Happy St. Pat’s Day

2009 March 17
by Stace

So, still intent to not let a holiday pass by without a meaningless ramble, I wonder what I might have to say about St. Patrick’s Day.

Hmm. Irish. Yep. I’ve got some Irish blood from my father’s side of the family. Some great-great-whatever came over from Ireland in the 1800s (that potato famine thing), grabbed some land in Oklahoma, and promptly married himself a Shawnee woman. His son sold half his Indian blood rite (something to do with buying land), and because of him, I only got half as much reparation money from the feds as I should have gotten, what with percentage of “blood” is what determines your payment. I got around $500 back in the late 80s.

Yes, I’m a card-carrying Indian, as they call it around home. Used to be a member of the Cherokee Nation, but they kicked all of us adopted Shawnees out. I’ve got no idea why. Ah well. I never went to any of their parties anyway. My dad’s family are trying to get us into another tribe, but I haven’t heard anything about it in years. Reckon these other tribes get mighty picky these days, what with considering distribution of casino profits.

On my mother’s side, I’ve actually got more Native American “blood” than on my fathers. Blackfoot. But the government doesn’t count it since my ancestor never signed an official Indian Roll. So no big bucks for that side.

None of my dad’s family look like Native Americans. I think the Irish overwhelmed it. Lots of red hair and freckles. Plus, my grandmother on that side was German. I don’t look Native American either, except my hair. My hair isn’t black, it’s brown, but it has the texture of my ancestor’s hair, and won’t hold a curl to save my life. A hair dresser once told me I had “Cherokee hair.” Shows what he knew.

A couple of years ago, my mother got into researching her family tree. She found some fun bits. Mostly we come from English and Dutch roots. I especially like the will she found from some long dead forefather who lived in New York in the 1700s. In his will he left his money and land to his wife and children, except for one son, to whom he left only five pounds, claiming it was because the son had been consorting with a loose and lascivious woman. Nice to know I’ve got a proper amount of righteousness in my ancestry.

I thought the coolest bit was she could trace her line back as far as a French Huguenot in the 1600s or somesuch. After looking up “Huguenot,” I could see why they wanted to get the hell out of Dodge (France), what with France being Catholic, and the Huguenots being Protestant, and it just went into all hell realms of ugly. The Huguenots got it bad.

And it’s kind of funny, really, when you think of how my Irish (Catholic) ancestors were persecuted by my English (Protestant) ancestors.

And of course everyone screwed with the Native Americans. They even screwed with each other.  On my mother’s side of the family, in addition to Blackfoot, I have some ancestry with those who called themselves “Black Dutch.” Turns out that this term was coined in part by … you won’t believe this … Cherokees, who had escaped from the Trail of Tears, settled themselves and passed as white by calling themselves “Black Dutch.” So my hairdresser was pretty clever after all.

The Cherokees and Shawnees lived next to one another in the Carolinas region, and had been enemies for ages before being uprooted to travel the Trail of Tears. Now here I am, all these decades later, being pitched out of the Cherokee tribe for being a Shawnee, even though I’m part Cherokee, but can’t prove it because of the passing as white business.

Sigh. It’s all so complicated. It’s a wonder my blood doesn’t just explode from all the past injustices it has done to itself. Maybe it’s why I’m always second-guessing myself, and wondering about my true motives. Hmm.

Okay, well, there’s everything you ever wanted to know about St. Patrick’s Day. Have a good one!

4 Responses
  1. 2009 March 17
    Belledog permalink

    Stace: “Maybe it’s why I’m always second-guessing myself, and wondering about my true motives.” Ummm, maybe you are just smart? And that is often a marker?

    Happy St Patrick’s Day. Hope you are finding some suitable cuisine on the road. Have fired up the pressure cooker; cooking a small corned beef brisket with beer, mustard, brown sugar and some veggies.

    Learned that this weekend marks the Persian New Year; big celebration in honor of astronomical spring.

    Happy No-Rooz (or New Day or just — Happy Spring). Learned this from my wonderful hairstylist/colorist today. She is making some fabulous food, including something with spinach. Thought it rude to beg for leftovers, but you know I wanted to!!

    http://www.iranchamber.com/culture/articles/norooz_iranian_new_year.php

  2. 2009 March 18
    Belledog permalink

    Adding a link to photos of 2 beagles in St Patrick’s Day attire. Just for the heck of it.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/03/beagle-crack.html

  3. 2009 March 20
    Laura permalink

    I just found your website and you two are a riot. I had to comment on this post because I have a nearly identical family history: I am from Oklahoma and have Cherokee (not all of which is federally recognized for the passing as white reasons you mentioned) on my father’s side and primarily English, Dutch and French Huguenot on my mother’s side. And here I had thought that my family was unique in that combination. Either that, or we’re somehow related.

  4. 2009 March 21

    Aww, thx Belle. People and the way they love dressing up their dogs. I will admit that Hedon once got a dress for Maggie and we put it on her and laughed while she turned in circles trying to rip it off. Other than that, she has a coat for when she has to go outside when it’s below zero. She doesn’t try to rip off her coat, no dumb dog is she.

    Hey there, Laura. Welcome! Maybe we’re long-lost fifth cousins three times removed? I think the worst part of no longer being part of the Cherokee Nation is that I can’t check “Native American” on the census anymore. You have to maintain a tribal affiliation to do so. Bummer. I want a box to check for “mutt” dammit.

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