That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia by Arica L. Coleman (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Virginia on 2015-05-19 01:21Z by Steven

That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia by Arica L. Coleman (review)

Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Volume 46, Number 1, Summer 2015
pages 126-127

Kirt von Daacke, Professor of History
University of Virginia

Coleman, Arica L., That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013)

This provocative new study engages history, anthropology, ethnic studies, and English literature as it charts “the history and legacy of Virginia’s effort to maintain racial purity and the consequences of this almost four hundred-year effort for African American–Native American relations and kinship bonds” (xv). The first four chapters attempt to set the 400-year history of Native American–black interaction in the context of the development of a racist ideology privileging white over black. The final three chapters conduct three case studies of twentieth- and twenty-first century events “regarding the social interactions of Black–Indian peoples and the ways in which Virginia Indians of African descent negotiate[d] the complex terrain of race and identity” (15).

Coleman’s interdisciplinary approach provides distinctly uneven results. She never convincingly connects that pre-1865 history with the ugly period after the passage of the Racial Integrity Act in 1924. The problems arise early. For example, Coleman claims that free people of color from the West Indies emigrated to Virginia in the wake of the start of the Haitian Revolution, but she offers no evidence other than a single citation in a secondary source about a white Virginian’s complaint that slaves became more restive after interacting with the slaves of white Haitian refugees (32). How can Armstrong Archer’s 1844 antislavery pamphlet, containing second-hand recollections about his father’s experiences in the eighteenth century, provide any sort of “exceptional insights into seventeenth century Indian–White relations from the perspective of the indigenous population” (36)? Coleman also rather uncritically accepts Archer’s pamphlet as the voice of a person who self-identified first as a Native American (36).

The second chapter focuses on the “changing state of Black–Indian relations in the nineteenth century,” using Omi and Winant’s post–Civil Rights era racial-formation theory as the foundation for its argument (64). Coleman never addresses why a theoretical model explaining the process of racial formation in the late twentieth century remains an appropriate model for understanding events of the nineteenth century. This chapter is also built upon a thin evidentiary base. It may well be that “Indians continued to be bought and sold” in Virginia after 1682, but interpreting a handful of notices stating that a runaway slave “ha[d] much the look of an Indian,” that another was “attempting to inveigle away a number of negroes to the new or Indian country,” or that yet another “had on him a new Indian blanket” as clear evidence of Native Americans on the slave market remains unconvincing (75–76). Coleman cites only five judicial cases from 1772 to 1827 in arguing that in the nineteenth century, “It became increasingly difficult to sue for freedom using the American Indian ancestress defense” (77). Furthermore, citing only two Works Progress Administration interviews from a single state remains insufficient proof that “numerous slave narratives bear witness to American Indian slavery” (79).

That weak evidentiary base resurfaces frequently when Coleman references pre-1900 Virginia or when in the midst of a provocative condemnation of the Virginia Council on Indians (VCI). For example, free people of color may have often noted Indian ancestry in claiming free status, but this assertion goes completely uncited (192). Later, Coleman asserts that Nottoway tribal members in 2007 “were well aware of the VCI’s unwritten criteria of racial purity,” but she provides no compelling evidence of the unwritten criteria and no evidence about what the Nottoway tribe might have known (219).

Despite these flaws, That the Blood Stay Pure represents a bold attempt to re-conceptualize how we think about Native American racial identity in the context of both a four-century history of racism and the modern era of tribal recognition and identity politics…

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The Challenge of Mixed-Blood Nations

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-05-13 22:06Z by Steven

The Challenge of Mixed-Blood Nations

Indian Country Today Media Network

Duane Champagne, Professor of Sociology and American Indian Studies; Professor of Law
University of California, Los Angeles

Countries with indigenous nations usually also have mixed-blood nations composed of people of indigenous descent and other nations or races. In an increasingly shrinking world where ethnicity is a quantity in flux, it is sometimes difficult to get a handle on how they relate to one another. The two groups would seem to be natural allies. But the reality isn’t that simple.

To begin with, much depends on the relations of the mixed bloods to the larger nation state. Take Canada, where the mixed-blood community is called Métis, a French word meaning—well, mixed blood. The Métis historically have had friendly relations with Indian communities. But currently they claim their own history and culture, a hybrid of European and indigenous community. Some Métis identify and live with tribal communities, while others do not. These separatists believe themselves to be a distinct nation or ethnic group from the indigenous nations and from Canada. Métis communities in Canada have separate land claims and negotiations with the Canadian government.

Meanwhile, in Latin and South America, as well as in Africa, people of mixed blood usually do not strongly identify with indigenous nations. They tend to reject indigenous ways in favor of national culture. Mestizos, for instance, are persons of indigenous ancestry who have taken up national culture and do not live in or engage with members of indigenous tribal communities.

This disengagement, in fact, can be quite vehement. Mestizo nations like Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and many others segregate their indigenous communities and maintain hostile and repressive political and cultural relations over indigenous nations. As for assimilated Mestizos, they can generally be relied on to embrace the values and lifestyles of modern market economies and broad national culture while openly rejecting their indigenous counterparts.

In the United States, the situation is particularly complex because there is no official designation of a mixed-blood nation…

Read the entire article here.

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The Life of William Apess, Pequot

Posted in Biography, Books, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United States on 2015-04-16 22:53Z by Steven

The Life of William Apess, Pequot

University of North Carolina Press
March 2015
216 pages
1 halftone, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-1998-9

Philip F. Gura, William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The Pequot Indian intellectual, author, and itinerant preacher William Apess (1798–1839) was one the most important voices of the nineteenth century. Here, Philip F. Gura offers the first book-length chronicle of Apess’s fascinating and consequential life. After an impoverished childhood marked by abuse, Apess soldiered with American troops during the War of 1812, converted to Methodism, and rose to fame as a lecturer who lifted a powerful voice of protest against the plight of Native Americans in New England and beyond. His 1829 autobiography, A Son of the Forest, stands as the first published by a Native American writer. Placing Apess’s activism on behalf of Native American people in the context of the era’s rising tide of abolitionism, Gura argues that this founding figure of Native intellectual history deserves greater recognition in the pantheon of antebellum reformers. Following Apess from his early life through the development of his political radicalism to his tragic early death and enduring legacy, this much-needed biography showcases the accomplishments of an extraordinary Native American.

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Mashpee Musician Produces Documentary About Native, African Music

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-04-10 20:20Z by Steven

Mashpee Musician Produces Documentary About Native, African Music
Falmouth, Massachusetts

Sam Houghton

Morgan J. Peters, a Mashpee troubadour in Afro-Native-American-inspired music, with his band the Groovalottos, is on his way to producing a full-length album as well as a documentary. The “mini-film” will explore the combination of black and Native American music and how their blend gave rise to traditional and contemporary blues and funk.

The film, Mr. Peters said, will be the first of its kind. While there have been several films about folk music, mostly Euro-American, he said none have been produced exploring the “Black Indian” music experience.

Mr. Peters said that traditional Native American music has influenced such musicians as James Brown as well as contemporary and traditional blues music…

Read the entire article here.

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How one man has made a mark on history in northeast N.C.

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2015-04-07 01:21Z by Steven

How one man has made a mark on history in northeast N.C.

The Outer Banks Voice

Ed Beckley

Marvin T. Jones has a passion for local heritage and is responsible for a half dozen historical markers in the area.

Our region’s rich history is brought to the fore each time someone who passes a historical marker on the side of the road, stops, reads and ponders. But who dreams up these visual reminders of our times gone by and makes them appear before our eyes?

They’re people such as Marvin T. Jones, who grew up in rural Hertford County, “taking much notice of them (as a small boy) and pleased when my first school, C.S. Brown, received one in the 1980’s.”

Jones has a passion for local heritage and is responsible for a half dozen historical markers in the area, including The Roanoke Island Freedmen’s Colony, the Algonquian Village of Dasemunkepeuc in Dare County and four others inland.

The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program reports more than 1,400 markers in place in the state since 1936. Twenty-five are in Dare County. They are not only a tribute to the places and patriots of the past, but to the people who work to place them for posterity. Jones is squarely in that category…

…He has a rich diverse racial background, as is the case of so many others in that area. It was his mother’s mention of her ancestor, a Chowanoke Native-American leader, which impelled him to research the area’s history all the way back to the first English colonists in 1584. Jones is a mix of mostly Chowanoke, Tuscarora, European and African descent, with roots as far away as India…

Read the entire article here.

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Mestizaje and Globalization: Transformations of Identity and Power

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-04-06 00:28Z by Steven

Mestizaje and Globalization: Transformations of Identity and Power

University of Arizona Press
264 pages
10 photos, 3 illlustrations, 5 tables
6.00 x 9.00
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8165-3090-8

Stefanie Wickstrom, Senior Lecturer of Political Science
Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington

Philip D. Young (1936-2013), Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
University of Oregon

The Spanish word mestizaje does not easily translate into English. Its meaning and significance have been debated for centuries since colonization by European powers began. Its simplest definition is “mixing.” As long as the term has been employed, norms and ideas about racial and cultural relations in the Americas have been imagined, imposed, questioned, rejected, and given new meaning.

Mestizaje and Globalization presents perspectives on the underlying transformation of identity and power associated with the term during times of great change in the Americas. The volume offers a comprehensive and empirically diverse collection of insights concerning mestizaje’s complex relationship with indigeneity, the politics of ethnic identity, transnational social movements, the aesthetic of cultural production, development policies, and capitalist globalization, with particular attention to cases in Latin America and the United States.

Beyond the narrow and often inadequate meaning of mestizaje as biological and racial mixing, the concept deserves an innovative theoretical consideration due to its multidimensional, multifaceted character and its resilience as an ideological construct. The contributors argue that historical analyses of mestizaje do not sufficiently understand contemporary ways that racism, ethnic discrimination, and social injustice intermingle with current discourse and practice of cultural recognition and multiculturalism in the Americas.

Mestizaje and Globalization contributes to an emerging multidisciplinary effort to explore how identities are imposed, negotiated, and reconstructed. The chapter authors clearly set forth the issues and obstacles that indigenous peoples and subjugated minorities face, as well as the strategies they have employed to gain empowerment in the face of globalization.

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Scholar’s debut novel ties black, Native-American history

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-03-22 18:43Z by Steven

Scholar’s debut novel ties black, Native-American history

The Detroit Free Press

Cassandra Spratling

Tiya Miles got it honest.

Straight from her grandmother’s garden. That knack for telling stories that pull at your heartstrings.

“I’m one of those people who had a storytelling grandma,” says Miles. “We’d be in the garden or snapping peas on the porch and my grandma would be telling stories, about life in Mississippi, about how the family lost their farm to a white man, about how they came up North on a train. Those stories riveted me and they shaped me.

“If my grandmother had had my life, she would have won three MacArthur Fellowships,” Miles says of her grandmother, the late Alice King.

But it was Miles, 45, who was granted a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2011, and it was that award that gave her the shot of confidence she needed to up her game and write her first novel, which will be released next month.

Friends and coworkers at the University of Michigan are hosting a book launch party for “the Cherokee Rose” (John F. Blair, $26.95) Tuesday…

…Not that she doesn’t greatly appreciate the fellowship that annually doles out a ton of money to selected people in a variety of areas so that they can pursue their areas of interest, unencumbered by money woes.

Without it, she doubts she would have completed “the Cherokee Rose,” a novel that uses three modern day women to take readers on a haunting, sometimes horrific, but redemptive journey to a little-known past on a Southern plantation where Native-American and African-American lives were intertwined. In the process, the women make unexpected connections to one another and others…

Read the entire article here.

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The Cherokee Rose: A Novel Of Gardens & Ghosts

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-03-22 18:31Z by Steven

The Cherokee Rose: A Novel Of Gardens & Ghosts

John F. Blair
264 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-89587-635-5

Tiya Miles, Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor of African American Women’s History
University of Michigan

Written by an award-winning historian and recipient of a recent MacArthur “Genius Grant,” The Cherokee Rose explores territory reminiscent of the bestselling and beloved works of Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and Louise Erdrich. Now, Tiya Miles’s luminous but highly accessible novel examines a little-known aspect of America’s past—slaveholding by Southern Creeks and Cherokees—and its legacy in the lives of three young women who are drawn to the Georgia plantation where scenes of extreme cruelty and equally extraordinary compassion once played out.

Based on the author’s in-depth and award-winning research into archival sources at the Chief Vann House Historic Site in Chatsworth, Georgia, and the Moravian mission sponsored there in the early 1800s, Miles has blended this fascinating history with a contemporary cast of engaging and memorable characters, including Jinx, the free-spirited historian exploring her tribe’s complicated racial history; Ruth, whose mother sought refuge from a troubled marriage in her beloved garden and the cosmetic empire she built from its bounty; Cheyenne, the Southern black debutante seeking to connect with a meaningful personal history; and, hovering above them all, the spirit of long-gone Mary Ann Battis, a young woman suspected of burning a mission to the ground and then disappearing from tribal records. Together, the women’s discoveries about the secrets of the Cherokee plantation trace their attempts to connect with the strong spirits of the past and reconcile the conflicts in their own lives.

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Blood Quantum – Why it Matters, and Why it Shouldn’t

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-03-03 15:03Z by Steven

Blood Quantum – Why it Matters, and Why it Shouldn’t

All Things Cherokee

Christina Berry

“You’re an Indian? What part?”

That’s the universal question many mixed-blood American Indians are asked every day. How many times have you mentioned in passing that you are Cherokee to find your conversation interrupted by intrusive questions about percentage? How many times have you answered those questions? Well stop! That’s right — stop answering rude questions.

Have you ever been talking to someone who mentioned that they were part Hispanic, part African-American, part Jewish, part Italian, part Korean, etc.? Have you ever asked them what percentage? Hopefully your answer is no, because if your answer is yes, then you’re rude. It would be rude to ask someone what part Hispanic they are, but we accept that people can ask us what part Cherokee we are. This is a double standard brought about by our collective history as American Indians, and is one we should no longer tolerate…

Read the entire article here.

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Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band 2015 Conference

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-03-02 01:51Z by Steven

Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band 2015 Conference

Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band
Moore, Oklahoma

Rhonda Kay Grayson

For Immediate Release

Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band
P.O. Box 6366
Moore, OK, 73135

The Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band is thrilled to announce its 2015 conference. The conference theme is “Africans and Indians: Eating from the same pot, Generations of shared culture, traditions, language, food and music”. The conference will be held at Langston University, (OKC-Campus) 4205 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, May 29-30, 2015. The two day conference will focus on the history and plight of the African Indian Freedmen from all Five Tribes of Oklahoma, Indian Territory (Creek, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Seminole). Activities and presentations will include genealogy workshops; a Mvskoke language workshop; a presentation by the renowned Storyteller, Wallace Moore; presentations by scholars, lecturers, and attorneys; a panel discussion; and a presentation by the Urban League ‘Young Professionals.’ In addition, a special viewing of the MCIFB’s documentary “Bloodlines” will be shown at the historic Paramount Theater, centrally located in downtown OKC, only minutes away from the historic Deep Deuce and Bricktown district.

Who should attend?

Scholars, History Buffs, Genealogy Societies, Genealogists, Family Historians, Beginner, intermediate, or experienced researchers, Hobbyists, Students, The descendants of Black Indians, the general public, and anyone interested in learning more about the unique history of the Black Indians…

For more information, click here.

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