A Biography

 

 

Walkingfox and me

 

 

 

Like many Americans, my ancestors were of mixed blood:

Irish, Scottish, Prussian and American Native.

 

My Brummage, Deal, Driscoll, Donahue, Hall-Story,

Nugent, Weintraut and Skirvin families all traveled

great distances, for a variety of reasons, to make new

homes in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania,

West Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois before finally settling

in my home state of Indiana in the early 1800's.

 

My grandmother Bertha Nugent was of mixed blood,

with ancestors of Shawnee, Choctaw and European descent,

Sadly, this information was only very recently discovered and quite by accident,

when my Aunt revealed in a conversation that we were Shawnee

and was shocked that I did not already know.

How could I know, no one had ever talked about this to me in my life.

My grandmother, for reasons only she could know, only revealed

this information to one of her 18 children.

She had told me my entire life that we were pure Irish.

 

In the not so distant past, it was not always popular, nor

even safe, to admit that you had American Native ancestors.

Many mixed blood mothers like my Nugent grandmother and

her Brumage, Deal, Driscoll, Hall-Story ancestors before her,

often named their children after American presidents like

George Washington, Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson.

Who would ever suspect that a child named after such famous

persons could possibly have American Native blood?

Although their logic was flawed, it did leave a trail for

their descendants to follow in the future to find them.

 

For those of us who feel great pride in our Native heritage,

and need not fear reprisals, seclusion or separation,

the task of tracing our ancestry is often exacerbated

by these deliberate efforts to hide race.

 

The evidence linking us together is strong

and for those tenacious few who never give up,

the reward is in learning not only from where we came,

but who it was that gave us the magic of life that is

our genetic make up, our DNA blueprint

that says to all who would know,

we are mixed blood American Natives.

 

Now more than ever before, we must share

and exchange the ideas of our many cultures.

We are all different, we are all the same,

we are all one before the Creator,

or who ever we each believe to be our God.

 

Ultimately, through this critical understanding,

may we preserve our various cultures and

improve the lives of not only Indigenous People,

but of all people everywhere.

 

May each new year bring a beginning for that elusive concept, Peace.

 

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