It’s hard to get a good picture of Native American territory because governments were always pushing and pulling boundaries. One boundary of particular interest is the one between Canada and the United States. For the Native People, that must have been impossible to comprehend. When lines were drawn between these two countries, the Natives on one side lived on Canadian territory and those on the other side lived under the jurisdiction of the United States. Being that Indian life styles were nomadic, they continued to inhabit both countries as long as it was safe. Sometimes there is a “thin line” between American and Canadian Indians if there is any line at all.
As we seek answers to our genealogical questions, there are few or none. But we can imagine can’t we? If you believe your ancestors were Plains Indians, a broad term for many different tribes, Father Lacombe has left behind some colorful descriptions of the people he grew to love and respect.
“He watched with interest as the men rode up, wearing skin shields on their arms, full quivers at their sides, eagle feathers in their hair, and startling bright paint on their half-naked bodies. Squaws and children, yelping dogs and clanging iron kettles added color and noise. Ponies drew the travois, or Indian wagons, formed of crossed poles on which was piled the camp equipment. While the men traded their furs and skins for the things they wanted, the squaws put up the lodges and made the camp.” BLACK ROBE AND WHITE HEART, The Book of Knowledge, Vol 10, pg. 3467, The Grolier Society Inc., 1956.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:
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