Esoterica's avatar



post two: recognizing indigenous people of the caribbean on columbus day: kalinago and taino history.

(via deluxvivens-deactivated20130417)


*watches 1491s video*


mashpee family edmonia lewisdon littlecloudcomanche family ca 1900


Because apparently this needed to be posted today. The first and last pictures are from IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas. About the last picture:

Here is a family from the Comanche Nation located in southwestern Oklahoma. The elder man in Comanche traditional clothing is Ta-Ten-e-quer. His wife, Ta-Tat-ty, also wears Comanche clothing. Their niece (center) is Wife-per, also known as Frances E. Wright. Her father was a Buffalo Soldier (an African American cavalryman) who deserted and married into the Comanches. Henry (center left) and Lorenzano (center right) are the sons of Frances, who married an African American man.

(via deluxvivens-deactivated20130417)

To prevent Africans and Native Americans from uniting Europeans played skillfully on racial differences and ethnic rivalries. They kept the pot of animosity boiling. Whites turned Indians into slavehunter and slaveowners, and Africans into “Indian-fighters.” Light-skinned Africans were pitted against dark-skinned, free against enslaved, Black Indians against “pure” Africans or “pure” Indians.

William Loren Katz, Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, p. 13 (via a-lostbird)

(via spookyfluffaloforbossofmybutt)

rip don littlecloud.



Stanford Powwow 2007

The man in this picture, taken at a powwow a few years ago,  is Seminole indian Don Littlecloud. He passed away this weekend after a battle with cancer.

(via deluxvivens-deactivated20130417)

Science 13 February 1891: "the moral and physical result of this blending of two extremely diverse bloods is a matter of the utmost interest"




article by white anthropologist detailing black and native intermarriage and interaction with an emphasis on the east coast.

OK so I made it thru this article and I really encourage everyone to read it. Its not only fascinating for the amount of detail it goes into about where and how african and native people interacted in the western hemisphere and how, its incredible to see the amount of fixation these people had on  mixed raced people.

Skin color, hair texture, and above all whether or not mixed people “looked  indian” or black… well it essentially hasnt changed in the last 120 years but at least back then these people admitted that there were mixed black native people.

Lots of talk about the Pequot and Wampanoag (they at least admit that the Pequot were shipped to the Bahamas) and even the Tuscarora living in Iroquois territory.

6 pages but in small print.

(via deluxvivens-deactivated20130417)

I just started exchanging emails with a 4th cousin (or somesuch, we were trying to work it out & never quite did),  who has been trying to trace the woman that became my great grandmother. She’s the great granddaughter of her younger sister. Like me, she doesn’t know the exact details of everything before her decision to run away, but between us we know enough to understand why she never went home again & we have a pretty good idea of why she chose to pass as a light skinned black woman. And my cousin is welcoming & wants us to reconnect with other members of the family. And I think we will (early days yet on both sides), but to know that A) I am indeed part Choctaw & B) I don’t owe anyone a goddamned thing when I claim my family is enough for the moment. And no, I’m not looking for anything else, but I’m not rejecting anything either.

Excerpt: Black Indians: If You Knew I Had A History


In 1774 patriot James Madison wrote about a slave revolt: “It is prudent such attempts should be concealed as well as suppressed.” The Black Indian story has been treated as though it were a massive slave rebellion. Its final burial came at the hands of a later white generation who shaped a heritage for books and movies that ended all claims but white ones.

These frontier omissions lie at the heart of our cherished national myth. The tale of the wilderness stands as the greatest American story ever told. It is the way we wish to see ourselves. “A frontier people,” said President Woodrow Wilson, “is, so far, the central and determining fact of our national history…. The West is the great word of our history. The Westerner has been the type and master of our American life.” Creators of this west did not want it sullied by a black presence or subject to Indian claims.

“The Frontier” went from gritty reality to uplifting truth and finally to nation legend. In the process entire races disappeared from it. Its cast of heroic characters included only whites. If Europeans bravely conquered continents, it was not necessary or desirable to show black and red people defying white authority to build their own communities in the wilderness. Racial stereotypes long pictured non-whites as cowardly and childlike. How could red or black men be shown creating a culture in the wilderness, bravely rescuing their families, and riding off into the sunset?

There is another problem in introducing a set of dark frontier heroes. Their love of liberty thrust them against some sainted U.S. figures. Thomas Jefferson, speaking of Indians, said “We would never stop pursing them with war while one remained on the face of the earth.” Andrew Jackson, the first great democrat to reach the White House, was first in the long line of candidates to win the presidency boasting of his Indian-fighting skills. He waged a cruel war against Indian men, women, and children. He staunchly defended slavery and, like Jefferson, owned slaves. To save their families, Black Indians had to fight of posses and armies launched by these national heroes.

(via rematiration-deactivated2013111)

Excerpt: Black Indians: Their Mixing Is To Be Prevented - The Southern Frontier


@font-face { font-family: “Times New Roman”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

To an extent not revealed in Hollywood frontier movies, slave labor built the earliest European communities in the south. From 1690 to 1720, Africans cleared land, introduced African rice culture, navigated river vessels, and delivered mail in the Carolinas. Only the most trustworthy slaves were brought to the frontier, and most stood by their masters. But some fled to the woods and Indians at the first opportunity, giving their owners something more to worry about.

For British subjects the question of bringing slaves so close t he frontier and Native Americans stirred a lively debate. A South Carolina law of 1725 imposed a £200 fine on those who brought their slaves to the frontier. A British colonel urged enforcement “because the Slaves… talk good English as well as the Cherokee language and … too often tell falsities to the Indians which they are apt believe.” In 1751, another new law warned “The carrying of Negroes among the Indians has all along been thought detrimental, as an intimacy ought to be avoided.”

But sound racial policies on the frontier clashed with the desire to reap the profits produced by slave labor. Virginia surveyor George Washington, twenty-three, urged the use of “mulattoes and Negroes… as pioneers and hatchet men” in the wilderness. An early print shows a young Washington with a black and white surveying team.

British colonists tried to play one dark race against the other on the southern frontier. The Maryland Assembly in 1676 offered Indians  rewards for recapturing slave runaways. In South Carolina, in 1708, 5,280 European settlers tried to watch over 2,900 African and 1,400 Indian slaves. Europeans sent slave “cattle hunters” to protect Charleston from Indian raids. In 1740 South Carolina offered Indians £100 for each slave runaway captured alive, £50 for “every scalp of a grown negro slave.”

The conflict among the three races on the frontier had each side seeking allies wherever they could be found. During the Yemassee War of 1715, Natchez Indians murdered whites and seized their slaves. When the British ordered one thousand two hundred soldiers against the Natchez, they sent black troops along. And when Governor Charles Craven of South Carolina confronted the Natchez’s army he found it also included armed black prisoners.

By 1729 the frontier racial cauldron was boiling over in South Carolina and Louisiana. Slaves rose in rebellion at Stono, South Carolina. Terrified whites turned Catawbas Indians, noted for heir slavehunting skills, to recapture or slay all rebel. In Louisiana, the governor was shocked to learn Chickasaws had contacted a daring band of Banbara  Africans enslaved at New Orleans. His spies told him the two peoples had plotted and insurrection that would kill whites and create a red-black maroon confederacy.

Hardly had he solved this threat when he heard New Orleans was menaced by Chouchas Indians a few miles north. He governor sent off armed black slaves to carry out a massacre. 

The sporadic conflicts hardly matched the unending racial disturbances along the border between British Georgia and Spanish Florida. Spain relied largely on the blacks and Indians of Florida to resist any invasion by slavehunting British. When Georgia Governor Oglethorpe invaded Florida to 1740, Spain’s red and black troops repelled him. Oglethorpe learned that two hundred Africans, including many ex-slaves from Georgia, guarded St. Augustine.

When Spain ordered a counterattack on Georgia in 1742, their armed forces included a black regiment and “negro commanders clothed in lace” bearing the same rank as white officers. The British concluded they had more to worry about from this force starting a slave revolt in Georgia than anything Spanish troops might do.

At this time the British colonists in the southern colonies began introducing the practice of African slavery among neighboring Native Americans. They concentrated on the Five Civilized Nations- Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles- as the largest body of Indians present on their borders. Their aim was to make their slave property more secure by making Indians partners in the system. Indians who accepted slavery would not take in runaways fleeting European masters.

Except for he Seminoles, the Five Civilized Nations began to accept the foreign idea of slavery. Even so, their idea of how it should work differed from British practices. Quaker slaveholder John Bartram, botanist to the king of England, visited some Indian owners in 1770. He found their slaves dressed better than the chief, married into the nation easily, and their children were “free and considered in every respect equal” to other members. After a visit to the Creeks, Bartram wrote:

“I saw in every town in the Nation I visited captives, some extremely aged, who were free and in as good circumstances as their masters; and all slaves have their freedom when they marry, which is permitted and encouraged [and] they and their offspring are in every way upon equality with their conquerors.”

But how did Native Americans view the way Europeans treated their African prisoners? Two European missionaries, trying to convert the Delaware Nation, returned rejected but with their report on the Delaware response to their plea:

“They rejoiced exceedingly at our happiness in thus being favored by the Great Spirit, and felt very grateful hat we had condescended to remember our brethren in the wilderness. But they could not help recollecting that we had a people among us, whom, because they differed from us in color, we had made slaves of, and made them suffer great hardships, and lead miserable lives. Now they could not see any reason, if a people being black entitled us then to deal with them, why a red color should not equally qualify the same treatment.

They therefore had determined to wait, to see whether all the black people amongst us were made thus happy and joyful before they would put confidence in our promises; for they thought a people who had suffered so much and so long by our means, should be entitled to our first attention; and therefore they had sent back the two missionaries, with many thanks, promising that when they saw the black people among us restored to freedom and happiness they would gladly receive our missionaries.”

Despite every European effort to keep dark people from assisting the other, the two races began to blend on a vast scale. Black Indians were apparent everywhere if one bothered to look. Thomas Jefferson, for example, found among the Mattaponies of his Virginia, “more negro than Indian blood ran in them.” Another eyewitness reported Virginia’s Gingaskin reservation had become “largely African.” Peter Kalm, whose famous diary described a visit to the British colonies in 1750, took note of many Africans living with Indians, with marriage and children the normal result.

That same year a Moravian missionary, J.C. Pyrlaeus, visited the Nanticoke Nation on Maryland’s eastern shore to compile a vocabulary of their language. Years later, all their words were discovered to form a language that was pure African Mandigo.

British authorities repeatedly tried to convince Native Americans to return the slave fugitives they harbored in their villages. But here they collided with an Indian adoption system that welcomed new members and offered them full protection. When whites argued about the right of private property in owning people and insisted Africans were inferior beings, the Indians usually shrugged “no.”

In treaty after treaty southern colonists made native nations promise to return fugitive slaves. In 1721, the Five Civilized Nations solemnly promised a governor of Virginia to deliver slaves, but nothing happened. The British complained bitterly on behalf of their slave owners, the chiefs apologized, and the ex-slaved became a part of Native American life.

When angry slavehunters decided to take matters into their own hands, they met fierce opposition. In 1750 Captain Tobias Fitch sent off a posse of five to retrieve a slave living in the Creek Nation. A Creek chief stood between then and the black man, cut their rope and threw it in a fire. Then he warned them his villagers had as many guns as they did. The posse returned empty-handed but happy to be alive.

African members of Indian Nations often played a vital part of armed resistance to whites. In 1727 Africans and Indians besieged Virginia frontier settlements. During the French and Indian War a British officer, warning about the two races, said “Their mixing is to be prevented as much as possible.”

(via rematiration-deactivated2013111)



[In reference to this post]

james-bliss submitted:

I did a paper on Avatar this one time and I gave it at a conference and there were a few people who were baffled that I was talking about the Na’vi as Black people. Because they thought I should have been talking about their indigeneity. So then I had to point out that a) the Na’vi were Black because of reasons I pointed out in my paper, b) there is such a thing as Black indigeneity on the North American continetn, and c) there are indigenous people in Africa. But nobody cares to remember either of those last two things, and lots of things that are (crude appropriations) of indigenous African cultures get read as (crude appropriations) of Native American cultures. In short, hummphhhhhhh!

James, Black people can’t have any identity but Blackness idk what even ur talking about wtf?