Americans know that traditional Indian lands were taken to accommodate newly arriving European’s hunger for land. The Indians, out-numbered and out-gunned, were pushed by the U.S. government from place to place. Everyone has heard of the “Trail of Tears,” but those who study American Indian history know… there were many trails of tears.
Fast forward a couple hundred years. Look around you. If you look deeply enough you’ll see remnants of the lost tribes in the faces of many American people. Over the years, the American government has made reparations to Native People. Some would say a little… too late. Others line up to receive it. Why not? If it hadn’t been taken from their families in the first place, today they would have more resources and assets. But who should line up to take those reparations in the form of health care and college tuition supplements, be they ever so meager? What a loaded question. Wow. You can find these discussions on Native genealogical message boards and website forums across the Internet. Before you worry about whether you deserve any compensation for your rightful inheritance, it’s best to see if you can prove your American Indian ancestry. It’s not as easy as you think.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:
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