November is Native American Heritage Month. In celebration of this month, I will be writing some posts that have to do with Native Americans. And I will start with this post, writing about a bit about myself and my own heritage.
I was born in Pennsylvania, where there are no federally or state recognized tribes, no reservations and the states opinion (as well as the opinion of some other people) is that there are absolutely no Native Americans living in Pennsylvania. The Native population isn’t as high as some other states, but there are Native people here.
I am very connected to my Native roots, but I am of a mixed background. On my dad’s side I am Tsalagi (Cherokee). My dad’s mom, my grandmother, lived on the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina until she was five. Then, for whatever reason, her family moved here and basically just left their heritage behind. It was not uncommon in those days for Indians to hide their heritage or try to erase it from their life so they would be safe. So, because of this, I can’t find out much information about her family from the reservation or even who they were when on the reservation. They changed their name after coming to Pennsylvania. So, I am a non-registered Cherokee.
My dad’s father was Welsh and that’s about as much as I know about him. No one is sure if he was born here or in Wales.
On my mom’s side there is German, Cherokee and there is other Indian blood, but no one is sure which tribe. They just know it was a tribe from Pennsylvania. There are a few Indian tribes originally from Pennsylvania so it’ll be a bit hard to figure out.
I strongly identify with my Cherokee heritage, but I will never deny any of my heritages. They are all a part of me. I am an Indian of a mixed heritage: Cherokee, Welsh and German and I am proud of it.
I hope you all will enjoy my postings this month in celebration of my Native heritage.
And feel free to share your heritage in the comments or even your own post. You don’t have to be Native to share. It’s good for all people to celebrate their heritage.