Native Physical Characteristics

There are many physical characteristics that are common in people with Native American heritage: … Native Physical Characteristics »»

Victoria Lena Manyarrows

Victoria Lena Manyarrows is a writer, activist, artist, and poet. She has worked extensively with community arts and alcohol/substance abuse programs in the Bay Area and has a Masters degree in Social Work. Born in Iowa in 1956 and raised alongside reservations and within mixed communities in North Dakota and Nebraska. Manyarrow’s goal is t use written and visual images to convey and promote a positive, indigenous Native-based worldview.

Taking The Third Step

The records are on computers and on microfilm. The records keeper/Help Desk will assist you in finding the surname (or last name) of the relative you are investigating to learn vital information about them.


The Census Records information includes:


  • Full Name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Race
  • Married, Single, Widowed
  • Occupation
  • Place of birth of Mother and Father
  • Spouse Name
  • Children
  • Land owner or renter
  • Whether could read and/or write
  • And other important information


This information will help you to identify your ancestors/relatives and continue to document your “paper trail” for Native American tribal enrollment.


Article by CherokeeCloud

Written September 4, 2006

Taking the Second Step

Remember that even if the family elders don’t know if a relative was Native American or state there were not Native Americans in the family, continue your investigation. In many instances if elders acknowledged Native American ancestry negative consequences resulted. This is because in most states Native Americans were not allowed to purchase land, hold jobs, and have schooling opportunities. Anyone claiming to be Native American was sent to live on the reservations. Being sent to a reservation resulted in loss of land, family connections, accumulated wealth, and in many instances loss of tribal identities and culture.

So, for these reasons Native Americans would claim Colored, Negro, Mulatto, Black Dutch, Black Irish, Melungeon, and even White racial identities. These identities protected them from the hazards of being identified as Native American.


This leads to one of the key ways of identifying a Native American relative. If you find a relative listed on the United States Census records and each year in which you find them listed their race changes, then there is a great possibility that the relative was Native American or of a mixed racial heritage with Native being one of the race mixtures.

 Article by CherokeeCloud

Written September 3, 2006

Taking the First Step

Many families over the years have had a formal or informal historian. This person tracks the family births, deaths, marriages, and locations of family members. This person keeps records through saving newspaper clippings, photographs, letters, and other memorabilia. All of these items are important in searching for your family black and red roots.  

A treasure chest of information can most importantly be found in family Bibles. In the front of these Bibles is not only the owner of the Bible and perhaps when it was received but also a space for family genealogy or family records. Additionally, there is generally not a family Bible that does not have within its pages many hand written notes, book marks, photographs with names or dates written on the back, programs from Church services, ribbons, pressed flowers, and many other items that give clues to family ancestry.  

Each of these items has a history that must be investigated to learn more about your family tree. Next, find the oldest living family member or members and request to talk with them about their life, recollections of what has happened over time within the family, and question them about any items you might have found that appear to have significance to learning about your family in general and your black and red roots specifically.  

Article by CherokeeCloud 

Written September 2, 2006

How Do I Obtain A Native Name?

To self-select a Native name requires much thought and deliberation. For a self-selected name can represent a physical attribute, or a personal characteristic or persona. Sometimes the self-selected name contains a color, animal or some item of nature. For example, a man of wiry/sleek build might self-select the name “Black Fox”. Or a woman who enjoys singing might self-select the name “Song Bird”. Each of these names describes the person who self-selected it.


To have a given Native name requires the acceptance of a family Native name. This is very similar to being born with a Native surname or Native origin lastname. It requires only acknowledging the name is Native in its origin. For example a native surname is “Cornplanter”, as in James Cornplanter. This given name describes an occupation or role of the Native person.

To have a bestowed Native name requires a Native elder to confer or present you with a Native name. This is sometimes done in a formal ceremony or family gathering. A bestowed name has great significance because it comes from an elder, a respected person, or a person believed to be wise.  

Generally, a self-selected; a given; or a bestowed Native name is a public name. It is a name that you are known by publicly. That means that it is a name that your family, friends, and acquaintances refer to you. It is included when writing your name. For example, John “Black Fox” Williams or Mary “Song Bird” Reed are Native names included in the writing of ones name.  

Also, people translate their Native name into their Native American language. For example if John “Black Fox” Williams was Cherokee, he would be known as “Tsu la  Gv-na-ge-i”        (Fox Black) pronounced “Chew la   Guh nah gay ee”. Note the adjective in some instances follows the noun in Cherokee.

There is much more that could be said about obtaining a Native name. To learn more about obtaining a Native name join the “Black Red Roots Community”.  

 Article by: CherokeeCloud

 Written: August 23, 2006

Black Seminole Abraham

Abraham had fled the army of Andrew Jackson and helped build the fort at Prospect Bluff (in Florida). When Nichols and and Upper Creek Chief Joseph Francis set sail for England in 1815 Abraham stayed behind in the Fort, which had become a haven for Africans who had escaped from slavery.

The fort was attacked and destroyed during the first Seminole War (1817-1818); Abraham was one of the few survivors. He made his way to a Suwannee River Town in Flroida. Abraham continued fighting during the first Seminole War and he became known as "Sauanaffe Tustunnagee" (Suwannee Warrior). He lived in an African town in Florida called Pilaklinkaha, or Many Ponds, and was adopted as a member of the Seminole Nation. He became the Prime Minister of the Cowkeeper Dynasty and a chief advisor to Micanopy, principle chief of the Alachua Seminole.

Photo of Seminoles – warrior Abraham and wife Hagan


Abraham even served as an interpreter for Micanopy in 1826 when a delegation of Seminole Chiefs visited Washington D.C. Later in life, Abraham married a woman named Hagan, the widow of Chief Bowlegs. A detail of Abraham’s death is unknown.

African American and Native American History
Princeton Public Library
65 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542

Chickasaw Indians

The Chickasaw warred constantly with the Choctaw, the Creek, the Cherokee, and the Shawnee. The decline of the Chickasaw can be traced to the conflict for control of interior North America between France and Great Britain. Probably because British traders were established in their country before the settlement of Louisiana, the Chickasaw fought on the side of Great Britain, and French attempts to make peace with them were unsuccessful. After 1834 they moved, according to treaty arrangements, to Oklahoma, where they constituted one of the Five Civilized Tribes.


 RePosted July 8, 2008

Article selections by CherokeeCloud



The Qualla Boundary (Cherokee Indian Reservation)

• The proper name of the Cherokee Indian Reservation is the Qualla Boundary. It contains nearly 57,000 acres. Additional tribal lands are found at the Snowbird Community near Robbinsville and in Cherokee County, NC.


• Today's tribal government doesn't resemble the Cherokee government of centuries ago. Once a matriarchal society with traditional stickball games settling disputes, a democratic form of government now exists. The principal chief and vice chief are elected for four year terms with tribal council members being elected every two years.


• The Qualla Boundary is federal government public trust land held as such only for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Tribal and federal laws apply with jurisdiction by Cherokee Police or federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


• Current tribal enrollment is slightly less than 13,000. About 9,000 tribal members reside on the Qualla Boundary. Tribal members are permitted to own land and houses but can sell only to other members of the tribe. All land and business transactions are recorded by the local agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


• Centuries ago the Cherokee territory included parts of what eventually became the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. The Cherokee, along with members of other southeastern tribes, were relocated to Oklahoma in 1838-39 during the infamous “Trail of Tears.”


• The Cherokee were the first Native Americans to have their own written language. Invented by Sequoyah, the syllabary contains 86 characters. The Cherokee also had their own newspaper in the mid-1800s called The Phoenix.


• The Cherokee language, almost extinct a decade ago, is now being taught in all grades of the Cherokee school system.


• The Qualla Boundary (Cherokee Indian Reservation) and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are the only federally recognized tribe and reservation land between western New York and southern Florida.


 • Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual is the oldest Native American cooperative in the United States with more than 350 local craftspeople as members.




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