Sanctuaries, Southern Borders, Presidents, Generals…

In today’s political climate, many are appalled at what’s going on in our government. People feel, rightly so, that things have gotten out of control and that politicians are running lawless and making up government positions for their cronies. But it is not unusual for presidents to customize their staff and nor is it unusual in other government departments. In 1824, John C. Calhoun was the Secretary of War. In March of that year, he created The Bureau of Indian Affairs. He created it as an agency and made it a division of his war department. He did this without approval from Congress.

Seven years earlier, tensions were growing between the Seminole Indians and white colonists along the border of Florida and Georgia. The Seminoles were providing sanctuary for runaway slaves. This tension along the southern border gave Secretary of War Calhoun, President James Monroe and General Andrew Jackson, what they felt was justification for war that resulted in the taking of land from the Seminole. Today it’s sanctuary cities and building a southern wall. It’s true what they say, history repeats itself. Again and again.

Ever wonder if you have Native American ancestry? It’s not an easy route, tracing American Indian ancestry. But there are things you can try. But first, you need to know where to look and what not to waste time on. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105 and Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns, http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

 

 

Native American Ancestry? Five Tribes… Five Nations… What’s the Difference?

Don’t get the Five Nations mixed up with the Five Civilized Tribes. The Five Nations had five tribes in it, until they had six. (The Tuscororas came later, in the early 1700’s.) Before that, the Five Nations were the Mohawks, Oneidas, Cayugas, Ohondaga and Senecas. They formed the Iroquois Indian Nation. The Five Nations means the Iroquois.

The Five Civilized Tribes were nations until Congress terminated their governments in 1907. They consisted of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole tribes. They were driven out of their homelands and “settled” in Oklahoma where today you will find many of their descendants. By the early 1900’s, the government saw them as willing to assimilate into white civilization. History shows us that the tribes put up great resistance but by the early 1900’s, they had suffered such a severe genocide, they had no other choice.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

Native American Genealogy…Sometimes a Photo is all We Have

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IVGenealogy websites are swarming with people whose oral history describes the Native Americans in their family tree. When the government relocated the Indians, families were scrambling to both hold on to their land and hide that they were part Indian. Imagine, standing in the shadows of the trees that graced your land and looking at the color of the skin on the back of your hand wondering, “Will they take us away?”

If our vulnerable ancestors were clever (and lucky) they blended in with European settlers who were so busy surviving, they didn’t have time to pry. Or were kind and kept their mouths shut.

Picture the ancestors throwing documents into the fire, or beloved keepsakes, anything that would expose them as Indian. Fast forward to today. We would give anything to see a document that proves that our ancestors were Indian as the family oral history professes. But there comes a time when we must accept that those documents may never be found, because they do not exist. Maybe they never did.

Some families are fortunate to have photos of their ancestors. Many of us do not, especially since photography didn’t hit mainstream America until the Civil War era. By that time, Grandpa was only one-quarter Indian. Wouldn’t we love to see a photograph of his parents or his grandparents, one of whom was entirely Indian? DNA may tell us more about our family genetics but in the end, sometimes all we have are old photos to stare at, as the oral history plays in our mind.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

Mixed-Blood Ancestors… Scots-Irish Indentured Servants and Black Slaves

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IVThose of us who search through Scots-Irish genealogical records eventually find that there was intermarrying between black slaves (or black indentured servants) and white indentured servants. In the late 1700s, a family of Indians still held a piece of Indian land. After the men died, the Indian women mixed with black slaves. When they sought title for the land, they were denied because the families remaining had more black than Indian blood and the authorities did not believe they deserved title to Indian land. When stories of oppression reached the ears of other mixed-blood families, they began referring to themselves as Black Dutch, Black German or Black Irish. I don’t know if that would have helped them retain their Indian lands but it may have helped protect against harassment. There was a vast difference between the future opportunities available to white indentured servants and those available to black slaves (if there were any). For those of us seeking the origins of our ancestors, these issues should be considered.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

Native American Genealogy… Seeking Our Ancestors

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV

Chief Red Cloud of the Sioux Indian tribe is remembered by these words:

“The White Man made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they only kept one. They promised to take our land, and they took it.”

Humans always strike out for new lands, encroaching on those who were there before them. In what the Europeans called, Manifest Destiny, they swept across the continent and settled from the east coast to the west. In the earliest days of contact, as those of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Indians were friendly but as the new settlers began staking claims on Indian lands, threatening their way of life and their survival, wars ensued. It’s a complex situation, those of us who are descendants of European settlers and have some Native American ancestry. Because of past prejudices toward being “Indian,” our Native ancestors are hidden in our family trees.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

Do Native Americans Believe in God? Can You Believe Someone Even Asked That?

Lately, the question was asked, “Do Native Americans believe in God?” As someone who has studied Native American culture, lived in communities with Native Americans and have a little Indian ancestry myself, I can assure you that yes, it is common for Native Americans to believe in God. Not only do America’s churches have Native Americans in their congregations, but most of America’s Indian tribes throughout history have had strong “spiritual” components. However, Native Americans didn’t (and often still don’t) believe in God the same way as Europeans who colonized the New World. Native American spiritual beliefs are so sacred and diverse I wouldn’t attempt to explain them, at least not today. Their spiritual beliefs were rooted in nature, and they did not go about proselytizing the way Colonial Europeans did. Many of America’s Indians believed that a person’s relationship to divinity was a private matter and were astonished at the “in your face” attitude of the European Christian newcomers. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV

Using Territories to Find the Tribe of Your Native American Ancestors

Some of us have Native American ancestry but it’s so far back in time, it’s nearly impossible to decipher what tribe they belonged to. First off, there were hundreds of tribes. However, wouldn’t it be nice to narrow it down to a maybe? If this is your desire, you must take into account Indian territories from old maps and match them with states. Not states as they are today but as they were during the Colonial era. For example, at one time, Virginia included Kentucky and West Virginia. By 1810, this part of the country had been colonized heavily and Indian lands had been “ceded.” Tribes with names like Shawnee, Lenni Lenape, Wyandot and Potawatomi who called that land home may have found themselves in Oklahoma by 1907. Before Tennessee was a state, North Carolina included that area, so Cherokee tribes in North Carolina could also mean Tennessee. Your Indian ancestors from Georgia could have been Creek, Chickasaw or Choctaw as Georgia in the early days of America, included some of Mississippi and Alabama.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV