-talker veterans, Trump not only slurred Warren — he slurred all American families whose histories include ancestors of differing races.

By now Warren’s story is familiar. When registering with the American Association of Law Schools between 1986 and 1995, she checked an “Indian” box to describe her ancestry. When pressed by critics who questioned her background, Warren explained that she was “proud” of her Native heritage as passed down to her by stories told by her parents and grandparents.

Critics accuse Warren of leveraging her “minority” status to snag a job at Harvard Law School in 1992. Others charge that Warren’s self-identification was strategic and, even worse, illegitimate. How, they ask, could a woman who is by her own telling no more than 1/32 Native American claim to be anything other than white?

The answer is that Warren, like millions of other Americans, is mixed-race, and percentages shouldn’t matter when we consider such ancestry…

Read the entire article here.

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