Many African American have used the term “I have Indian in my family’ at some point in our lives. The truth is there are many African Native American’s although the count isn’t as high as one would assume Black Indians do exist.
According to my mother my Grandmother was part Blackfoot and part African American. She was born in Savanna GA to a Native American mother and African father. In honor of Native American Heritage month I had a do a little research on African Native Americans and found a great site. Created by Eve Winddancer a student at a CUNY school in 1999. The site provided extensive amount of information of which I’d like to share.
Please be sure to visit the site and learn more; African Native Americans: We are still here
Many people believe racial and ethnic groups in North America have always lived as separately as they do now. However, segregation was neither practical nor preferable when people who were not native to this continent began arriving here. Europeans needed Indians as guides, trade partners and military allies. They needed Africans to tend their crops and to build an infrastructure.
Later, as the new American government began to thrive, laws were drafted to protect the land and property the colonists had acquired. These laws strengthened the powers of slave owners, limited the rights of free Africans and barred most Indian rights altogether. Today, black, white and red Americans still feel the aftershock of those laws.
In order to enforce the new laws, Indians and Africans had to be distinguished from Europeans. Government census takers began visiting Indian communities east of the Mississippi River in the late 1700s and continued their task of identifying, categorizing, and counting individuals and “tribes” well into the 20th century. In the earlier days of this process, Native American communities that were found to be harboring escaped African slaves were threatened with loss of their tribal status, thereby nullifying their treaties with the U.S. government and relinquishing all claims to their land.