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Now What? Tribal Ties
6/12/2014
Deciphering American Indian heritage possibilities
Q: I know Native American tribes in the South were moved to Oklahoma. Could I still have Native American ancestors even if they weren't moved?

A. There's plenty of American history that we didn't get taught in school — such as how racially mixed our society has actually been. Many mixed-blood families didn't leave as Native Americans were pushed west. Some families, neither "white" nor "black," evolved into a third community, while others blended into one, the other or both populations.

Mixed-blood families today are common throughout the eastern United States, though many have forgotten their heritage as it was never talked about except perhaps as a legend. Remember, only recently has being of Native American descent been accepted and even sought after. In the Midwest the Scotch-Irish and the French make up the largest intermarriage group among Native American tribes. In the mid-South the Scotch-Irish, English, Scots and Welsh intermarried to such a degree that almost all traces of Native American ancestry have been lost as families "passed for white." Families that could not "pass" would either intermarry among each other or often became merged into African-American families.

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