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The articles/books presented are for their historical value only and are not necessarily the opinions of this website. While these articles/books can provide some insight to ways that have been lost, they are also written within the limitations and restrictions of the time in which they were written.
The first Negro slaves were introduced into the New World (1501-03) ostensibly to labor in the place of the Indians, who showed themselves ill-suited to enforced tasks and moreover were being exterminated in the Spanish colonies. The Indian Negro intermixture has proceeded on a larger scale in South America, but not a little has also taken place in various parts of the northern continent. Wood (New England's Prospect, 77, 1634) tells how some Indians of Massachusetts in 1633, coming across a Negro in the top of a tree were frightened, surmising that; 'he was Abamacho, or the devil." Nevertheless, intermixture of Indians and Negroes has occurred in New England.

     About the middle of the 18th century the Indians of Martha's Vineyard began to intermarry with Negroes, the result being that "the mixed race increased in numbers and improved in temperance and industry." A like intermixture with similar a results is reported about the same time from parts of Cape Cod. Among the Mashpee in 1802 very few pure Indians were left, there being a number of mulattoes (Mass Hist. Soc. Coll., r, 206; iv, 206; ibid., 2d s., iii, 4; cf. Prince in Am. Anthrop., ix, no. 3, 1907). Robert Rantoul in 1833 (Hist. Coll. Essex Inst., xxiv, 81) states that "the Indians are said to be improved by the mixture." In 1890, W. H. Clark (Johns Hopk. Univ. Circ., x, no. 84, 28) says of the Gay Head Indians: "

     Although one observes much that betokens the Indian type, the admixture of Negro and white blood has materially changed them." The deportation of the Pequot to the Bermudas after the defeat of 1638 may have led to admixture there. The Pequot of Groton, Conn., who in 1832 numbered but 40, were reported as considerably mixed with white and Negro blood, and the condition of the few representatives of the Paugusset of Milford in 1849 was about the same (De Forest, Hist. Inds. Conn., 356, 1853). Of the Indians in Ledyard we read: "None of the pure Pequot race are left, all being mixed with Indians of other tribes or with whites and Negroes."

     Long Island presents another point of Indian-Negro admixture. Of the Shinnecock on the south shore, Gatschet in 1889 (Am. Antiq., xi, 390, 1889) observe "There are, 150 individuals now going under this name, but they are nearly all mixed with Negro blood, dating from the times of slavery in the Northern states." Still later M. R. Harrington (Jour. Am. Folk-lore, xvi, 37, 1903) notes the occurrence in many individuals of both Indian and Negro somatic characters. These Shinnecock evidently have not been so completely Africanized as some authorities believe.

     The remnant of the Montauk in East Hampton are reported by W. W. Tooker (Ind. Place-names, iv, 1889) to be mixed with Negroes, though still recognizable by their aboriginal features. The region of Chesapeake bay furnishes evidences of Indian-Negro intermixture. The fact, pointed out by Brinton (Am. Antiq., ix, 352, 1887), that the list of the numerals 1-10 given as Nanticoke in a manuscript of Pyrlaeus, the missionary to the Mohawk, dating from 1790, is really Mandingo or a closely related African language, indicates contact or intermixture.

     Of the Pamunkev and Mattapony of Virginia, Col. Aylett (Rep. Ind., U. S. Census 1890, 602) states that there has been a considerable mixture of white and Negro blood, principally the former. Traces of Indian blood are noticeable, according to G. A. Townsend (Scribner's Mag., no. 72, 515, 1571), in many of the freeborn Negroes of the east shore of Maryland. According to Mooney (Am. Anthrop., iii, 132, 1890), "there is not now a native full-blood Indian Speaking his own language from Delaware bay to Pamlico sound," those who claim to he Indians having much Negro blood.

     We find not only Indiana-Negro intermixture, but also the practice of Negro slavery among the Indians of the south Atlantic and Gulf states. The Melungeons of Hancock County, Tenn., but formerly resident in North Carolina, are said to be "a mixture of white, Indian, and Negro" (Am. Anthrop., ii, 347, 1889). The so-called Croatan of North Carolina and Redbones of South Carolina seem to be of the same mixture. The holding of Negro slaves by the tribes of the Carolinas led to considerable intermarriage. There has been much Negro admixture among the Seminole from an early period, although the remnant still living in Florida is of comparatively pure Indian blood. Of the other Indians of Muskhogean stock the Creeks seem to have most miscegenation, fully one-third of the tribe having perceptible Negro admixture.

     In the time of De Soto a "queen" of the Yuchi ran away with one of his Negro slaves. Estevanico, the famous companion of Cabeza de Vaca, the explorer, in 1528-36, was a Negro, and the importance of Negro companions of Spanish explorers has been discussed by Wright (Am. Anthrop., iv, 217-28, 1902). Of Algonquian peoples the Shawnee, and the Chippewa of Minnesota, etc., furnish some cases of Indian-Negro intermarriage, the fathers Negro, the mothers Indian.

     The Canadian Tuscarora of the Iroquoian stock are said to have some little Negro blood among them, and Grinnell reports a few persons of evident Negro blood among the Piegan and Kainah. Some of the Indian tribes of the plains and the far west have taken a dislike to the Negro, and he often figures to disadvantage in their myths and legends. Marcy, in 1853, reports this of the Comanche, and in 1891 the present writer found it true to a certain extent of the Kutenai of south east British Columbia.

     Nevertheless, a few cases of intermarriage are reported from this region. The Caddo, former resident, of Louisiana and east Texas, appear to have truth Negro blood, and on the other hand it is probable that many of the negroes of the whole lower Atlantic and Gulf region have much of Indian blood. Lewis and Clark reported that some of the north west Indians, for mysterious reasons, got their Negro servant to consort with the Indian women, so much were they taken with him. According to Swanton the richest man among the Skidegate Haida is a Negro. In the Indian Negro half-breed, as a rule, the Negro type of features seems to predominate.

     The relation of the folklore of the Negroes in America to that of the American aborigines has been the subject of not a little discussion. In regard to the "Uncle Remus" stories, Crane (Pop. Sci. Mo., xviii, 324-33, 1881) and Gerber (Jour. Am. Folk-lore, vi, 245-57, 1893) assume the African origin of practically all these myths, and hold that such borrowing as has taken place has been from the Negroes by the Indians. Powell (Harris, Uncle Remus, introd., 1895) and Mooney (19th Rep. B. A. E., 232-34, 1900) entertain the opinion that a considerable portion of the myths in question are indigenous with the Indians of south east United States.

     The latter points out that "in all the southern colonies Indian slaves were bought and sold and kept in servitude and worked in the fields side by side with Negroes up to the time of the Revolution." The conservatism of the Indian and his dislike or contempt for the Negro must have prevented his borrowing much, while the imitativeness of the latter and his love for comic stories led him, Mooney thinks, to absorb good deal from the Indian. He also holds that the idea that such stories are necessarily of Negro origin is due largely to the common but mistaken notion that the Indian has no sense of humor.

Handbook of American Indians, Frederick W. Hodge,1906

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The articles/books presented are for their historical value only and are not necessarily the opinions of this website. While these articles/books can provide some insight to ways that have been lost, they are also written within the limitations and restrictions of the time in which they were written. For example Carl Moon (1879-1948) wrote "About the only thing we have thus far overlooked taking from the Indian is his right to perform his religious rites with their accompanying dances in his own way." When in fact that right was also taken from them in 1890 and was only restored with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978. Carl Moon saw himself as a visual historian belonging to both the scientific and artistic communities. This just shows that he was not aware of the "ban", because in his time information was not shared like it is today. ~ Spotted Wolf   (Read more about Carl Moon...)

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