I am in need of a genealogical support group for NON-Native American heritage BUT with relatives that believe otherwise. They are driving me to the brink of insanity. Does any one else suffer from this?
Is there such a group? Maybe it is just other serious researchers & professionals? If that is the case, maybe I just need to get myself a genealogy group & become a member. However, I’d prefer a group of Native American professionals or ones that suffer my same dilemma.
Maybe it’s an age thing, that the generation of my parents, & some grandparents, just believe that they are native American. Is that a common belief?
Maybe it’s a geographical issue that I so proudly get to suffer from… the south! That’s where many of my roots are from. Or maybe it is just anybody who has made their way into OK via what people “believe” was the route of Native Americans into OK? That’s the only common denominator that’s find linked in all these unsolicited, undocumented, un-proven claims. They had a relative/ancestor that at one time did live in OK, even born in OK.
I am rather drawn to the latter. Like any culture, once a person is surrounded by the culture, they tend to pick up their ideologies, their customs, their way of life, even their beliefs. It usually comes from our own individual fears of being rejected, that we seek to fit in & be accepted. Some people it is a “quirk”, while others take it to their core of their being & slowly start to simulate & transform into the culture opposite from their own. As a sociologist, I find it rather amazing how such a small group of peoples (Native Americans) can alter the main stream group (Modpodge Americans). Thus, those who have migrated to OK & have lived out their days have come to this idea that somehow they too are Native American.
The Native Americans have a strong grounding with their roots, their ancestors. Most can tell your lineage all the way back to what they believe is the beginning. Though their numbers are few in comparison to the United States as a whole, they are great in a smaller populous such as the state of OK. Thus the power of their culture in the state of OK is much like many of us moving to Rome. “Do as the Romans do!” Or in this case, “Do as the Native Americans do!”
I also seem to believe that a small amount of this desire to be Native American by those not born as Native Americans is due to the myths that have been spread about that “indians get free lands & monthly checks”. The rumors that spread like wildfire because of great misunderstandings in the late 1800’s – 1900’s. Thus, if the idea that, “IF I were Native American, then I would receive some ‘free’ life long benefits”. However, they still have to pay taxes, their medical care is lacking in advancements of modern-day technology, their land wasn’t free, nor is it always just one person’s own to claim but rather part of the great whole of the reservation. There is no monthly income check from the government & many are seeking the aid of welfare benefits from the US government. Though their culture is rich, their way of life is poor. Many live with multiple families & generations in a small 3 bedroom home. Going down the socio-economic ladder, their is poor, destitute, and then there is Native Americans constantly being stripped of any gain they achieve because their way of life. Thus, the only reason to claim one is Native American, who clearly is not, would be based on myths but hoping for a change for their futures & the generations that followed.
So what drives a person to claim Native American heritage? Stories they were told? Running lists of characteristics that make a person Native American?
Does anyone else spend hours chasing away “Native American” claims that just aren’t panning out? My research, heavily documented, always lands me back in England, or Germany, or Ireland… even French Louisiana… but never Native American.