Monday, July 3, 2017

Losing My Choctaw Ancestry

Portrait of a Choctaw Woman

When I was around five years old I was told I was part African and part Native American. "Your ancestors were Princess and Queens and Chiefs and Kings"- this felt very good. I had no idea who I was and this was very good news to me . I was at the age where I loved to play "princess" and other games. I could easily relate to having royalty in my bloodline. I loved pictures of Africans draped in gold with regal postures, spears and chins up high. I loved paintings of Native Americans in moccasins and buckskin dresses with long black hair touching their hips. It all made sense I came from this and as I was told I should be proud and walk tall.

Later I was given  more definite information about my Native American side. My gramma Ollie was part Choctaw. The women in the family had straight hair and we had family members on the reservation on Oklahoma. I never did find out what kind of African I was, but after all my years in African dance I feel most likely I am Part Congolese and that is just based on how I feel.

Easy to Embrace my African Lineage

I often connected with my African side and very easily. It was harder to connect with my Native side. I went to Pow Wows in the Pacific Northwest but these Natives were from the salmon fishing Northwest tribes.. not where my bloodline came from . The Choctaw had walked the trail of tears from Missouri to Oklahoma. Originally they were from from a mountainous region in Missouri. I remember telling one Northwest Indian that I too was a Native. He looked at me and said   "The darker the berry the sweeter the juice"- At the time I was put off. Why did he have to say all that. I felt he was saying that I wasn't really part Native American at all. Years later I had a dream and found out, that he did indeed know exactly who and what I was . I realized how odd it was he even said that phrase which is most commonly said in the Black and African communities.  For example a friend from West Africa claims the saying comes from Africa. Yes.. that guy though.. he knew the truth, even about the original peoples of this land. The darker the berry , the sweeter the juice.  He recognized me even when I did not.

All my life I explained my nose and cheekbones as being evidence of my Choctaw ancestry. I really thought I knew who I was. I was named after my great gramma Emma Moreland..she was the one Choctaw and Cree  who married a dark Black man or so I had been told .

My Aunt did a DNA test in 2015. Apparently we are all kinds of African tribes. But according to the test we aren't  part Choctaw. This doesn't feel right. The whole family history says we are. And it's not that I care the way some people do, who think it's better to have Native Blood. I am happy to have nappy hair and an Afro you will never hear me call long or straight hair "good hair". When it came to drums and dance I always choose African. Yet and still it seemed pretty clear I was part Native. And all of sudden I was not. So who am I ?

I recently saw a video which says those DNA test are basically ASS ( garbage). That they send the same results to hundreds of people and that the markers are inaccurate and the data bases they pull from are not logically or chronologically in order, and various human migrations are factored out.

All I know is.. I'm  me. But it would be nice to really, really know who I am in regards to  my ancestry. The fact that it's so hard to trace is of course related to ills and legacy of slavery.One thing I do know is that  I am  a combination of the strongest ones, the ones who survived.

Thanks for reading  
Peace and Blessings Please
 Feel Free to share your Journey

Emily Imani Rose Quartz

"I'm Human" 
" I know who I am , But then again I am still learning"

No comments:

Post a Comment