Acorns Are the New Super Food? Tell That to the Ancients

I just read an article in a UK periodical that states that acorns are the new super food. People have long asked me about acorns for diabetics and there have been rumors of  a paranormal relationship between humans and acorns. We can thank Celtic Druids for that. Seriously. Acorns are not just food for the spirit, they’re food for the soul and have been for thousands, perhaps millions of years. Today, they’re being called super food, tomorrow they’ll be called delicious. But only if you remove the tannic acid and use a good recipe.

In the fall, people rake acorns and shovel them into the garbage. What a pity for both humans and wildlife that depend on them. Try telling the squirrels that you’re trashing their acorns. Or the birds that wait for you to drive over them. It would not surprise me to see a bird drop an acorn, right where the tire rolls.

Let’s remember woodland animals and ancient cultures, as we enter this year’s acorn harvest season. The acorn was and is… their sacred food. Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns,–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973 and Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees.

Native American Genealogy. Did Something Strange Just Happen?

This new world of genealogy is getting harder to explain. We’re now taking DNA tests and using new jargon like “populations” and “ethnicity calculators.” We use different terms for ethnicities, like Natufian, Baltic and Basal Eurasian. And the new concept that there are no ethnicities, only places where our ancestors went through different periods.

But I must try to explain how this new era offers opportunities for discovery. There’s a website called Gedmatch where those who took DNA tests, can upload their raw data. Once uploaded, thousands of other’s DNA “kits,” are available to analyze and compare with yours. Quite by accident, I’ve discovered that my husband and I share a tiny, tiny, tiny amount of DNA. Probably best described as, we found our tribal intersection.

How I discovered this point of intersection, was by using a Gedmatch “tool” that let me enter his and my kit numbers to see if anyone matches some DNA with BOTH of us. About forty or fifty people came up. This was a huge surprise. I was able to take the eight highest matches and analyze them. Having their kit numbers allowed me to run all ten of us through an ethnicity calculator and compare. I think what might unite us is ancestry from Southwest and or Eastern-Asia.

I tend to get giddy like a kid when I think I may have discovered something, so I emailed all eight of the matches. Only one person responded. She downplayed my discovery. “Too small” of a DNA match and since it was her son’s DNA and none of her other children appeared on the list of matches, she couldn’t get excited about it. So basically, she pretty much rejected my finding.

I persisted though and wrote her back stressing the Southwest and or Eastern-Asian connection. That got her attention. “Well maybe,” she said. “It could be a Native American connection. We have several Cree ancestors.” She went on to say that the DNA testing companies don’t have markers yet for the Cree. I have been looking for my husband’s French-Canadian-Native ancestry for decades and guess what tribe it’s supposed to be? That’s right… Cree.

It’s late Sunday night as I write this. Tomorrow, I’m going to pursue this further. I could say, “Oh, it’s probably nothing.” But nothing about genealogy is inconsequential. There’s an otherworldliness to genealogy. It’s downright spooky.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy VII – DNA, Jumping Into the Gene Pool. A High Tech Gathering of the Tribes. Available here:

Genealogy… Trying to Prove Native American Ancestry? Here’s a Clue

After England took North America from French control, the British wanted to establish new rules. In 1763, they thought it wise to separate the Indians from the colonists. They thought it necessary to draw up boundary lines. The problem was, the land the British wanted for the colonists was the Indians’ ancestral land. Their homeland. The British had taken control of the whole east coast, from Nova Scotia to West Florida. This is where you’ll find many of your colonial ancestors if they were in North America in 1763. When the Indians returned to their homeland, where the colonists were, the military descended upon them. However, when the tables were turned and the colonists encroached upon the new Indian Country, they got away with it. The whole thing was a bad deal for the Indians. When the colonists rebelled against the British and the Revolutionary War ensued, the majority of the Indians stood with the British against the colonists. They saw the rebel colonists as the enemy. If you’ve ever wondered why your ancestors sided with the British, it might be because they were early Native Americans. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Genealogy… Native American Ancestors from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin

To understand our ancestry from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan or Wisconsin, it’s important to understand the history of the area. Before there were states, there was what was called the Northwest Territory. (Not to be confused with Canada’s Northwest Territories.)

I don’t know about you, but if I’ve never been to a state, the first thing that pops into my mind when that state is mentioned, is an image of that state on a US map. That’s the opposite of what we should see if we’re trying to understand the paths our Native ancestors took.

Five states were created when the Northwest Territory was carved up. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. The region before the carving was located between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River. North of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River. It’s confusing when our ancestors lived in the Northwest Territory. And before 1787, they did. That’s the date that the region was divided into the five states. And with that area so close to Canadian territory, it might not be correct to call them Native Americans. They were Native people from a Native land. A land and a world far removed from who and what we are today. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Illinois Ancestry? Looking for the Tribe of Your Ancestors

Have you been told that you have Native American ancestry? Are your ancestors from Illinois? The Illinois Indians are all but gone but perhaps their DNA lives within you.

The Illinois Indians were not just one tribe but many who lived along the Illinois River. The main tribe was the Illiniwek, from which the state is named. History tells us they were “subdued” by the Iroquois in the 1500s. With this being the case, we might look to the Iroquois for clues.

The Illinois spoke Algonquin and although they cultivated crops, their lifestyle consisted of bison and deer hunting on the plains. As for the Iroquois, they tended to live communally in longhouses. The Algonquins made use of longhouses as administerial buildings but liked to live in wigwams.

In Northeastern Illinois, two rivers meet and form the Illinois River. The Kankakee and Des Plaines. By the mid-1770s, Kankakee County, Illinois was dominated by the Pottawatomi Indians. It was to Kankakee county that immigrating French-Canadians migrated from Quebec about 1834. Many were Metis (Native people who inter-married with the French). Sometimes these Metis Anglicized their names. Therrien became Taylor, Chartier became Carter or Sharkey. To study the history of Illinois is to study the history of the Northwest Territory. Genealogists will find all the different Native tribes a challenge. Leave it to us to take it on. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Native American Genealogy… The Exploitation of Our Ancestors Makes Them Hard to Find

We know about the Cherokee Trail of Tears. That was one of many. Indians are proud people. But I’ll tell you what, as much as our ancestors wanted to be honest about their Native American ethnicity, the truth is they kept safe by keeping quiet. Even after the killing stopped, European settlers looked down on the Indians. They didn’t understand the way that they lived harmoniously with nature. Many an Indian child was removed from their family and placed in boarding schools where they were taught to live like the Europeans who took their land. The prejudice against Indians was so strong, families with even low percentages of Native American ancestry must have felt very protective of their families and chose to keep it a secret. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

DNA Is One Way to Find Native American Ancestry But Not the Only Way

1607 sounds like a long time ago. It was. It’s the date that John Smith founded the first English colony that endured in the Americas. Jamestown, Virginia. It still stands. The original settlement attracts thousands of tourists every year. Yet Jamestown was founded, 625 years AFTER the Viking, Eric the Red, spent four years trying to colonize Greenland.

Europeans have had their eyes on the beauty and resources of the Americas for a very long time. They saw the Native people as a resource. It may come as a surprise to many Americans, when they take a DNA test, that they are the descendants of the Natives who inhabited the lands that the Europeans took. However, some people’s Native ancestry doesn’t show up in their DNA so they have to resort to other ways of sleuthing it out. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here: