|Who Are the Southeastern Blackfeet?
There are too many to be ignored, the people mostly from Virginia and the Carolinas who identify themselves as Blackfeet Indians, and the African Americans and Anglo and Scots-Irish Americans who acknowledge an ancestor from this tribe. Even if they know nothing about Indians or being Indian, they affirm their Blackfeet ancestry, but with no connection to Montana and Alberta, the region of the three divisions of the Blackfeet Nation: the Blackfeet; the Piegan (Pikuni); and the Blood. While some part-Blackfeet non-Natives vaguely believe their ancestor “came from out west,” the Blackfeet region is never mentioned as a homeland. Angela Y. Walton-Raji said of the Blackfeet in her Black Indian Genealogy Research “Oddly, it is common to hear many African Americans make reference to being descendants of the Blackfeet Indians. There has not been any indication that the Blackfeet Indians have ever lived outside the region known as South Dakota (sic), therefore the assertion that many blacks have family ties to this Indian nation is perplexing and perhaps more figurative than actual” (98).
While many southeastern Blackfeet and their non-Indian relations know little or nothing about specific cultural traditions, challenging their assertions would be insulting because their legacy and identity have been handed down to them, as firmly and as proudly as any tribal identity. Those living as Indians struggle like all Indians in eastern North America and the Caribbean to maintain their core consciousness and values as Indians, not those of another people.
We tend to accept an individual’s Indian identity or descent as proclamed and time will tell what’s incorrect, confused, or simply bogus. Face value and the truth of what one knows remain important to Native cultural and tribal assertions, even when one may be in honest error.
Of non-Indian Blackfeet descendants, despite African or European appearances, most observers could not dismiss an Indian ancestry. The name Black- foot for a southeastern tribe was expressed at least early in the twentieth century, and African Americans predominate among part-Blackfeet assertors. “Blackfeet” is firmly asserted over “Blackfeet.” Ex-slave memoirs and oral histories I’ve perused lack mention of the Blackfeet. And Clinton A. Wes lager in The Nanticoke Indians—Past and Present is the only scholar I have found to mention Blackfeet Indians, a Joshua Hitchens in the Nanticoke community in southern Delaware reported his father as Blackfeet. But Weslager’s skepticism believed Hitchens to be confused by applying the name from “Blackfeet Town,” the former name of Dagsboro, as the tribal name (198). Some southeastern Blackfeet also proclaim Cherokee descent and follow Cherokee traditions. Lacking is a narrative tradition about the origins of the people, much about their ways and beliefs, the animals that define their value systems, their songs and dances; and anything that might associate them with the Plains Blackfeet.
Very little comes forth. The people simply know they are or are descended from Blackfeet Indians; this is usually all they know and all they have. A few, of course, in not knowing what else to do, seek cultural knowledge about Plains Blackfeet traditions and try living by them. When one considers the resurgence of indigenous communities throughout the eastern United States, perhaps thousands more Indians remain disconnected from and out of touch with their peoples and their traditions. Eastern North America and the Caribbean have much more complex identity and self-definition issues among Indians than what is experienced by tribes west of the Mississippi where intense encounters with Europeans are, outside of the region known as New Spain, less than 220 years old. Many southeastern Indian families share a heritage both of enslavement as Indians and enslavement as blacks; pressures from colonial governments, settlers, and militia, removal legislation and land-grabbing schemes all created enormous refugee conditions that, assisted by documentary racism, continue into the twentieth century. As a ramification of this, the greater the separation from elders who know the truths of families’ legacies, the fewer questions asked, and both the corresponding inability to respond to those questions or the outright resistance to such questions, then the deeper the loss of cultural convictions and the greater the confusion for persons shown the black or white paths of least resistance, assimilation, and memory loss.
No wonder so many Atlantic coast and trans-Appalachian Indians have to hold on to memories while we continue fighting the rhetoric and propaganda of disappearance from whites, blacks, and western Indians.
The southeastern Blackfeet dramatizes Indian survival against genocide in provocative ways. I must reiterate the fact that, if nothing more, they know who they are. In the East, one finds scores of people who for decades lived with the consciousness of Native people while being unable to re-establish firm tribal connections; many were simply denied birthright.
Since the early nineteenth century, due to the growing racialist identity politics affecting Indians and their struggles to hold onto their lands and their dignity, some southern tribes disinherited individuals who chose Negroes for spouses. They seemed to prize instead the blond and red-haired descendants of white intermarriage, a color-struck behavior incongruent with the conquest endured by their communities. Indians have assimilated white racism more readily than they imagine in response to whites who deemed their communities held too many Africans—a threat to white social and psychological stability and peace of mind, and a real estate ploy of significant proportions to grab Indian lands.
Discount southern Blackfeet descent from prisoners of war: the Plains war prisoners sent east came too late to have part-Blackfeet adult progeny today who recall a great-great-grandparent. Another theory proposes a Blackfeet migration in the eighteenth century eastward through the Ohio Valley; but Montana Blackfeet individuals whom I asked about this ridiculed the idea, and know nothing of the Blackfeet of the South.
James Mooney, attempting to record old stories of origins and migration, proposed in The Siouan Tribes of the East (1894) that the Blackfeet of Montana split off in the west from Algonquian migrants traveling from the Northeast (12). If we go by David McCutcheon’s reading of the controversial Wallam Olum, the Algonquian tribe of Quebec is the source of a misnomer for a Lenape linguistic megaculture1. The Lenapes emerged from a northwesterly place onto the Plains and fought to cross the Mississippi; the Plains Blackfeet would have broken off from this Lenape eastward migration, with the southern Blackfeet beginning as a splinter group from the larger tribe. Related to this is the Blackfeet’s translation of their name Siksika as meaning black shins or black moccasins. A Lumbee-Blackfeet man I met one afternoon in 1981 on Port Authority Transit between Manhattan and Hoboken derived the name Blackfeet from “black shanks,” thus agreeing in principle with this explanation for the name Blackfeet.
The most plausible explanations circulating about the origins and identity of the southeastern Blackfeet have been proposed by eastern Indian individuals, and involve the re-emergence today of some related tribes in the South and the Ohio Valley. Credit Richard L. and Vicki Haithcock of the Saponi Nation of Ohio who, following surnames in historical documents, assert the southeastern Blackfeet to be among their Siouan relatives from the area between the Ohio Valley and the Carolina Piedmont. Ethnohistorians since Mooney, Frank Speck included (1935), have grossly underestimated or ignored the persistence of eastern Siouan groups, the rhetoric of disappearance having successfully misdirected their attention and reasoning, and causing them no doubt to consider any pronouncement of “Blackfeet” by southern people to be ludicrous. J. Leitch Wright, Jr., in The Only Land They Knew (1981) called the Saponis (232) and Occaneechees (23) “extinct.” Siouan cultural groups are documented as having lived in the Piedmont area that separated Cherokees from coastal Algonquins and coastal and northern Iroquois. The Catawbas of South Carolina, Monacans of central and later western Virginia, and the Haliwa Saponi of north-central North Carolina are in ethnohistorical and linguistic terms Siouan, as are the Occaneechie, Occaneechie Saponi of Ohio, Eno and Waccamaw Sioux of the Carolinas, and the Tutelo of Virginia. Many Tutelo fled into Pennsylvania in the eighteenth century, then on to the Cayugas and Senecas in western New York. After George Washington’s General Sullivan destroyed Seneca towns in 1779, many left with these Iroquois for Ontario. Some were possibly among the Cayugas and Senecas who left Ohio in the nineteenth century to relocate in the Indian Territory. Horatio Hale and Mooney concluded there to be no more of these peoples in the South, first of all by virtue of not meeting any who admitted who they were, by otherwise assuming their family names to be absent from nineteenth-century records, and because of the popular imagery and vocabulary defining southeastern Indians, Their persistence seems incredible today by casual reckonings.
Using aspects of the Haithcocks’ determinations and my own we can link the Blackfeet to Siouan origins. The late Plains Sioux lexicographer Paul WarCloud succinctly connected the Dakota peoples’ three major groups (Santee, Teton, and Yankton) to easterly origins in his Sioux Indian Dictionary (1971): “The Dakotah’s (sic) around 1200 AD. occupied territories which are now parts of Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, and the Carolina’s (sic), prior to migration westward into present Minnesota and the Dakota states.” Once the Tetons and Yanktons reached Minnesota (the Santee migration came later), five Teton bands “detached themselves from the main migrating Teton force and traveled up the Minnesota River” into the present Minnesota-South Dakota region. Among these five, whose dialect is Lakota, were the Minnecoujous, Hunkpapa, and the band known as the Blackfeet Sioux or Black Moccasin Sioux or Sihasapas (vi-vii). In agreement, and perhaps needlessly cautious of the “probability that Occaneechi and Saponi are Siouan languages,” James M. Crawford in “Southeastern Indian Languages” (1975) adds, “legends of the western Siouan tribes support [this] theory” (49). Mooney, taking the hint from Horatio Hale who in .1883 recognized the Siouan attributes of the Tutelo language, speculated about the Indians of central Virginia to members of the Anthropological Society of Washington in 1889, his thoughts served as the basis of the following which he published in The Siouan Tribes of the East: “It was never hinted that they might be anything different [from their Iroquois and Algonquian neighbors], and still less supposed that they would prove to be a part of the Siouan or Dakotan family, [of] nearly a thousand miles away.. .the concurrent testimony of the Siouan tribes themselves to the effect that they had come from the east, . . . render it extremely probable that the original home of the Siouan race was not on the prairies of the west but amidst the eastern foothills of the southern Alleganies, or at least as eastward as the upper Ohio region” (9). George E. Hyde, in Indians of the Woodlands, believes Kentucky is the Sioux original homeland, from whence periodically groups migrated toward cardinal directional points (x, 61). These summarize the theoretical core of written histories about the Sioux that boldly describe their origins this far east, and there are no Siouan references in Ohio Valley archaeological literature.
An east-to-west movement of a large body of Siouan peoples may perhaps be one stage in a literally circuitous ancient trek they made. The 3lack Hills, center of the physical and spiritual worlds of the Plains Sioux, figure in these deliberations. According to R. D. Theisz, co-author with Severt Young Bear of Standing in the Light: A Lakota Way of Seeing (1994): “The early history of the various Sioux bands is rather speculative. Historians have suggested fifteenth-century origins somewhere around the Ohio River with subsequent movement northwest, but Lakota oral historians—Severt is among them—propose a larger, circular pattern of migration that began centuries ago around the Black Hills, starting towards the south, then turning east, then north, and then again to the northwest, the western Great Lakes region, in a large circle” (xxvii). This description would serve Sioux claims to the Black Hills, a deeply spiritual and political issue. Young Bear’s account means imagining this migration began much earlier than WarCloud’s reckoning, with the Sioux settling for a long time in the Ohio Valley and Piedmont regions. Parenthetically, other Siouan groups are involved like the central Plains Omaha, Otoe, Kansa, and Osage whom collectively an Osage writer, Louis F. Bums, feels originated in the Chesapeake region (Osage Indian Customs and Myths xi); the Biloxi migrated to the Gulf coast and the Ofo left the Ohio Valley by 1673, according to John R. Swanton in Indians of the Southeastern United States (96-97 and 165-66). If the literalness of this elaborate circle sounds attractive, who, then, along their southern route did these travelers encounter? Who encountered them? Cherokee and Creek sacred histories do not acknowledge a people who could be construed as Siouan. I suspect they could also have followed a less southerly route but one taking them across Missouri and through Kentucky into the eastern Ohio Valley and the Piedmont.
Focusing on these migratory patterns may produce further confusion; and archaeological evidence may fail to identify strictly “Siouan” artifacts, although Karl H. Schlesier feels confident that one site near Minneapolis was occupied between a.d. 300 to 800 by “two phases of Siouan speakers,” based on ceramics and burial mounds (345), One can take a middle position, agreeing with him, that four geographic regions constituted a Siouan world, one being in the Southeast (people he avers as now “extinct,” 435), and an other including the Omaha group which migrated from Indiana in the seventeenth century.
Translation of Sihasapa as “black foot” or “black feet” can be verified with Joseph S Karol’s Everyday Lakota An English-Sioux Dictionary for Beginners, and WarCloud: respectively si sápa and se-HA SAH-pah. Considering various spellings from spok Dakota into English for Blackfeet and Blackfèet, the root sápa for black is easy to recognize, especially for anyone aware that Paha Sapa is the Lakota name for the Black Hills. Likewise, we can find in sápa the root for the tribal name Saponi. I would agree with Mooney that Saponi derives from “Monasukapanough,” or “Monasickapanough (24), towns John Smith identified on his 1608 map of central Virginia, much of the name signifying shallow water (see Swanton 71-72). Bushnel’s map of 1930 places Monasukapanough about four miles north of present-day Charlottesville. WarCioud offers m’nee for water but his “KAH-zee-nah” approximates the middle stem Swanton may be accurate in calling a “corruption” these spelling approximations that evolved into “Saponi” in his Indian Tribes of North America, like Mooney’s books a perversely informative compilation that demands readers make deeper inquiries. On the other hand, Swanton overlooks a meaning for “Sapa,” his guess at translation never considering if “Sapa—” has any merit as per haps “dark shallow water.” Haithcock, Historian for the Saponi Nation of Ohio and an Occaneechi Saponi, believes Saponi is more a corruption or evolution of Sthasapa. But this link seems not old enough, for Sthasapa itself would stem from the Piedmont Monasukapanough or Monasick apanough, terms which I suspect signify how dark shallow water affects the color of moccasins.
This explanation at the very least verifies a historical connection within the meta-Siouan world involving the Blackfeet Sioux and the Indians known as Saponis. Despite what seems obvious about the theory, it fails to confirm how today Blackfeet Indians came by their tribal name, one absent from the records of courts, social scientists, and academics. For two centuries, starting in 1764, the Saponi by name virtually disappear from contemporary acknowledgment. What has this Saponi “disappearance” to do with the emergence of the designation of “Blackfeet” Indians? With memory of the name “Blackfeet” strongest in the twentieth century, the Saponi gap may be explained by these relocations. If those of us working with this have accurately derived “Blackfeet” from Sthasapa and agree with Mooney about Monasukapanough, its translation may have been rendered by one or more late speakers of Saponi or Tutelo perhaps as late as 1900. Collective memory for the name “Blackfeet” as a translation of “Saponi” would be their greatest resilient act of cultural survival; meanwhile they apparently lost knowledge of the name Saponi. The Saponi Nation of Ohio describes itself as “a Southeastern Siouan Blackfeet Nation.” It would help to know about when the name “Blackfeet” gained popular usage and if possible how it became used and why. Individual family oral traditions and deposition records may offer insights for such a demanding project. Another possibility for this Saponi “disappearance” is that several in the late eighteenth century relocated to Appalachia where, mixing with an array of ethnic groups, became the Melungeons (see Hazel (1989: 12, and “The Hawk’s Done Gone: Mildred Haun’s Vanishing Melungeons” in this volume).
A too fhcile assumption is that the name suits, with deliberate pejorative intentions, any African American who claims an Indian ancestor, a crude joke instigated either by Indians or whites against people of black and Indian ancestry for whom “Blackfeet” would signify a social caste (one bit of folklore claims the name describes the discoloration caused by iron shackles on the ankles of Black-Indian slaves, a counterpart to the “Brass Ankles” in South Carolina). Assuming this, however, conveniently ignores that some whites also acknowledge a southern Blackfeet ancestry A respondent to web site at Mississippi State University about the Blackfeet/Blackfeet issue identified her grandmother as a “Blackfeet/Italian woman,” believing her to be from Georgia7. Haithcock responded to the same web page’s related inquiry from an African American individual wanting to learn more about the Blackfeet ancestry told him by his elders from Mississippi. Again, southeastern Blackfeet culture and history are ethnologically unknown by that name, and most of all, claimants tend to know only Blackfeet, not Saponi, and the Saponi are not a tribe known by most part-Indian non-Indians living outside the Piedmont. Even fairly knowledgeable Blackfeet never perceived themselves as Saponis.
Southeastern Blackfeet Indians, Haithcock asserts, are essentially Saponi Indians, who constitute that portion of the Sihasapa, the Blackfeet Sioux or Black Moccasin Band of the Dakotas, who remained in the Ohio Valley and Piedmont when the pre-European emigration of Siouan peoples began, and who migrated deeper into the Piedmont. These migrations may not always have been voluntary. W. J. McGee in 1897 suggested that larger westerly buffalo herds encouraged migration. But raids by other nations, likely by the powerful Iroquoian Erie and later possibly the Five Nations themselves, into the Ohio Valley could also have precipitated their protracted breakup as a large unit. The Ohio Valley thus would be especially important to modem Saponi Indians. As simplified as these Siouan migrations may be explained, their sequence from the area may first have involved the western Sioux, then those forced into the Piedmont, then the Osage and Ofo groups8. What the Saponis and all the eastern Siouan peoples faced next was a protracted second flight in all directions, instigated by European settlement and militia, and resulting in the most traumatic and lengthy upheaval of Indians into fugitive status in the history of North America in which Saponis in the nineteenth century survived by means of social obscurity, being enslaved, and eluding slavery by returning across the Ohio River, In the twentieth century they continued surviving by social obscurity, passing as blacks, and for many, cultural amnesia. Their erasure from southeastern Indian history since the Revolutionary War era is related to the federal census enumeration practice of identifying off-reservation Indians as “black,” “Negro,” “mulatto,” and “Free Person of Color,” and by the implied meaning then and today that a slave was automatically of African descent. They constitute a massive Saponi diaspora. Those who fled into the Gulf states may constitute both a portion of the Black Creeks, descendants of African Americans within the nineteenth-century Creek confederacy of Alabama (New Orleans trumpeter Bunk Johnson claimed to have “Black Creek” ancestry), and the “Blackfeet band” of the Creeks (who may be the same people). In the sixties both the Haliwa and the Occaneechi Saponis emerged from the ranks of “slumbering eastern Indian tribes” to accelerate the visibility of their cultural presence. North Carolina formally recognized the Haliwa Saponis in 1965; the Monacans attained recognition from Virginia in 1989. The genealogical and historical research which the Haithcocks, Forest Hazel (Nanticoke), Heriberto Dixon (Tutelo), and Arnold Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi) have been doing should raise the consciousness in Indian Country and the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio about the Saponi and the Blackfeet. They are today’s principal Eastern Siouan historians.
We may be dealing with three groups in the Southeast known as Blackfeet Indians or people with a Blackfeet ancestor. One group is a core that constitutes Saponi Indians diffused throughout their homelands in the Carolinas, Virginia, and in the northern Ohio Valley to which many Saponis of the mid-nineteenth century fled. These Saponis, considerable in number, would have eluded anthropological detection since the nineteenth century because they were assumed to be a social caste that neither authorities nor social scientists took seriously about how they identified themselves while living on the Negro/Indian/white color line.
The second group is more diffuse and scattered with no underground cultural system of tribal cohesiveness, cultural memory, or community activities. For reasons earlier mentioned, they are either blacks or whites who either appropriated the term Blackfeet as an Indian heritage identifier, or had the name imposed upon them.
The third group proclaims a Cherokee connection, identifying themselves as Cherokee and B1ackfo Cherokee-Blackfeet, or Blackfeet-Cherokee. Some are Indians and some are non-Indians acknowledging this background. An online article, “Cherokee-Blackfeet stones,” inquires about the association of these tribes in context with African American ancestry. All its respondents were puzzled by the derivation of southern Blackfeet and the Northern Plains I3lackfeet, and some registered confusion about their feelings and identity, having painful memories of how they were treated by black friends. Just one respondent, a Lakota, explained briefly the Blackfeet Sioux. No respondents, however, mentioned the name Saponi9. Neither does Russell Thornto’s valuable demographic study, The Cherokees: A Population History (1990), and perhaps it is too much to have expected him to note or acknowledge any Blackfeet connection with Cherokees, although he does mention “Red-Black Cherokees.” Using twentieth-century census accounts, he either found no Cherokees identifying themselves as “Blackfeet-Cherokees” or the like, or passed over this detail (152-61 and passim). The 1980 census recorded 4,588 Cherokees acknowledging African American ancestry (Table 31, and 157); but the population of Blackfeet or Cherokee-Blackfeet may equal or exceed that number.
I agree with Haithcock about reconsidering the Cherokee associations of many southern Blackfeet. “The Saponi and other smaller, lesser known aboriginal american (sic) nations, as their nations began to lose identity as a nation, began to move about and seek refuge with other nations such as [the Cherokee]. This is probably the ‘Blackfeet’ one hears in lot (sic) of family traditions. This also helps to explain why people have traditions of Cherokee ancestry when in reality their ancestors belonged to one or more smaller nations such as Saponi, Chickahorniny, Gingaskins ... Werowocomo ... Powhatan, Hattaras, etc” (“Blackfeet and Blackfeet” web site). In other words, Cherokee cultural influence differs from the Iroquois political influence and pressure of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Both the Five Nations and the Cherokee embraced refugees; the Cherokees simply were reticent to take in blacks during the peak years of chattel slavery when most Cherokee mixed-bloods were the scions of slave-owning white men. Blacks were a part of Cherokee society, and as R. Halliburton, Daniel F. Littlefield, and Theda Perdue have demonstrated in respective studies, not all were slaves; some were part-Cherokee and some Cherokees were partly black. Also, the ubiquity of Cherokees can possibly be explained by virtue of Cherokee families who remained despite the shrinkage of Cherokee lands.
With the enslavement of blacks and Indian and black peoples, an issue of intense discussion among the Cherokees and other traditionally south eastern Indians after their Removals, the rejection of these mixed bloods after the Civil War could have brought with it the ascription “Blackfeet.” Almon Wheeler Lauber’s Indian Slavery in Colonial Times (1915), Wright’s The Only Land They Knew (both important to the following essay), and Jack Forbes’ Africans and Native Americans (1993) discuss Indians as slaves. To better appreciate the Blackfeet forbearers of African Americans, we must approach the issue of Indians and Blacks as chattel slaves from the radical speculation of there being far many more Indian slaves during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries than sympathetic studies and the rhetoric of “black” slaves and “black” slavery so casually pronounces, and that those Indian slaves, contradicting African American assertions of being “the same people” as blacks, wanted to hold on to their cultural identity and retain their cultural and national integrity.
If the cybermail inquiries suggest what’s beneath this iceberg’s tip, a sizeable percentage of these Blackfeet and their descendants would be surprised to learn they may be Saponi, an eastern Siouan people related to the Blackfeet Sioux. Between 1100 and 1200 the Saponis could not or chose not to join the Dakota migration to Minnesota. Thus the Blackfeet can view themselves as southeastern Siouan descendants.
The Saponis and other southeastern tribes trying to keep a low social profile suffered profoundly in the wake of key events like the Indian Removal Act of 1830, various state disenfranchisement policies between 1 and the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, and responses to the Nat Turner Rebellion in Southampton, Virginia in 1831. As 1850 approached, according to the Haithcocks, many Saponis from Virginia and North Carolina f1ed to Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan where documents identify them as mulattoes (536, see Knepper 205; Hesslink 38, 43; and Dunbar 288), Richard Haithcock uses the term “surnameology” when tracing the movement of families to confirm that many of these refugees, identified as “free blacks” and “free mulattoes,” were Indians. Of his estimated 50,000 people of color who migrated across the Ohio between 1825 and 1850, it is conceivable that the population of Indians unable to elude official racialist policies equaled that amount or was larger. They constitute a population of undetermined proportions mired m slavery or surviving in hidden communities throughout their traditional homelands, and in either case cohabiting with African and Anglo Americans. The number of Indians unable to leave is likely inestimable, and hundreds of these “lost birds” may have become “Blackfeet.” Some Blackfeet surnames known to me that are also Saponi surnames are Freeman, Guy, Holley, Jenkins, and Scott; Loper and Tarplay are also Blackfeet names.
Blackfeet of the South speak of no specific homeland other than the central Piedmont. Many are Indians dramatically cut off from knowing details of their history; yet, they know their homeland. A wonderfully ironic twist is for these Blackfeet/Saponi and the African and Anglo Americans citing a Blackfeet ancestor to be descended from the people who remained in the traditional homelands after the westward migration the Sioux began 800 and more years ago.
- “Wallam Olani” is McCutcheon’s spelling. The Walarn Olarn has been declared a hoax. See David M. Oestreicher, “Unmasking the Walam Olum: A 19th-Century Hoax.” Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey 49 (1994): 1-44. Reader discretion may find plausible some tribal migrations mentioned m it.
- Richard L. Haithcock and Vicki L. Haithcock, Occaneechie Saponi and Tutelo of the Saponi Nation: aka Monacan and Piedmont Catawba Includes Eastern Cherokee. Ts. 1996. Heriberto Dixon, “The Tutelo Indians: Piedmont Homelands to Iroquois Adoption and Today,” University of Massachusetts, Amherst 20 April 1999 and Dixon, “Reclaiming the Past: The Case of the (South Eastern Siouan Peoples,” (unpub. lecture) 6—9, 19.
- See Howard L. Meredith and Virginia F. Milan, eds. A Cherokee Vision of Eloh’. Trans. Wesley Proctor. (Muskogee, OK: Indian UP, 1981); and Albert S. Gatschet, A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians, vol. 1 and 2. 1884 (New York: Kraus Reprint, 1969).
- In “Blackfeet and Blackfeet.” 20 May 1997. Online posting. Mississippi State University. 18 July 1998.
- One can link this absence of academic reference to southeastern Blackfeet Indians to the relative absence of Saponis; for instance, the Saponi go unmentioned in Charles M. Hudson, ed., Four Centuries of Southern Indians (Athens: U of Georgia F, 1975); Charles Hudson, The Southeastern Indians (Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 1976); and Walter L. Williams, ed., Southeastern Indians Since the Removal Era (Athens: U of Georgia P, 1979). In a notable exception, the Haliwa-Saponi is mentioned in J. Anthony Paredes, ed., Indians of the Southeastern United States in the 20th Century (Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama F, 1992).
- Forest Hazel identifies this date as “the final official reference to the Saponi as a distinct tribe in the South” in “Occaneechi-Saponi Descendants in the North Carolina Piedmont: The Texas Community,” Southern Indian Studies 40(1989): 13; John R. Swanton asserted that Saponis with other tribes left North Carolina for the north in 1802. Indian Tribes of North America (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, 1952), 73. Haithcock follows the surnames in their various movements and settlements.
- Wehliya, Shara. “Blackfeet.” 6 May 1997. Online posting. Mississippi State University. 27 July 1998.
- See W. J. McGee, The Siouan Indians: A Preliminary Sketch. 5 Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1897), 173. The effect of waves of Iroquoian incursions upon Ohio country and upper Piedmont Siouan peoples is a plausible speculation advanced by Mooney (12) and Haithcock (1999). They could mean the Erie. Relying upon the Jesuit Relations and other documents, Warren King Moorehead in Indian Tribes of Ohio: Historically Considered; A Preliminary Paper, 1899 (New York: AMS Press, 1983) described the powerful Erie and their eventual annihilation by the Five Nations in the l650s. Like later Ohio ethnohistories and most archaeological studies, his focus is northern Ohio, and without Siouan reference; yet Erie raids to the south are plausible. On the other hand, Mann and Fields’s postulation for the founding of the Iroquois League on 31 August 1142 indulges a Five Nations speculation (see Barbara A. Mann and Jerry L. Fields, “A Sign in the Sky: Dating the League of the Haudenosaunee,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal. 21.2 (1997): 105, 141, 143). Reckoning with it I propose that the Iroquois, under vigorous motivations to spread the “good news” for other tribes to come under the Tree of Peace for amiable relations, may have in their turn met resistence from Siouans when entering the Ohio country from the east or the Piedmont from the north. (see section 80 in “The Council of the Great Peace” version, A. C. Parker, The Constitution of the Five Nations or the Iroquois Book of the Great Law. 1915. (Ohsweken, Ontario: Iroqrafts, 1984) 52). In the historical record the Catawba seem to be the oldest Siouan residents in the lower Southeast (Swanton 1946: 104); the Sapom leave Monasukapanough in Vir ginia soon after 1608. The Otos of southwestern Ohio, also recorded as the Mosopeleas, are the last to leave, westward and south by 1673.
- “Cherokee-Blackfeet stories.” 15 June 1998. Online posting. Hypertext. 24 August 1998. Web sites proved invaluable to this essay. I am also grateful for the willing ness of two friends who responded to my questionnaire about the southeastern Blackfeet. One claimed no family association with Cherokees; the other specified having a Cherokee mother and a part-black and part-Blackfeet father with no Cherokee connection. Neither, by the way, acknowledged anything having to do with Saponi. My attempt to have a nationally-circulated African American monthly magazine publish in its “Letters” section my request for questionnaire respondents was rejected. By the way, for articles in seventies black publications both singer Chaka Khan and model Beverly Johnson acknowledged being of part-Blackfeet descent. In September 1999 1 learned, too late for this essay, of a Cherokee Blackfeet Cultural Circle based in New York City (note their not using the hyphenated form) which was to host “the First Native American Day Parade” on 9 October; and of a Cherokee Blackfeet also in New York who proclaims descent from pre-Columbian Muslims! Mahir Abdal-Razzaaq El. 1999. “Digging for the Roots.” Online posting. 22 September 1999. See also Kemba J. Dunham, “Tangled Roots: A Black Obsession with an Indian Tribe.” Wall Street Journal 20 December 1999.