I Love You, Great Grandmother Francis!
~ Color doesn't matter. Family loyalty does. ~
It's funny how a simple topic can turn into a full fledged discussion on race relations, or maybe I'm taking it there.
I am Seminole Native American/African American; my Great Grandmother, Francis Williams,was full blood Seminole Native American.
Color was an issue within her family; when she married a 'Negro' she was disowned by her parents.
I used to frequent Myspace, and only go there to play Yoville now and then. Sometimes I read through comments made. A group of guys known to many as Haida Hippies made the comment that color wasn't an issue among the Cherokee Native American people, and it ruffled my feathers, so to speak.
I read and often and because I do, I know that the Cherokee tribe owned African slaves until the Treaty of 1866, whereby it was ruled there would be no continuance of slavery in these nations. All Freedmen were granted full Cherokee rights.
Now the struggle continues for these Freedmen (later freed enslaved Africans), in that what included them as Cherokee members of the nations, disallows this connection due to the Dawes Rolls. These rolls designated the degree of Cherokee blood among the nations' members, going so far as to include Delaware Native Americans not even related to the Cherokee.
It is said these days, 'He who controls the media, controls the mind'.
Though 'media' was not to the degree we have it today, the Cherokee adopted 'White Man' ways. In this instance, it was required that a Certificate of Indian Blood be obtained in order that Native American of Cherokee lineage prove this heritage; much like a requirement that enslaved Africans, often hired out to other plantations for gain by their masters and who traveled for any reason with the permission of their slave owner, had to have proper papers proving their right to be off the original plantation.
I write all of this to say I agree that color doesn't make a difference. Yet, to put it out there that you are so much a percentage of Native American blood lineage is to pose the stance of racism, no matter if that is not where you are coming from. Don't 'Do The Math' ~ ~ my Grandmother Sarah says if Native American blood runs through you, you are Native American, 100%. No way around it.
Color doesn't matter, family loyalty does. For me, that realization came almost too late.
For many years, I did not know who my Great Grandmother was. She lived in my Grandmother Sarah's house for many years. Summer would see me at Grandma Sarah's house in the Bronx, playing 'down the lane' and in the ramp behind her many roomed apartment.
My Great Grandmother to me was a 'White woman' who was mean to me, bossed me around, and spanked me when I was bad. I couldn't stand her. Years later when I told my memories of her to my family, they were surprised to know I didn't know how I was related to her. When I told them I was never told, they said I was. Yet, I don't remember this.
For many years, because I didn't know my Great Grandmother Francis, I greatly disliked white people. Because I thought she was some White woman bossing me around, I learned to stereotype and all White people were mean, the reason why Black people couldn't get ahead. Until I visited her just before her death, I didn't realize how much I loved her, or how much she loved me. I felt ashamed for many years that I didn't know she was my Great Grandmother.
I believe today it is important for a child to know the family members in her life.
So color doesn't matter.
What matters is that I am the descendant of a Seminole Native American woman. A proud woman who worked hard to raise her family while dealing with the grief that came with being in an interracial marriage in a world that accepted neither the Native American, nor the Negro during that time.
I am 100% Seminole Native American because no man's laws, neither White, or Native American can say her blood does not run through me. The 3/5ths Compromise no longer exists, and I represent.
Shout Out To The Seminole Native American!
R.I.P. Great Grandmother Francis! I love you!
Copyright © 2010 Satice James, All Rights Reserved