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Calling all Blackfoot Cherokee

Calling all Blackfoot Cherokee

Posted: 27 Oct 2003 5:58AM GMT
Classification: Query
Rootsweb won't let me start a board for Blackfoot Cherokee, so I'm posting this message on every board with messages about them. Thousands of people from Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, and elsewhere have heard from their families that they are "Blackfoot" or "Blackfoot Cherokee." These are undoubtedly not related to the Blackfeet of the Northern Plains. But nobody seems to know who they were or where they came from. If your ancestors are from any of these states, or anywhere but the Northern Plains, and you've heard the same story from your elders, please contact me with what you know about your Blackfoot heritage at <swprod@sonic.net>. I want to collect as much data as I can and try to figure out who they were.

Jim

Re: Calling all Blackfoot Cherokee

Posted: 27 Oct 2003 2:05PM GMT
Classification: Query
I hate to bear bad news, but there never has been a nation of Indians called Blackfoot Cherokees. There have been people of mixed ancestries who called themselves "Blackfoot", or "Blackfoot _____" (fill in an Indian tribal name).

In current genealogical circles, these people are coming to be called Melungeon - which refers to a broad mixture of ancestries including Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, African, and PERHAPS American Indian.

The name of the American Indian tribe whose name is confusedly used here is BlackFEET, a people indigenous to Canada, but with tribal presence in the U.S. generally in the northern Rockies or Great Plains.

I for one support RootsWeb staff's decision to not allow such the creation of a "Blackfoot Cherokee" board.

Try google.com looking for "melungeon". You'll likely find some helpful information.

Re: Calling all Blackfoot Cherokee

Posted: 27 Oct 2003 2:37PM GMT
Classification: Query
I'll post the same reply I gave to the same message to sent to the Cherokee-Arkansas board, with the additional point that there's no need to suggest a confusion of "Blackfoot" with "Blackfeet." The fact that there are Austrians doesn't mean there are no Australians.

Well, you may not want to believe it for some reason, but the FACT that thousands of people have oral family histories reporting "Blackfoot" Native American ancestors suggests a high probability that many of them have a common origin, probably a band rather than a nation. Just since posting my original message I've learned that many of the Saponi tribe/nation called themselves Blackfoot and lived in the regions where Blackfoot descendents have their roots.

Maybe if you had a family history of Blackfoot ancestors you'd consider it a topic worthy of serious investigation, which a Blackfoot board could facilitate.

Re: Calling all Blackfoot Cherokee

Posted: 27 Oct 2003 3:07PM GMT
Classification: Query
I support the decision of RootsWeb staff to disallow a board calling itself "Blackfoot Cherokee" because there never has been a Cherokee Nation/Tribe/Band/or Clan which called itself or was known as Blackfoot.

The Saponi may have referred to themselves as Blackfoot, but that has nothing to do with the false concept of "Blackfoot Cherokee".

Also, the fact that thousands of people "call" themselves American Indians - of any tribe - without one shred of evidence - doesn't mean they are American Indians. And just because "thousands" call themselves Blackfoot Indians doesn't make it so.

My interest in is preserving an accurate history and genealogy of Cherokee people, which in my opinion, RootsWeb has done with this decision.

Re: Calling all Blackfoot Cherokee

Posted: 27 Oct 2003 4:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
I can't argue with your claim to know about every band of Cherokee that ever was. But if people from Virginia and Georgia to Missouri and Arkansas have the same oral history of a "Blackfoot" or "Blackfoot Cherokee" ancestor, from a time when it would be considered wiser to conceal a connection, it's a story worthy of investigation, not dogmatic denial. It may offend your sense of pride, but even if a group of people wrongly identified themselves as Cherokee, it's legitimate to treat them as real people, and to question who they were.

Re: Calling all Blackfoot Cherokee

Posted: 27 Oct 2003 5:44PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Greer and Hutchinson
according to my Uncle who is 78, his own Uncle was full Cherokee and his Grandmother was half Cherokee, "In the Southwestern part of Virginia and into West Virginia were 2 bands of Cherokee, a male from one band married a woman from another band and they were called "Blackfoot" because they were kicked out of their tribes and formed their own. Don't know how true but he said this was handed down to him by word of mouth in stories.

Re: Calling all Blackfoot Cherokee

Posted: 28 Oct 2003 1:36PM GMT
Classification: Query
No sense of pride involved in my comments, just a dedication to accuracy in history & genealogy. Unproven claims don't amount to evidence.

For example, take a look at the Miller, Rejected Applicants records. For compensation under the court settlement, 48,000+ appications, representing about 90,000 persons, were made.

Of this number, about 30,700 were certified as Cherokee ( and not one as a Blackfoot Cherokee).

There are descendants of some of those who were rejected who are still claiming to be of Cherokee descent despite untold numbers of legal findings that they are not, including findings by legitimate Cherokee courts.

What people call themselves often has nothing to do with true proven heritages. And the facts are there has never been a Blackfoot Cherokee tribe, band, or clan.

If you want to produce a site for people who call themselves "Blackfoot Indians", then do so by all means, just don't call it "Blackfoot Cherokee", which is a misappropriation of part of the legal name (Cherokee) of several internationally recognized groups of sovereign nations of people.

To make up a group and call its members by another group's sovereign name is at the least disrespectful, and certainly misleading, and possibly illegal.

You might also want to seriously consider the legality of calling the group "Indians", at least until its membership is able to actually **prove** that heritage.

Most of the Indian people I know, who live all over the U.S. & Canada, are not very pleased by the proliferation "indian" tribes with no basis in fact or history.

But so far as I know, it would probably be acceptable to name the group "black foot people".

Re: Calling all Blackfoot Cherokee

Posted: 28 Oct 2003 4:50PM GMT
Classification: Query
Actually, unproven claims do amount to evidence. Evidence may be unproven by some standards, but it's still evidence. As I'm sure you know, historical records are notoriously limited. I've had a DNA test that shows I've got 35% Native American blood, with some margin of error, but I can't prove a connection. I'm not sure I can prove I'm part English, Irish, or German either -- does that mean I may have come from space? To honor our ancestors is to accept their testimony as evidence. Not proof, but evidence. It may not meet government standards, it may not meet official Cherokee standards, but it's evidence. It's more than a little ironic that Native Americans would treat oral history as nonsense. You and a lot of other Cherokees I've heard from seem to assume that most/all people with unproven claims are frauds. There may be some fraud going on, but I suspect there are more "proven" Cherokees with an over-active sense of exclusiveness than there are unproven Cherokees with fraudulent, delusional, or baseless claims.

Unproven claims are "evidence"? Say what????

Posted: 28 Oct 2003 7:52PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 7 Dec 2005 8:23PM GMT
Unproven claims are unproven claims. That's all they are.

As for historical records being "notoriously limited", I believe Jerri Chasteen is the one who said that the Cherokee are the most documented group of people outside of the European royal families. I can list my Cherokee ancestors on both sides of my family back to the 1700s, and every Cherokee I've ever met could do the same.

And as for why "Native Americans would "...treat oral history as nonsense...", maybe it's because even we have knotheads in our families who simply rewrite history to suit themselves.

One of my grandfathers insisted his family was related to Daniel Boone's family. There is not one shred of evidence to support this claim, but he clung to it all of his life. His "unproven" claim is not any kind of "evidence", no matter how loudly he shrieked about it.

A great-grandmother insisted she was related to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. If she was, it was through some unlisted child because Jefferson Davis' family is extremely well-documented. Her "unproven" claim is also not "evidence" of anything.

As for why Cherokees assume "...that most/all people with uproven claims are frauds...", it is undoubtedly because every time it looked like the Cherokees might get a few crumbs from the federal government trough, the white folks lined up to sign up for the rolls too. Hence all of the "rejected" notations on various roll applicants.

A sense of "exclusiveness" among Cherokees? No doubt that's because we refuse to take seriously anyone who "claims" to be 35% Indian, but doesn't know who his people were, where they came from, how he was connected to the tribe nor apparently anything else about being Cherokee.

There are something like 300 phony-baloney "Cherokee" fraud units out there (I refuse to give them the designation of "tribe") who are daily ripping off people who, for whatever reason, have now decided to "get back" to a heritage they never had to begin with because if they did have it, they wouldn't be so diligently trying to dig up a Cherokee ggggggggggg-grandmother. They would already know who she was.


This just frosts my cookies. It's the reason the Cherokees are the laughing-stock of Indian Country. It's why saying you are Cherokee is an embarrassment these days and why other Indians just roll their eyes when the word "Cherokee" comes up. Don't believe me? Read any of Sherman Alexie's books.
MaryAnn

Re: Unproven claims are "evidence"? Say what????

Posted: 28 Oct 2003 8:54PM GMT
Classification: Query
"Evidence" isn't "proof." Evidence may lead to proof, or evidence may be discounted, as in your examples. Evidence can be wrongly discounted, because no one is perfect. Oral history is evidence that deserves to be investigated, then rejected if disproven.

I don't "claim" to be Cherokee, but I may be. My gr-grandmother was orphaned and adopted by whites when she was very young, used as a housemaid, and never taught to read or write. If she knew who her parents were, she never said.

I'm sure you're aware that some NAs "went white" in order to escape discrimination, and didn't even sign up for the rolls. I've heard of remnants of tribes that were adopted by the Cherokee and other large tribes for protection. No doubt, a lot of their descendents wrongly believe they are Cherokee. No doubt, a lot of children were told they were part Cherokee because their actual tribe wasn't well known and the Cherokees are widely respected.

Not many people would claim they are descended from Nazis. You should be proud to have such a well-documented knowledge of a distinguished ancestry that others would like to prove that they share. If you think it's only for money, except in a few cases, you're under-estimating how much others admire the Cherokee nation.
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