It’s easy to speculate which Europeans were the worst at devastating Native life and culture in North America. There’s a lot of blame to go around. According to Carl Waldman, in his excellent book, “The North American Indian,” the English “throughout their tenure in North America showed only minimal respect for the Indian way of life and right to occupancy of ancestral lands.” And he says that in 1664, the “Quakers … had the most enlightened policy.”
It becomes confusing for those of us with both English (and French, Dutch, German, Jewish, etc.) and Native ancestry, because like I said, there’s a lot of blame to go around. It is impossible to put politics aside when researching Native American ancestry. It just can’t be done. It was the politics of the Europeans and the Europeans themselves who gave us the question; who were my Native American ancestors and how can I find them? We must weave through the bureaucracies of Colonial military and Indian affairs to find documents relating to our great-greats. But in order to stay focused, we must keep our eyes on the project and comb through old records and look at old Indian Country maps and yes… the Indian wars and relocations. I can’t say it’s pleasant but imagine your delight if you find that illusive Native American ancestor and you can tell the family a new story belongs in the family history book.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:
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