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On Native American family narrative:

Across the Midwest, it’s not uncommon for people from obviously & culturally white families to talk about having Native ancestry.

The vast majority of it is cultural appropriation, thanks to a lot of early to mid 20th century talk, but...
1/
Many of the treaties written in the early part of the 19th century, (specifically for Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky & Wisconsin) allowed a very specific exception which permitted Native lands to remain in Native hands: the private property exception.

2/
If a Native family held legal title to land, they weren’t forcibly removed. The difficulty, of course, was getting County Clerks to recognize their ancestral claims, and getting lawyers to draw up the documentation, and getting their rights recognized by the local sheriff.
3/
I first learned about this back when some of the Quaker family was doing the genealogy and kept coming across women with no last name at marriage. Mostly between 1810 and 1826. The women’s names were usually Biblical, but not the common ones.
4/
The family genealogist wanted to know what was going on in that era, and she came across the Treaty of Mississinewas, signed in 1826, which specifically had a private property exception.
Those women without surnames? Probably Native, of the Miami Band.
5/
They married Quaker husbands, who did the legal paperwork to keep the land in their wives’ control. (I *think* Miami may have been more matrilineal than not.)
Was it an ideal solution? No, certainly not. But it was better than being sent on a forced march in January.
6/
To the Miami women, when the land went to their children, it was staying in their family, as their culture intended. 200 years later, and 7 generations of dilution later, the land remains in their children’s (usually daughters’) hands, but well beyond any quanta designation.
7/
Many of the bands and tribes who got the private property exception in their treaties have had no success getting recognized as Native at all, and of course no success getting any return of land. But they’ve kept most of the land they had, and acquired more private property.
8/
Without recognition, there’s no point even considering using the (established as a racist, genocidal policy) blood quanta model. Genealogy & DNA will probably be better, if recognition is ever possible, since Miami women & their children (& others) were assimilated by force.
9/
(Economic force is still force.)
I happen to know of this specific band & treaty because part of the family found it interesting enough to post on a message board. I’m not of that line of descent, though it’s also not uncommon in any early white immigrant Midwestern line.
10/
(And the lines often cross.)

I don’t know if the Quaker-Miami marriages were happy. I hope so? I think they were at least affectionate and a bit more egalitarian than most marriages of the time, since that’s the Quaker way.

But I don’t know; there’s no documentation.
11/
What I am saying is that it’s not uncommon to hear the stories of Native great-great-grandmothers. Those stories, at least in my family, were a point of reverence, because the land was her land. In the context of Anglo property rights, she established the right & connection.
12/
It’s always racism AND misogyny.

Before DNA, before genealogy became something we could do online, from home? The family narratives were often the only history, because 19th century registrars were also patriarchal asshats, and didn’t recognize women’s right to property.
13/
Much less a Native woman’s right to her ancestral property.

In context? We have a ton of reckoning to do, because genocide doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and we’re barely begun scratching the Western Hemisphere’s.

It’s really a lot more complicated than 280 characters.
14/End
(Also, see Frances Slocum, who was assimilated into the Miami. Personally? My head canon says the Delaware Natives who took her were acting as Child Welfare agents and getting her out of a bad situation.
en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_S… )
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